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We talk about health care for humans, but not so much that for animals. How the latter works is another aspect to examine, in seeing how the whole system works, because there are similar assumptions operative in both. This is a narrative reflecting some of these assumptions.

Today was dog doctor day. I've been putting this off. Casey had to have another rabies shot. He got a one year shot last August. Three-year shots are now available, but dogs cannot get them without first getting a one year shot.

When I got him from the shelter, they gave him a DHPP shot. That's distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and, I dunno; parainfluenza? He had to get another in a few months, and he had to get gelded, and I did all that last September.

The shelter people told me when I got Casey about how you can get your own dog shots for DHPP at the feed store just south of Wal-Mart. You're supposed to get DHPP shots for dogs every year.

The rabies shot was due in August, because I got the first one in August after I got Casey, when I took him to the vet to get him checked for heartworm and get worm pills. I wouldn't buy worm pills just for roundworm, etc; but heartworm is life threatening, and the mosquitos have been bad the last few years with all the rain. You can't give them heartworm pills without checking for heartworm first, because the heartworm live in microfilliae stage (I just made up how to spell that word) in the blood for a month or so before they invade the heart, and it's safe to kill them then, but once they are in the heart it is really tricky to kill them, because the dead heartworms keep breaking apart and clogging the blood vessels, and you have to keep the dog really quiet during all of that. So, you need to know what's going on.

In August of this year, it was of course thundering all the time, because that's what it does here in July and August. So, lacking a car, or a close friend happy to drive me and my dog around without exacting social payment in a form that doesn't work for me, I blew off the rabies shot for a bit. I also blew off the rabies shot because dogs don't have rabies anymore.  I read that on the Net, the government announced it a few years back. Well, what I read was that there was this announcement that rabies was no longer extant in the canine population, though foxes and skunk still have rabies in their populations.

We here in Carlsbad do have fox and skunk not too far away, but Casey does not have access to them (though I'm sure he would prefer to, being a dog and all). This left the risk level along the lines of "your dog might bite someone." Since Casey does everything but invite strange humans to adopt him and take him away from me (not because he doesn't like me, but because strange humans might have access to even more other strange humans than I grant him, which he would consider wonderful), I wasn't too worried about the bite aspect either. I was, however, worried about the prospect of taking the two mile walk to the vet and having some damned thunderstorm blow up out of nowhere (as it their wont at times), and said storm making even small rumbly noises,  and hence scaring the bejeezus out of my dog, who would then insist on spending the next four hours under the nearest available low-slung automobile, which would not suit my purposes.

Meanwhile, DHPP time was upon me, and I read on the net that one should not mix more vaccines than necessary. So in September, I went down to the feed store the shelter people told me about, to purchase a DHPP shot. The feed store was staffed entirely by scary blond women ignoring desperate young cowboys, which seems to be standard for any enterprise having to do with animals in these parts. Attempting to appear like I knew what I was doing, I asked to purchase a DHPP shot for an adult dog (oh, I forgot to say - I called in advance to scope it out - there are DHPP's for puppies; they are different).

The scary blond woman silently presented me with two tiny refrigerated vials and a hypodermic needle. The vials had rubber seals in the middle of the stoppers, and the needle was encased in sealed plastic wrap. Something was labeled "for veterinarian use only," but I forget what.

I examined the writing on the vials, hoping that perhaps there would be something on them explaining why there were two vials. No such luck. The scary blond woman continued to stare. Admitting defeat, I paid for the items and went home, at which point I resorted to the Internet.

The Internet informed me that one vial has sterile water, and the other has dried vaccine. You drive the needle into the sterile water, draw it up, then put it into the dried vaccine, make sure it's dissolved, draw it into the needle again. You are now ready to inject your dog.

To do this, you draw up a flap of skin on the shoulder, and drive in the needle. The needle tip is cut at an angle, so you aim it so the part that sticks out most is at the bottom, because you will be pulling up because of your position. This helps make the injection as unnoticeable as possible for your dog.

Once you get the needle in, you let go of the skin flap and use that hand to pull back on the plunger to make sure you have some resistance. You don't want to inject into a blood vessel; if you see blood you start all over again.

Then you are ready to finish and you inject the dog.

Wow! Lots of information to have to get off the Internet. We will note that the scary blond lady at the feed store did not ask me if I knew how to do this. We will also note that the Internet was not replete with hits involving people writing about how to do this.

We will also note that doing this yourself saves you $35 for an office visit in Carlsbad. I gave Casey his shot without problem; he barely even noticed. It's a good thing, though, that one is not expected to give animals shots in their tails. Tails are a really touchy subject.

