Saturday, November 11, 2006

You Don't Want Spaghetti Worms!

While Border Collie Brooke was in the lab getting chest x-rays and more blood tests, I waited in the examining room at the pet clinic. The sign said, "Turn off cell phones." It didn't mention cameras. I had spied a specimen jar of a dog's heart and heartworms across the room. I sneaked my camera out of my purse and quickly snapped a couple of photos.

I may never eat spaghetti again. These spaghetti looking worms live in the pulmonary artery between a dog's heart and lungs. The vet showed me Brooke's enlarged artery on her x-ray film. The "swelling" is typical of a dog with heartworms.

It seems unreal there could be that many heartworms in one dog, but it happens. Doc told me Brooke's worms are very active as he found lots of babies in the blood. Sexually active spaghetti worms? It's not something I want to think about.

For the next two weeks, Brooke is on a pre-treatment program of doxyclycine and prednisone; then she will have two injections of immitticide 24 hours apart. After that she goes home for three weeks of quiet rest, no excitement, no jumping around, no playing ball, no fun; then it's back to the vet for more tests to see if the treatment has been successful. In the meantime, Brooke is feeling pretty good. She is pumped up on meds and steroids for now.

Thanks to all of you who contributed cash or who purchased a painting to help with Brooke's vet bills. We have reached our goal with your help. Brooke thanks you and Art Helping Animals Alliance thanks you. Updates on Brooke's condition will be posted here periodically.

We hope these photos and the story of Brooke's health challenges will prompt you to RUN, not walk, to your vet with your pet for heartworm preventative immediately, especially if you live along the Gulf Coast or in other humid areas that are mosquito prone.

posted by V. Bridges Hoyt, Brooke's foster mom

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