Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One Sick Puppy

Tell me what to do. I know a bunch of you are dog lovers and I need your advice and help.

****Graphic icky dog poop post ahead. The squeamish should just click away now. ****

Everybody good? OK. Don't say you weren't warned.

Late last fall, Greta, our German Shorthaired Pointer, got very ill, very quickly. She's always had a bit of delicate intestinal tract, so diarrhea isn't that uncommon for her. We tend to watch her potty habits pretty carefully and act quickly when there is problem because she also tends to get dehydrated quickly. This time the problem developed, literally, overnight. Greg woke up to an awful smell and found her in the living room with blood coming out her ass. We rushed her to the e-vet who practically scared the shit out of us (pun intended) with a hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (or HGE) diagnosis. Later that day, our vet said no, it was coccidia. Two weeks, 2 days of IV fluids and antibiotics, 3 prescriptions and close to $1000 dollars later, we finally had it cleared up. Then, of course, Ollie had it. He of the iron constitution, was better in about 3 days.

Since then, they've both been fine. So imagine our surprise when Greta's routine stool sample came back positive for coccidia again on Saturday. Luckily, we caught this round before she really became symptomatic. Since it's highly contagious between dogs, we started them both on oral meds right away. They'll both be fine so I'm not worried about that. It's the recurrence that bothers me.

Our best theory is that she's eating rabbit poop out in the yard. Our neighborhood is lousy with rabbits and they come in and out of our chain link fenced yard at will. Our vet suggested we spray the entire yard with a bleach solution to kill the coccidia, I'm pretty sure that would just kill off the current infestation and our grass. We obviously are having very little luck getting her to stop snacking, and I don't think a "Don't Shit Here" sign is going to be terribly persuasive to the rabbits. Our only other viable solution seems to be to keep the little buggers out of the yard. How in the hell do you do that? We're going to try chicken wire around the bottom foot or two of the fence (I'm sure our neighbors will love us for this), but other than that, I'm at a loss.

Has anyone else ever encountered this problem? What did you do? Is there something we could spray on the yard that would 1) be safe for the dogs, 2) be safe for the grass and 3) be distasteful to the bunnies? Is a barrier the right plan? Should we just say fuck it and unroll the AstroTurf?

I need ideas here people!

Now, if you've made it through the grossfest, click here for your reward.


a&mg said...

Hmmm, we haven't had this problem yet, but your rabbit poop suspicions seem pretty logical. Good luck with a solution--I'll be interested to see what people say.

new girl said...

OMG -- no ideas here since we are yardless, but loads and loads of sympathy are heading your way.

Glad the dogs are OK, and fingers crossed for no more reoccurrences.

secret agent said...

chicken wire all the way...
we constantly have to rig new keep out systems. lattive works too, but is pricey.
I have never had this issue, but since this place came with 40,000 cats and my dogs find "tasty snack" everywhere, I'm worried. can it be caught from cat poop???

SBird said...

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about the dogs being so sick! I would try the chicken wire...it sounds like you are onto something with the rabbits...I hope that solves it!