Of course, I could have done the rabies and the DHPP at the same time at the vet. The Internet tells me however that you really don't want to pile on the vaccinations more than necessary; better to space them out.

Rabies is (I think) generally given intramuscularly, which is why you can't do this yourself. However, I would not bet the farm on it always being done this way; I've read about different procedures.

I could not tell how it was given when I watched the vet give Casey his three year rabies shot today, for which I paid $14 plus the $35 office visit. Other than giving Casey the shot, the vet checked his heartbeat and looked at his teeth, admired him, and chatted with me about the weather. All of this took about three minutes.

We used to have rabies clinics in Carlsbad, where you could take your dog down to the shelter once a year, and get a (one year) shot for $5, period. The shelter people told me the vets discontinued this because of the new availability of three year shots, this last being resultant from research determining that rabies resistance in dogs lasted much longer than the previous one year expected. I have also read that it is legal to label three year shots as one year shots, and bilk the public and overvaccinate the dogs even further, although I cannot cite this off the top of my head.

In Carlsbad, the vets explained that they stopped the rabies clinics because if they gave three year shots at a rabies clinic, this would unduly discourage people from bringing their dogs into the vet for necessary yearly checkups, which presumably they would otherwise do after getting the one-year shot at the outdoor rabies clinic. We will note that at the outdoor rabies clinic, there is no one with a stethoscope examining your dog's heartbeat for four seconds, and there is no one looking at their teeth for fifteen seconds, and you surely have much less opportunity to talk about the weather.


Walking Casey to the vet was a reasonably pleasant experience. We don't generally walk through town, as I don't generally want to have to deal with random humans, so this was nice for him (so many interesting smells!) When we got to the vet's office, I expected him to get freaky, as he'd been neutered the last time we went there, but he was happy at the smells of other dogs and cats and humans and behaved himself admirably. I shared the waiting room with only a few others. One was a young Hispanic man with a huge bulldog who kept prancing and pouncing goofily, and making impossible suffocating noises, and eventually I asked; "Is he a puppy?" (the dog looked like he weighed about 80 lbs).

This broke the ice. "Yes," the dog's owner replied happily. "I thought so," I said. "He looks like it, like he's trying to play."

"He looks like he's trying to bite someone," replied wrinkly boy's owner, "but he's not really."

"No," I replied; "he looks like he's trying to play." And indeed he did, weird shrieking noises and all.

Walking home, we went by the house with the rocks and the specimen garden. This house is one of my local mysteries; it's got this great garden with limestone pieces carefully/randomly arranged, piled on top of each other, gravel here but not there, plants that are good and workable here, but not many of any one, and everything really carefully maintained but not in any sort of obvious manner. And I never see anyone working it, never see anyone in the yard. I guess they do it in the early morning (or in the middle of the night, for all I know). And the house is good too; it fits with the area, looks southwestern but with minimal decor, but that really well-done. It's one of the very best bits of understated yard decor I've seen around here, and there is never anyone there.

It's on my bike route, as I dodge various other less attractive blocks, and lately of course I've been waiting for the election signs. Will they break my heart and put up McCain-Palin signs? Every day I've waited, waited, knowing, just knowing they will do it to me.

But no. But no Obama-Biden signs, either. Nothing. Just the rocks, and the plants, supplicant.

Today, walking Casey back from the vet, I poked around a bit more, being on foot. Their back yard is fenced with 5' chain link, interlaced with what looks like Venetian blind slats (a common way to privatize chain link around here). I peeked over the fence to see what some of the rest of their yard looked like.

More of the understated same, but including a circular green patch, with a stone bench, and in the middle, an Obama-Biden sign planted firmly into the turf.


Originally posted to mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:01 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •   dog lover here (6+ / 0-)

    vaccines   not so much.
      several years ago I started reading about the  bad effects of yearly vaccines.

     after much resarch we decided to do titer tests instead.. at that time we had  2 dogs who had both had their puppy shots and their first  yearly.. other then rabies they never had another vaccine.   each year we took them to the vet for titer test, which show immunity  or lack there of  for the diseases they had been vaccinated for. each year these test showed my dogs were still immune to all those diseases...
    we don't vaccinate people yearly, why would dogs be different.
       those dogs left us this summer after long healthy lives.
     for some info , google Dr. Charles Loops, he has some great info on vaccines.

    •  Cool! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I didn't know that titer/titre (spelling variants) tests were even available for this, it hadn't occurred to me to ask, and I am already happy I wrote this diary! I have read about bad effects from over-vaccinating pets. Thanks so much for your feedback; this isn't the first time people here have given me info that's opened up new options in my life.

