I haven’t shared much here about something that’s been a huge part of our lives as of late.
Cole and Marigot, like so many strays in the Caribbean, have heartworms. These vicious little parasites are transmitted by mosquitoes and are deadly if left untreated (but totally preventable by giving your dog a monthly dose of preventative medication). If you want to ruin your day, do a google image search for “heartworm”.
We are obviously focused on getting the pups 100% well ASAP. It’s a slow process that we thought we’d started over a month ago, right after we adopted them. Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case, and now we’re back to square one.
You see, right before we left the Virgin Islands earlier this week, we visited a vet in St. Thomas for a checkup (Dr. Bowen and staff are fantastic, btw – I highly recommend Imperial Animal Hospital). Exactly 30 days had passed since the pups’ trip to the vet in St. Maarten, where they were microchipped, given essential booster shots and rabies vaccines, and diagnosed with tick fever and heartworm. The vet in Sint Maarten started them on the first part of a multi-month treatment – a round of heartworm preventatives and antibiotics.
We were sad for the pups, but happy to be taking the first step forward. Or so we thought.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the vet in St. Thomas, we discovered that the dogs had only been given half of the antibiotics to be effective for their weight, and none of the Prednisone that’s recommended by the American Heartworm Society.
That was bad, but even worse, the type of monthly NextGuard chews the vet in Sint Maarten gave us (these play a critical role, preventing new heart worms from forming for the first 60 days of treatment) did not actually contain the drug that prevents heartworm – just fleas and ticks. We might have noticed, if the box hadn’t been written in French (facepalm). Thankfully, the vet in St. Thomas caught that error too, and set us on a new course of antibiotics, Prednisone, and a heart worm preventative.
We’re back to start, but at least now we’re doing it by the book.
We also got some good news. The pups’ heart and lungs sound normal, their poop was clean of parasites, and Marigot – our little meatball – lost two pounds! Unfortunately, their days of running, hiking, and playing are over for a while, as we’ve been instructed to keep their heart rates down as part of their treatment.
Day to day, the pups are doing great, even with all this medication in their systems. We’re looking forward to continuing their treatment with a vet in Puerto Rico, as we move slowly north. Send good vibes our way!