Heartworm - We use injectible ivermectin given orally if the flea treatment used does not contain a heartworm med, e.g Revolution. The dosage was confirmed by a veterinarian. If you do this, please check with your vet to make sure that you do not overdose your animal.
Fleas and ticks (updated, Feb, 2013) - On a large property like a farm, it is not practical, economically, financially, or environmentally to treat the property for fleas and ticks with insecticides. All of the dogs on the farm are treated with Revolution, Comfortis, Frontline Plus or Advantix each month. Fleas do become a little bit less of a problem in winter, but we still have to treat year-round. In summer when the flea situation can get out of hand, I keep a supply of Program. I may give each of the dogs a Program pill for a couple of months at the height of the flea season, in addition to Frontline or Advantix. Cross our fingers and toes, but we have never had a problem with ticks, ugh!
Flesh Eating Bacteria - Apparently this bacteria is around all parts of Hawaii and the world but only rarely causes a problem. See http://www.ha.org.hk/qmh/micro/strept.htm) We have had only one experience with it when Kilakila, my late Dobie-Rottweiler, became infected with it after being bitten by one of the neighbor’s dogs. Kilakila thought they were playing and they tore a hunk out of his side. I looked at the wound, it seemed clean so I didn’t treat it. He woke me up the very early the next morning to let me know that it was hurting him. I washed it off and put some antibiotic on it, but it was already infected. Even after a treatment course of antibiotic, a panel of hard tissue was forming under the skin on his side and spreading downward to his underside (necrotising fasciitis.streptococcal gangrene). Eventually, the tissue all along his underside was involved, grossly swollen, with the skin broken down and exuding fluid. He was a mess. By that time he was on a four quadrant antibiotic and pretty much catatonic. I warm-compressed all the affected areas several times a day, sort of massaging the inflamed tissue. He slept under a heating pad to help keep circulation to the affected areas. I monitored wound progress photographically and sent photos, temps and assessment info. via a daily email to the vet.
Gradually he recovered completely. About three weeks later, he was thinner but up and about. He recovered completely without needing any surgical removal of the necrosed tissue.
NOTE: This experience dramatically changed the way I handle cuts and scrapes. I pay attention to even the smallest scratch. I clean any cut as soon as possible and apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the cut. That evening, I will soak the affected part in very warm water with Povidone or some kind of antiseptic in it. This seems to stop local infections pretty effectively so that injuries heal up quickly. Having seen the flesh-eating bacteria in action, I definitely have a lot of respect for its capability. See my write-up below about warm compresses used on cellulitis after a centipede bite. Please note that if any small wound is inordinately painful, or exhibiting signs of infection, please have it checked out by a doctor.
Toxic Bacteria – Leptospirosis???? / We Don’t Know - This happened (December, 2003) to, guess who? Kilakila! He threw up in the early a.m., and was seen drinking a large amount of water (a suggestion of kidney problems) later in the day. He then disappeared for the day and could not be found till 9:00 p.m., when he was located on the lower lawn. He was stone cold and very lethargic and still throwing up clear liquid. I dragged him to the house, blanketed him, gave him Peptobismol and warm drinks of Pedialyte, and lay down with him to try to warm him up. (the vet later suggested Pepto might not have been the right choice because it has salicylates in it, but it did stop the vomiting). The next morning, his paws, lips and ears were still quite chilled. His gum refill time was okay and he was not dehydrated. I wrapped him in a blanket and took him to Makai Animal Clinic in Kailua. He was able to walk into the Clinic under his own steam. Dr. Tom at gave him an antibiotic (metronidazole)and took a blood specimen for tests. He noted that Kila’s temp was still sub-normal.
I took Kila home and rugged him up under blankets and a heating pad till he was toasty. When he was not drinking water by himself, I made him drink mucho warm water fortified with sugar and Pedialyte. The following day, Dr. Tom reported that Kilakila’s blood test showed grossly abnormal kidney and liver test results. Kila was in kidney and liver failure. He was a dying dog. Dr. Tom prescribed doxycycline for 14 days. I tried to get a urine specimen when Kila started to urinate again, but I discovered that my dog just does not want to urinate with me around. He would stop in mid flow. We don’t know if it was Lepto or what.
I kept Kila isolated from the other animals for several days. Kila’s recovery from this second health challenge was nothing short of miraculous. Eventually, I lost Kilakila but he lived the life he loved till the end, chasing damsel flies, swimming in the dog pond, throwing his own sticks and fetching them, and checking in with me throughout each day. What a beautiful and unique dog he was! When we buried Kilakila up on the hillside, our missing peacock showed up as we were digging the grave. It was a magical touch to a sad occasion.