      "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

      by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:24:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We do titers as well. And my vet wanted to do the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      vaccines too and didn't have much faith the titers would come out well enough to avoid the shots. They did and always have. Rabies is the only vaccine he gets and see my comment about the 3 yr rabies. Will never do that again.

      Reformer? Palin? NOT!

      by foggycity on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:54:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cool to hear that (0+ / 0-)

        When I was surfing the net about vaccines for pets, I ran across people writing about this, that vaccines last a lot longer than they tell you. It's obvious what's happening here; they overvaccinate because that way they don't get sued if the animal dies of something they vaccinated for, but if it dies from being overvaccinated, it's less clear what's happening.

        While I'm ranting about this, let's look at something more subtle; humans love to do what everybody else is doing; it makes us feel more comfortable.  We all have to fight the sheep thing constantly. The sheep thing is all over the place in the medical profession. The top dogs say do this and everybody on down does this without question. They are generally nice people and don't mean to be corrupt. The problem is far too few humans understand the power of the sheep thing. So, mistakes get endlessly promulgated. This is just one of the huge problems with having medicine dealt with via huge hierarchal (how do you spell that?) organizations. We are far too susceptible to hierarchies. A big question is: is it easier to change that susceptibility, or is it easier to change ourselves into people who eschew hierarchies? I don't like them myself. I don't trust the idea that they make things more efficent. I don't trust the idea that more efficient is better.

        "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

        by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 08:09:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  exceptional (8+ / 0-)

    This post was so far above the standard — and often excellent — writing at kos that I stand (or rather sit before a laptop on my kitchen counter) in deference to your obvious talent. Whimsical, witty, subtle, informative, serious and ultimately fully satisfying, Obama sign or no. Thank you for the moments of true humanity distinct from anything else on these threads. I can't even remember why I chose it, but I'm glad I did.

    We're all here because we're not all there. Unofficial motto, Port Townsend, WA

    by julimac on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:27:21 PM PST

    •  I read a post awhile back on Kos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kalmoth, joyful

      from someone who said she'd marry this website if possible. I know what she meant; there are times one just wants to adopt all of you, warts and all.

      Thanks for your kind note. I like to write, I like it that dKos lets me write. I like it here. dKos is to websites what the garden I described above is to gardens.

      My own garden is rather different -rougher and more overgrown, but it, too, is represented here on dKos.

      Lots of gardens, lots of dogs. Lots of cats! Lots of messiness, lots of fine tuning. Lots of good stuff.

      Tonight, on the eve of the election, I hereby raise a glass to this great website.

      And gardens. And dogs. And pooties.


      "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

      by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:41:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will never allow a 3 yr rabies v. for my dog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    again. Within a month of that shot my dog developed seizures. He's been on daily med ever since. He had three grand mal's. I absolutely attribute this to the 3 year dose. He is due now and though I hesitate he will get the one year only.

    Reformer? Palin? NOT!

    by foggycity on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:51:53 PM PST

    •  oh well *that's* interesting (0+ / 0-)

      I read some stuff about growths at the site of the rabies shot, and how cats get it in the leg because the growths won't hit the heart that way. There's clearly a lot of stuff that needs to be looked into here, all these stories should be worked up and some attempt to resolve what's really happening here. But don't count on the docs to do it. We need grass roots medical efforts for us and our pets both.

      The titre thing pointed out by a previous commenter is really interesting to me, but I have to deal with legal aspects as well, as don't we all with rabies. This is all new turf to me. I have to find out whether it's legal not to vaccinate your dog if the titre test comes out positive for resistance. It should be, clearly.

      Again, I'm glad I took the time to write this up. Sometimes experiences accumulate in your head and you read stuff and start putting stuff together and want to talk about it, y'know? Kos people give good feedback. (how's that for a bumpersticker?)

      "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

      by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:59:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  legal?? not sure. For boarding I was told (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I would have to vaccinate for those required types of V's. I never have boarded him because of that. I know of another owner of a dog (same breed as mine) who let the doc give one of the standard vaccines the breeder said not to give and her dog nearly died, has seizures like mine for life now. I own a giant schnauzer(112 pound neutered male who is 7.5 yrs old).

        The titer panel was $50 and the doc gave me a copy of the results in case I ever needed it.

        I feed my dog a raw food diet as advocated by my breeder and Dr Ian Billinghurst. Here is a link to the info at my breeders web site.

        Reformer? Palin? NOT!

        by foggycity on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 08:12:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  about shots (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It may vary from state to state. I think it's significant that your dog is so large and had such a bad reaction.

