it's a fuzzy fuzzy world…

posts from the heartland, about dogs, cats, fire departments, and gaming

Nick, Debbie and Pete

And so it begins

The vet called with the results of Trevor’s last test today. No intestinal parasites! Yippee! I knew the shelter had wormed him, but the wormer they use doesn’t kill whipworms, and finding out whether he was clear of those was the last barrier to him being able to have unsupervised play time in the yard with my guys.

[lj-cut text=”A tale of meds, and dogfood, and testosterone…”]I stopped by WalMart (ugh) after work to get Trevor’s doxycycline prescription filled. 60 100mg doxycycline is listed as the 90-day dose on WalMart’s “30 days for $4 or 90 days for $10” plan, and since the rescue is going to invest a substantial amount of money in this boy, I thought I’d save them a little money and pick the antibiotics up at WalMart instead of paying $25+ for the same thing at the vet. The whole experience pretty much reminded me why I don’t shop at WalMart… the “sales associate” who put the order in the system quoted me a price of $97 and then insisted that “that’s what the computer says and we don’t question it.” Thankfully, I had read WalMart’s PDF of covered drugs on their web site and I’m more stubborn than the chick at the counter was, so she kept saying that was the only price and I kept asking if that meant that WalMart didn’t actually honor their published pricing information on 90-day prescriptions. She insisted that they didn’t have a copy of the list. I offered to pull it up on my phone. She said she couldn’t do anything other than charge the price in the computer. I pointed out that the only reason I’d come in at all was because they published a program price of $10 for 60 100mg doxycycline. She finally realized I wasn’t going to just give up and go away, and she flagged down a “pharmacy technician” who said (lo and behold) that “maybe we should check the list,” at which point she pulled out a printed copy of the very same PDF I’d been quoting. Gee, I guess they did have a copy of the list!

Apparently the big scary difference was that my scrip was written just for “doxycycline” and their program specifies “doxycycline hyclate.” The tech was still going to insist that I needed the $90+ dollar version, but I insisted on knowing what the difference was, so they finally (grudgingly) flagged down an actual pharmacist (go figure!), who said that substituting hyclate for monohydrate wasn’t a problem and yes, it should be $10 for 60 pills.

Sheesh. It was only going to be about $25 from the vet, so by this point I was wondering if the trip to WalMart had even been worth the time and aggravation. They took my phone number and said they’d page me when it was ready… probably 35 minutes or so… and I took that opportunity to duck down the street to PetCo to look at dogfood. Food was my next dilemma for this boy. Awhile back, I posted about my quest for the perfect food for Drummer and Thunder, which led me to Evo Red Meat Large Bites. The Evo was fabulous, but they raised their prices twice and when a 28.6-lb bag reached almost $75, financial reality insisted that I find another option. I changed to Canidae ALS Grain-Free, and the boys have been doing well on it, but there are still weeks when I can hardly afford to feed me after I buy their food (there’s a rant about the economy coming, but I’ll save that for another day), so feeding a third dog Canidae wasn’t really an option. As much as I hate to feed a foster something “less” than what I’m feeding my boys, I had to go shopping for a food that wouldn’t break the bank and which also wouldn’t make me feel like a total hypocrite. Adding to the need for something different, Trevor needs more carbs and a more normal level of protein than the Canidae Grain Free (which is extremely high protein, which works for my Very Busy Boys), since he needs to put on weight fairly quickly (basically, I’ve got a month to put weight on him before he starts the immiticide treatment for the heartworms).

So… off I went to PetCo to see what my options were. After looking at pretty much everything they had (or at least everything that I hadn’t already ruled out), I finally walked out with a bag of Nutro Max. $35 for 35 lbs, and a $5 coupon knocked it down to $30. It’s a three-star food, compared to five stars for the Canidae or EVO, but it’s still substantially better than the grocery store crap (and probably also better than what the very underfunded shelter could afford to feed him when he was there). Trevor thinks it’s yummy, so I’m going to try not to kick myself over not feeding him “the good stuff” . As a friend pointed out, while it may not come up to my normal standards for dog food, it’s a far cry better than being dead, which was his next stop if we hadn’t gotten him out of the shelter.

After all of that, I went back to WalMart (which still hadn’t texted me to say the scrip was ready) and waited… and waited… and waited. Almost an hour after I’d dropped it off, my bottle of doxy was ready and I paid my $10 and headed home, where I was greeted by very happy dogs who were very ready to get outside and play. Apparently the three-day weekend spoiled them. Yes, boys, it sucks that mommy has to work, but that’s how she pays for the dogfood!

