Yep, that hacking sound came from the kennel
Yesterday, I wrote a panicked post about our sick puppy Charlie Machete, who was hacking and coughing since returning from his stay at the vet’s office during Zach’s and my vacation last week. On a return visit yesterday, we learned that our assumption was correct. The poor pup did catch kennel cough while boarding.
Fortunately, kennel cough is not too dangerous in an otherwise healthy dog like Machete. It will often clear up on its own, but our vet sent Machete home yesterday with antibiotics (and no charge for the office visit, since it’s pretty obvious how he got sick). Because kennel cough is highly contagious, though, we have to keep him separated from our other dogs (two of which are elder) for about 14 days.
What’s also contagious: whipworms. As I announced yesterday, Machete’s vet’s office vacation also included a fecal test that turned up positive for whipworms. He was treated for those, too, but will require a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks to ensure that he has not been reinfected. It’s difficult to know how he got the worms in the first place — he had a negative fecal at the end of June — but according to the scary brochures that the vet sent home with us, whipworm eggs can remain viable in soil for several years. So, our backyard, where many poops have been made, might as well be declared a worm eggery. Eww.
As a wise friend pointed out, though, so could plenty of bare ground in our neighborhood — and surely much of the Trolley Trail. Still, in the interest in doing what’s best for our dogs, we have decided to go ahead and deworm the other three dogs as a precaution and upgrade everyone from Heartguard Plus to Sentinel, a monthly heartworm preventative that is also supposed to be effective against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and fleas.
To be completely honest, all of this medicating makes the eco freak in me feel nervous (not to mention extremely broke). After all, I did recently hear an interview on NPR’s Science Friday in which a biology professor suggested that intestinal worms, including whipworms, may actually have some beneficial effects (for humans).
Still, I think I’d rather have them not living inside my dogs right now.