Monday, June 20, 2016

An Old Hound

I always keep one of these in the car, along with some water and some dog treats.

  My husband has asked me, no begged me, not to take on any more rescues.  Currently, we can afford to care for the rescued horses, dogs, and poultry we have along with our alpacas.  However, my husband has been watching trends. The farm vet, the equine vets who will each come out to the house cost more than they did a couple of years ago.  The small animal vet, where we take the dogs has also increased their charges.  As I drove home Friday, I was pained to see a dog lying in the road about a mile from our farm on the curvy mountain road.  I stopped to see if she'd been hit.  I am fairly friendly with the farmer nearby. They also rescue animals on occasion, but wouldn't be doing so, this time. They had a new baby and with their other children, their hands were quite full. They had called the pound and they would be there sometime later in the day.  I knew that the local pound would euthanize her.  In the last year or so,in our area, rescue groups will collect purebreds, immunize them and then adopt them out for often a $500. fee.   Pitbulls, beagles, and hounds, which are common here. would not be so lucky, and would probably be euthanized in a week or so.
  I took a look at her and determined that she had not been hit. She had no collar and the pads on her feet were quite swollen. She was quite thin, even more thin than hunting dogs are supposed to be.  My neighbor the farmer said that at the end of each hunting season, some hunters simply remove the collar, release the elderly or ineffective animals to fend for themselves. They survive or they die.  This is a foolish and barbaric practice in a place where rabies is endemic, and wolves and coyotes are plentiful and run free.  My friend the farmer had fed and watered her earlier in the day.  I threw a disposable bed liner on the floor of the passenger side of my car and tried to coax her there. Most dogs listen to me. She allowed me to gently lift her into the car, and then she fell asleep.

         I thought my husband wound be angry when he arrived to find I had set up a dog house in the shade, some distance from my other dogs in order to quarantine them from her.  I thought we would take care of her immediate needs, pay for a vet visit or two and then locate a new home for her ourselves, no matter how long it took.  My husband was unusually sympathetic to this elderly female hound who seemed bewildered yet a bit more animated when he arrived. I took this to mean that she had been owned by a man.

          I fed her small amounts several times each day over the weekend.  I have placed the appropriate liquid dressing on the pads of her feet. Today, I will speak with the pound and ensure that no one is looking for a dog fitting this description. I will tell them I have her, and they might issue me some adoption papers and provide me a discount certificate for spaying.   I will also need to take her for a rabies shot and a heartworm test.  I will give her a distemper-hepatitis-leptospirosis-parainfluenza and parvovirus shot myself as I do the other animals in my kennel.  If she is heartworm negative, I will begin heartworm preventive.

           Once the dog was hydrated again, she could feel how sore her pads really were. She yelped when she had to stand to drink or to eat, or when I took her for a short walk to urinate or defecate.  She doesn't know how to walk on a leash. It's possible that as a hunting dog, that she never has.

           My husband has been fairly attentive to her. He made several stops over the weekend to check on her and make sure she was cool enough and comfortable, despite the fact that he knew I was visiting her on a particular schedule. He even made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy her, soft food of her very own.  I think this old girl is going to need a name. I don't think I am going to need to work very hard to locate a home for her. I think she has already found one.

Update:   July 24, 2016  "Miss Penny" has been seen by the vet, given a rabies shot, had a heartworm test and has begun monthly heartworm preventive.   She had no collar and has no microchip.  She will likely spend the rest of her days here on the farm under our care.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Disappearance of Patch

Patch is up in front

      Patch is a large attractive Rhode Island Red rooster that is a son of Ross the rooster. Ross the rooster was purchased by our young son Daniel two days before his sudden passing in 2008.  Since Daniel is no longer here, all the animals Daniel cared about have become even more of a devotion than they were when he was here.  With Ross the rooster now gone eight years later, his progeny is now the point of our focus.   Patch is a large and attractive rooster who has a nasty habit of walking in messy or wet places.  This has resulted in a periodic infection of one foot which is called by farmers, bumblefoot.    The most correct treatment for genuine bumblefoot is a surgical removal of the swollen and infected area, and then a packing of the region until it heals from the bottom of the wound to the top, which is also known as healing by second intention.

              Most vets won't do this because it's a couple of hundred dollar procedure on an animal they believe is only worth twenty dollars. I would have paid for it to be done, but I found something which took care of it   I had given Patch a 0.4 cc injection with a tuberculin syringe subcutaneously of tylosin. The foot was resolving as the infected portion was in a process of coming to a head. I thought that I may have to repeat the injection, and that I may have to lance and wrap the foot. Patch was impaired by the foot not enough to be unable to fly out of his coop during the day, but he was impaired enough to limp around after the injection triggered a process of resolution. Patch was a fan of free ranging which is usually safely possible here at least during the day.
              Later that day I came out to check on animals and found a pile of beautiful red feathers where Patch normally sauntered.  Many times, a predator won't be able to take a singular rooster, especially during daylight. I looked over a broad area. I thought he may have been attacked, but that a predator likely couldn't have taken him   On the opposite side of the barn I found another collection of feathers, the type close to the birds skin.  We theorize that something grabbed Patch from the air and that as it went airborne, he fought. The second pile on the other side of the barn may be where the predator dropped him long enough to get a better grip. Although there was no blood, I believe he was killed there. There was nothing else anywhere.  I spent a couple of hours looking for him in the event that another predator had grabbed him and was wrestling him to their den.  I think the broad winged hawk is probably the predator in this case.  Patch, I am so sorry I did not contain you while your foot was healing so you would have been in top form when the predator assaulted you. I am glad, however, for all the free ranging you have done, quite safely for almost seven years. I know your passing was swift and that your parents and siblings will see you now.  Thanks for coming and enriching all of our lives.