Genghis' first trip to the vet

took place on Friday afternoon and all in all he was a very good boy.

We left work early and went over to PetSmart first to get a name tag etched for him, then caught a bite to eat in East Atlanta Village after we weren’t allowed to sit with Gingha at our first choice of eatery. We were sat outside on the patio, Genghis was behaving himself and on a lead, no one else was there, and we were told off. Their loss.

At the vets we explained the confusion surrounding Gingha’s paperwork and were very glad to hear that the vet didn’t seem to think that would be a problem. Although Leta signed to say if she didn’t want the dog she’d return him to Animal Control the vet was sure that as long as we kept him up to date on vaccinations and got him neutered Animal Control would be fine.

Unfortunately getting him neutered within 30 days according to their decree is going to be problematic though. One of the tests the vets ran was for Heartworm. It’s very prevalent in this area, with about 9 out of 10 strays carrying the parasites so we already feared the worse and were prepared for when the vet confirmed our suspicions. Genghis is Heartworm positive and has probably been infested for about 9 months.

Heartworms are parasites that are transmitted to dogs by mosquitos. They live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels around those organs. Once infested the heartworms make their way through the body and set up camp in the lower pulmonary arteries. It takes about a year for the heartworms to be fully grown but they can mate while still immature and within only six to seven months it’s possible for the vet to detect minute offspring in the blood stream. Quince takes Heartgard every month as a preventative measure and as it can only be transmitted by mosquitos anyway we have no reason to worry about the infestation spreading to him.

So, when the vet returned to her office with the test results we could tell it was bad news. She started to break the news gently and was obviously relieved when she realised the results weren’t a shock to us and that we were practically expecting it. She said a lot of people that take in a stray have no idea and are blown away by the news.

Okay, so the good news in this so far is that listening to Gingha’s heart she said that sounded healthy and was a good sign, however she didn’t want to comply with Dekalb’s 30 day neuter rule because dogs with Heartworm don’t cope with anaesthetic too well and performing the surgery before he is clear of the parasite would be a big risk.

She said she’d try to file a waiver with Dekalb County and explain the situation to them in the hope they might grant Gingha a reprieve. As we are adamant he is definitely going to get the snip eventually she hopes that Animal Control will be reasonable about the timing of it. We have to talk to her on Monday afternoon to find out the outcome of her petition. The vet seemed reasonably positive though.

As to getting rid of the Heartworm, Bill has had an infected dog before and unfortunately knows the procedure fairly well. It’s likely to take about 3-4 months to sort out and will start with another trip to the vets, this time with a two night sleep over for Genghis while they start treatment, take x-rays to get a better idea of how far the worms have progressed and monitor him for a while. Then he’s not going to like it because once the treatment has started he has to be kept fairly quiet and not allowed to be energetic. We’re going to have to crate him to keep him still.

It’s all going to be a tad expensive but with any luck we’ll have a healthy dog at the end of it and it’s not like we weren’t expecting it. Definitely took Genghis on with our eyes open. Just have to hope he comes through okay now.

Eeek, I have a sympathy pains just thinking about those nasty evil worms.

Hmm, after all that I should end on an amusing note….while I was stood paying for his visit I looked down and Genghis’d cocked and peed all over Bill’s legs. Bill hadn’t noticed and was stood there in a puddle of pungent dog pee. Hee hee.

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