While they were out romping about, I got their dinners and meds ready. I normally take my guys off heartworm preventative in the winter, putting them back on in the spring when the mosquitoes come out. Since I have an infected dog in the house this year, I’m not taking any chances, so I went ahead and got Interceptor for Drummer and Thunder while I had Trevor at the vet last week. Since Trevor turned out not to have microfilaria (baby heartworms) in his blood, and since those are what infects mosquitoes who would then transfer it to other dogs, I probably would have been safe waiting ’til my normal time (usually mid-May) to start HW meds for my guys, but it’s just not worth the risk. A couple of extra months on prevention is imminently cheaper than treatment if one of them did get infected! Tonight, for ease of tracking, I started all three dogs on their heartworm meds… Drummer and Thunder on Interceptor and Trevor on Heartguard… and started Trevor on his doxycycline. The doxy’s in capsules, so it will be easy to just open them and dump them on his food twice a day, so I don’t have to convince him to swallow pills. Everybody gulped their HW meds down like treats, and then Trevor got some Canidae as a treat and Drummer and Thunder got a few bites of the Nutro Max (it wasn’t their “normal” food, so as far as they were concerned, it was a treat!).[/lj-cut]

So now I spend the next 30 days giving Trevor his antibiotics and trying to put some weight on him. Also, continuing to introduce him and Drummer. I tried yesterday… Trevor and Thunder were out in the backyard, and I took Drummer out on lead. They started off just sniffing, but then there was some generalized grumbling from both of them, so I wasn’t willing to turn them loose together quite yet. Boys. I swear. You could cut the testosterone with a knife.

It’s going to be an interesting few months, I can tell!

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3 Responses to “And so it begins”

  1. February 23rd, 2011 at 12:22 am

    jenna says:

    Hey! I clicked over here for PICTURES! LOL

    Not entirely true, but a little bit.

  2. February 23rd, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Melissa Glasser says:

    In your neck of the woods, I’d suggest year-around heartworm preventative, regardless of the presence or absence of a positive dog.

    First, you’re getting at least some intestinal parasite control (at one time Novartis had a guarantee on Interceptor & Sentinel to cover intestinal parasites, as well as heartworm prevention – check with your vet to see if that still exists, and the “fine print”. Part of that “fine print” is HWP 12 months a year) (that was rather a longer aside than I thought it was going to be!).

    Second, in mosquito season, it doesn’t really matter if the positive dog is in your home, or “down the road a piece” – there’s still likely to be exposure (but that’s why you use HWP in known mosquito season).

    Third, I’ve had patients (multiple) who had owners tell me they only skipped HWP in Dec/Jan/Feb, then the dog came up positive. Based on their records of when and how much HWP they bought, I believe ’em. For parasite control & HWP, remember you’re killing off what they picked up the 30 days before the dog was given the preventative (ie, it doesn’t stick around for 30 days, waiting to kill off the larvae).

    I’m sure you’re up on the Immiticide (or will be shortly). There are two options for using it: 2 doses, 24 hours apart (used for low HW burdens & healthy dogs) OR one dose, then 30 days later 2 doses, 24 hours apart (used for sicker dogs, larger numbers of worms, or to ensure a higher kill rate of the HW). I wouldn’t expect any problems with exercise up until the Immiticide treatment; we’re generally worried about dead/dying HW leading to blood clots being sent to the lungs. It’s pretty rare, but ugly when it happens 🙁

    Shoot me an email or give me a call if you have any questions, and I’ll be happy to chat about it (being entirely unbiased by drug companies or office financial burdens at this point *grin*)

  3. February 23rd, 2011 at 9:14 am

    DebbieG says:

    LOL, Jenna! Sorry… I’ll try to do better on the picture front. Right now I’m just trying to remind myself to blog regularly, and Trevor’s giving me a focus to write about.

    Melissa, the protocol my vet is recommending is regular Heartguard now, plus 30 days of doxycycline, then chest films and the first immiticide shot, followed a month later by two shots 24 hours apart. I’d been meaning to ask if I needed to restrict his exercise at all during the first 30 days. Dr. Roach didn’t say anything about doing so, so I’ve been letting him set his own pace.

    And yeah, I know that the presence of Trevor doesn’t dramatically change the exposure picture for my guys… especially since he’s microfilaria-free… starting the Interceptor a couple of months early is just added peace of mind for me.

    I’m sure I’ll have questions as we go through this. Right now I’m mostly focused on the “normal” foster-dog stuff… getting him into a routine, housebreaking, integration w/ my crew so I don’t have to keep managing which dogs are out together, etc. As we get closer to the first immiticide treatment, I expect that’s when I’ll turn into a bundle of nerves. It doesn’t help that the schedule has that first treatment about a week before I leave for five days for FKO. I’ll see how he’s doing after the first treatment and make the call on whether to leave him at home w/ the sitter (less stress for him… more for her) or board him at the vet (less stress for me due to instant access to care if needed… more stress for him).