          Here's a good suggestion for dKos and democracy and people needing jobs (I should write an entire nother diary about this): housesitter, gardensitter, dogsitter, pootiesitter (catsitter). People who live in marginal circumstances but who are good with life forms can make a living taking care of other people's pets, gardens, livestock; when the owners are gone. Our problem in the USA is that we've forgetten both how to have small farming establishments and how to organize ourselves socially to trust people. The churches do it better, but we shouldn't have to be limited to churches; there's lots of deeply religious people who don't do churches (i.e.; deeply spiritual people). And I personally am not happy with most of what Christianity has done to this country, and Christianity comprises most of what religion has done to this country.

          'Nuff said. Pootiesitters! Now, that should become a dKos meme.

          Maybe after the election.

          I'd love to know someone I trusted to work with my dog when I was gone, even for a long day. There is so much potential for reciprocity here. Hello, village? That's what we need, not more fear.

          "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

          by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 08:40:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  link here for more diet info I left it off above (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Reformer? Palin? NOT!

          by foggycity on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 08:44:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  dogs and dairy (0+ / 0-)

            I've read dogs can't digest dairy; have you ever heard anything about that?

            "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

            by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 09:02:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, my dog loves milk and cottage cheese daily. (0+ / 0-)

              perhaps some have allergies?

              Reformer? Palin? NOT!

              by foggycity on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 09:56:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I know they like it (0+ / 0-)

                but can they digest it?

                I think it's an interesting thing to think about. Did dogs evolve to digest dairy? I've seen back and forth stuff about eggs too; that dogs can't digest eggs, that they can only digest them if they are cooked, or they should be fed raw eggs to make their coats better...It's interesting thinking about all this. Pitcairn suggests feeding dogs dairy, but think about how dogs evolved..did they do so under circumstances where they were fed dairy?

                Maybe. I find this sort of stuff fascinating, just talking/writing about it. The world is full of people who are sure they are right, and I think it's much better that people trade notes.

                Oh, and the allergy thing isn't the same as the digestion thing. Allergies involve hives and breathing problems. I myself have trouble digesting foods from the grass family; the triticales, or whatever the grass tribe is called that includes wheat, rye; it goes right through me. I've experimented with foods and have found that if I keep away from that plant tribe I digest food much better. But that's not an allergy; that's a digestive disorder; it's considered to be an auto-immune disorder. My guts go nuts when they see foods from these grasses and it all goes right through me. But I don't have breathing problems, and that's what allergies are about.

                "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

                by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:14:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  oh, and about raw food (0+ / 0-)

          that's always interesting. Really complicated, because of how badly animals are raised for food.

          I give my dog bone meal and cooked meat, and some steamed vegetables and the best kibble I can afford. I think ideally a raw food diet is really good, but that means wild game, and the animals we raise for food aren't wild and are highly bred into peculiar directions.

          But that's just details, compared to stuff like Chinese contaminants, or other poisons. The meat being raw gives it better qualities as to nutrients that will be otherwise destroyed by cooking, but when you get mystery meat, you don't know what else you have that needs to be destroyed by cooking, or what else is in there that can't be destroyed by cooking.

          Best bet is we all form large farms with sensible farming practices and rigorous self-inspection. We would never throw anything away; we would simply remove the concept of waste. We would re-invent self-sufficiency. We would be surrounded by all sorts of animals and plants and fungi and everything. It would be absolutely splendid.

          I would die happy if I could see this becoming a serious trend before then.

          "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

          by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 09:00:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I did my own dog's shots this year too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I gave him the shots that had 7 things in it and then a nasal thing for kennel cough. I had to order them and even with the shipping costs it saved me about $65.  Mango really didn't like the injection and I had to have someone hold him for it, the same with the nasal spray. I will not go to the vet for any more injections as the cost write up is so damned high.  As an RN this was the first time I have given injections to non humans and it really was quite easy. Good to know that you figured it out..they should have directions on these things.

    "Sweet Jesus I hate Hannity"

    by shanti2 on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 08:06:45 PM PST

    •  Yes, they should (0+ / 0-)

      but they don't; they have labels that say "for veterinarian use only" and then they give you the hairy eyeball when you ask to buy them. Thank god for the Net. Next time I have a problem that runs along these rough parallels I'll do the same thing only more so: surf the net, try to find help comments or pages, and then promptly post a diary on dKos with a very specific title and content describing what I've been dealing with, what I've found on the net so far,  and how my efforts to find information are being skewered by people who are trying to keep more power for themselves, and after I ask for help here I'll then get real happy about all the nice well-informed people who write back to help me out and then I'll say; "Thank you kindly, Kossacks."

      "I am infused with the day, even tho the day may destroy me." - John Wiener

      by mieprowan on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 08:48:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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