We live in America, a country where no one can agree on anything, gun control, birth control, Benghazi, the IRS, taxes, wars. If someone is for something there is always someone against it. But there is one thing that all dogs and men can agree on. Ticks suck.
This week two of our most favorite dogs in the world, Leo and Butkus, both got diagnosed with illnesses they acquired from these vicious little blood suckers. Leo was at a scheduled vet visit when his Mom was shocked to learn that he had tested positive for Lime disease. For Butkus the discovery of his illness was quite scary.
While Leo wasn’t showing any symptoms Butkus was, but, like many tick borne illnesses it wasn’t clear what the illness was. He seemed lazier than usual. But no one thought it was strange. Then Butkus disappeared. His family searched the yard. Like lots of sick dogs Butkus had tried to hide from the pain he was feeling. He got under the shed and then he became too painful to move. Butkus’ human brother, who Butkus is very close to, dug under the shed and pulled Butkus until he was able to get him out.
Butkus and his pack live in the rural country so the nearest vet was 60 miles away. There was no choice, Butkus is a member of the family, and when you are a member of the family there is no distance too far to travel. When they got him to the vet they ran test after test and he was diagnosed with what boiled down to “tick fever.” He was severely dehydrated and anemic. Butkus got one of those shots that puts a huge hump on your back and he returned home.
His Mom picked up some antibiotics for him at her local pharmacy when they got home at 2:00 AM. In a couple of days, thanks to the devotion of his brother, the doctors, and his devoted family Butkus is still with us.
For Leo he is left with an optimistic mystery. There are a number of good things that came about because of his bad diagnosis. Catching Lyme Disease early is very important. Leo has been put on antibiotics so the chances of him developing symptoms of what Lyme Disease can do at its worse is slim. We know his nervous Mom will look for any sign that he is either limping or having kidney problems, the two main effects of the disease, no matter how unlikely the possibility of these symptoms arising may be. Plenty of pups have stepped up to say they too have been diagnosed with Lime Disease and are living healthy and normal lives. Hopefully this has eased his Mom’s worry some.
So I say let’s get rid of all the ticks. Humans are always talking about eradicating the world of this or that but what about ticks? OK. They do some good things. They are food for birds, spiders, nematodes, primates, the Bacillus Thuringiensis bacteria, and the deuteromycete fungi. But outside of a few birds and the random monkey I don’t care if any of those things go hungry. Also ticks act as a potent inhibitor of blood coagulation factor Xa. Big deal. So do band-aids.
But until we can figure out a way to get rid of ticks we can pray for those who become sick after being bitten by these terrible parasites and that starts with Leo and Butkus.