Dispatches from the War on Fleas

We are having a bad flea late summer. Most of the summer, we were flea free and I congratulated myself on my total slackness: I never walk the dogs anymore, so they only have our yard to run around in, hence they are not exposed to other, inferior dogs with their declasse flea problems. Or so I said. Then August hit and with it came the plague. I had bites all over my back and although the dogs can roll around on their backs and howl when that happens, it affords little relief to the suffering human. Some, though. And I have never been more grateful for Annie’s gift and legacy of dollar store back scratchers. They are the best thing in the world, creepy little bamboo hands. 

I bought expensive flea medication online, naturally only noticing when it got here that it doesn’t actually kill fleas, it just makes them sterile. Well, terrific: the adult fleas, discovering their plight, bit more viciously. I vacuumed as previously reported in this blog, repeating the mantra “the vacuum is your number one weapon in the war against fleas.” I have no idea where I got this sentence, but it’s a good one, right? Then I caved and spent more money on more meds that supposedly actually killed fleas. And I think they did – the scratching got a bit better. For a while. Now they’re all becoming hysterical again and doing entertaining things like scratching themselves on the siding (I have been trying and trying to take a video of Perdita scratching her butt on the wall; it is hilarious but the minute I take out the phone she stops and looks at me, deeply pained. Perdita does not want to be a Youtube star.) and on the porch benches. Now they all have little dreadlocks from the scratching and I am counting the days until I can dose them again. 

Meanwhile, in more serious and scary dog news, Django, the purebred Springer Spaniel who is probably singlehandedly responsible for all the stories about purebred dogs and their issues – food allergies? Check. Random odd medical emergencies? Check. Ate a couch, no, two? Check. – stopped eating. If the other dogs stopped eating it would not suprise me: Perdita is the only dog in the world who is determined to keep her girlish figure and Theo is 13 years old, which is 91 in human years, or, as I like to say, 206. But Django is wholly food motivated and he will eat anything, from CDs to socks to furniture. Fortunately, he has so far always also been able to digest anything, but this time I feared the worst. Off he went to the vet with Audrey. No socks, no blockage, nothing visibly wrong, but $380 worth of blood tests later (it is worth having a care credit card if you don’t have one, pet owners) it turns out that his liver enzyme counts are off the charts and not in a good way. The vet kindly gave us a month’s worth of liver meds – exceeding expensive liver meds, so it was nice of her to give them for free – and suggested an ultrasound. What would you do, I said, if the ultrasound comes back bad? The same thing we’re doing, she said, and I said, okay, lets try this for a month without the ultrasound and see what happens. He is also on antibiotics and an appetite stimulant and now we wait and see. He seems perfectly healthy – he is just impossible Django, bouncing off the walls as usual and scratching in ridiculous ways. And indeed all his other numbers are the peak of perfection for a nine year old dog, 63 in human years, or almost to social security if they didn’t keep moving the bar up. So if you all would hold him in the light as the Quakers say, we would be grateful. Because as much as I bitch about having to make a vat of dogfood every week (ground turkey, sweet potatoes and brown rice, with ground up eggshells for calcium and a multivitamin tossed in) I don’t really want to stop any time soon. 

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