I’ve been all but quarantined in my apartment since Thursday, which has been absolutely miserable. By now, we’ve pretty much figured out I have the flu. It’s truly not fun. Everything aches, I have an incredibly sore throat (and neck and head and chest…), I’ve been dizzy, and I spent all day yesterday sleeping. Today hasn’t been much more eventful. However, I have had plenty of time to reflect on the times Lana has been sick. (Thanks, mostly, to her getting a tummy ache at the same time I was sick. I’ve stepped in vomit twice this week.)
When I first adopted her, Lana came to me with a moderate case of mange. How the rescue hadn’t noticed is beyond my comprehension, but that’s another matter. I took her to the vet who treated her at cost (what a great guy!) and she was stuck at home for at least a month before being allowed to join me at doggie daycare.
The vet warned me to keep a bit of distance from her, as she had Sarcoptic mange. When spread to humans (which can easily happen), it is known as Scabies. It’s basically mites, which are gross, but treatable. I refused to stay away from her, knowing that I needed to socialize her as well as I could while she was so young. Luckily, she didn’t pass the Scabies on to me. I was still a little nervous about her missing out on her ‘window of socialization’ with other dogs, and I was relieved when she was no longer contagious and got to act like a normal puppy again.
Unfortunately, in no time, she caught something else that prevented her from going to daycare. Canine Viral Papillomas (CVP). For those of you who have never heard of CVP, I’ll go ahead and tell you what it is, without the sugar coating. It is mouth warts. Disgusting, contagious (to other dogs) warts. They can actually be found around the nose, mouth, eyes, and I believe the ears, too. Dogs can easily pick up the virus from daycares, kennels, dog parks, etc. They are generally not dangerous, unless they block an airway, and will hardly ever infect dogs who aren’t seniors or puppies. But that doesn’t mean they’re fun to look at.
After significant amounts of research, I found several websites that said if you want to get rid of CVP faster, you can, well, remove one of the warts. (Here comes the nausea…) Even better if your dog eats it. This allows the dog’s immune system to create and distribute antibodies faster.
She had the warts for several weeks and I was once again concerned about her missing that all-too-important window of socialization, so I decided to give this home remedy a shot. Whether the ‘treatment’ worked or it was merely a coincidence, her warts disappeared within the week. When my boss’s newly adopted puppy contracted the warts, I told her about my experience with Lana. She tried it and his warts were cured much faster than Lana’s. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t, but I’d say given my ‘tests’ it’s worth a shot!
If you adopt a dog, ideally, it is healthy, but sometimes rescues get chaotic and mess up. The rescue that saved Lana paid for the vet bill to fix her mange, eventually making it right. Likewise, taking your dog to daycare and letting him/her play in the dog park does expose them to illnesses. But as long as your dog’s shots are up to date, it is well worth the risk to socialize your dog. While many experts argue, I learned that dogs are pack animals, and a ‘pack’ of you and your dog is not enough. Personally, I think daycare is a great way for your dog to get socialization and let off energy while you are at work or running errands. It exposes them to different types of dogs and people, and leaves no opportunities for them to grow bored and destructive in their own homes.
Dogs get sick, just like kids. It is so important to keep your dogs up to date on their shots, but you can’t protect them from everything. Again, just like kids, I think it is important for dogs to get dirty. A good play session might include some cuts. As long as there was no aggression and there’s no resulting infection, there’s nothing to worry about. Don’t shelter your pets. Let them be dogs. It’s only natural.