Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Want to Be Angry, but It's Actually Pretty Funny

You remember those horses I called dispatch on THREE times to no aid whatsoever?  Well, they're still thin as shit.  The morning after I got home from work and the one was STILL tied up on the side of the road, I wrote a note and tied it to their gate.  It was very polite, since while I bet they can guess, there's no way for them to know I was the one calling the po-po's out to look at the ribs on their equines.

It went something along the lines of Hey.  Saw your horse on the side of the road.  If you need any help with food/care drop me a line, (email address).  Polite, right?  Didn't chew them out, didn't do anything but offer a hand.

If they knew it was me, it's probably because I'm the only one out there feeding the poor horses baby carrots each morning when they come up to the fence to see me and search my pockets for treats.

The horses, not the people.

My neighbors do not search my pockets for treats.

Anyways, I came home the next day to find...

A pile of horse shit in my yard!  An actual pile of horse shit.  WITH horse hoof prints.  Okay, maybe I shouldn't have left the gate open, but I was actually expecting a different delivery that day!  One of a less poopy variety.

I have no idea if they tied their horse in my yard while I was out or if he just broke loose from his (oh-so-sturdy) rope tied to a TINY LIMB ON A BUSH and came grazing, but at least I don't have to mow in that spot.

I wanna be mad...but anything that puts food in that horse's belly is good by me.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

If You're a Vet, Why Are You Asking Me for Advice?

I don't want to specifically point out the person who recently sent me a mouse question, because I don't want anyone to be afraid to ask for my help with any animal situation, big or small.  I'm upset about it, though.  Not just it, of course, but it's one of the things getting under my skin tonight (it seems like everything I write about lately is dark - but it's a bad economy, and that means neglect and surrendering is at a huge high).

The person who wrote me told me she had one mouse returned to her after traveling with them, who began to show signs of extreme illness.  She dropped weight drastically, hunched, and refused food and water.  Eventually the questioner took her to the vet to be euthanized.

The questioner wrote that the mouse had Sendai virus, one of many things that can cause an upper respiratory tract infection (URI) in rodents.  One of MANY, MANY THINGS.  The Merck Vet Manual has this to say about Sendai:

"Sendai virus is an RNA paramyxovirus of the Parainfluenza family. It is highly contagious in mice and rats and causes an acute respiratory infection with no carrier state in immunocompetent animals. Sendai virus is transmitted by aerosols and direct contact with infected animals. Infection is usually subclinical, although sick animals may show signs of stunted growth and respiratory involvement with secondary bacterial pathogens. Gross lesions may include patchy lung consolidation and mild interstitial pneumonia. Perivascular lymphocytic cuffing is often observed on microscopic lung sections. Diagnosis is by ELISA, IFA, or PCR. Infection is generally self-limiting."

From that information, one might be more than a little curious how the questioner knew the exact cause of the URI.  It came on quickly, and I don't believe they saw a vet before putting her down, so I'd be surprised if any of the diagnostic tests had been performed.  If one were very, very curious what KIND of URI caused a mouse's decline in health, one could theoretically run a post-mortem histopathology, but I doubt she found a vet willing to do that and paid the upwards of $100 after euthanasia to discover which virus or bacteria made the mouse sick.

And on top of that - URIs are not that simple.  There doesn't HAVE to be just one thing causing the symptoms.  When an immune system is preoccupied, whether with traveling, stress, or a primary, subclinical infection, it's very easy to pick up a secondary infection that may or may not be the actual cause of the symptoms and damage.

There were other mice sharing the cage and travel with the mouse that got sick, so I strongly recommended treating the surviving mice with an antibiotic, just to be on the safe side.  I then discovered that not only were they already showing symptoms of infection, but she had "already tried that" to no effect.  Mmkay.  First of all, there isn't just one antibiotic.  There's one, MAYBE two you can get OTC, and then there are a few others to try via prescription pad.  Second, what did she try?  Did she try it for long enough, or did she cause resistance?  How long have those symptoms have been showing if she's already given them meds AND given up on them?  At this point, I'm getting more concerned.

The questioner has resigned to let the surviving mice "live out their lives" without more meds.

Look, that's not how it works in mice with URIs.  They might fight it off, or they might die horribly and slowly.  URIs can wipe out ENTIRE COLONIES.  With a long incubation period in most of them, right on up to three weeks, you can cross contaminate once and lose every mouse in your home.  That's why everyone pushes isolation so strongly - it's very serious.  Why take a chance with a loved pet?

I want to tell the questioner they cannot possibly know which URI(s) could be affecting the remaining mice, but I don't want to offend her or imply she may have unnecessarily put down her pet.  It's kind of delicate.  But it pisses me off.

If you aren't going to listen to my advice, and you're going to tell me you already know what's wrong with them and what you will do...why did you come to me in the first place?

Then there's this.  BEWARE - these photographs pull no punches.  Her camera goes behind the scenes of animal overpopulation and overcrowded kill shelters.  I love and hate these.

I was going to put up a pet of the day, but I'm so nauseated right now, so...horrified?  Grateful?  Miserable?  That I just can't.  I go to the Pawsitively page and all I see is album after album.  There are so many pets emotionlessly posted as a last ditch effort at adoption.  Instead of a photo and a story, now it's an album of 80 nameless dogs and cats with strict rules on tagging and pulling.  Be prompt, or the animal is destroyed.  I's so sickening, I can't handle it right now.  I go home and I see my fosters, my rescues, my babies, and I don't know why they got to be lucky.  I don't know if they ARE lucky.

When the person who helped you rescue six tiny lives tells you if they have to go back to that drooling, miserable, horrible woman who would have let them die in her front yard and scooped them into a trash bag like dead leaves then "so be it" know shit is bad.  You know it's the end of the rope.  You know there is no more help left to offer, and you know you won't say no if asked.

I hope finding my soul was worth it to them, their people, and the ones I can't save.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What the Fuck.

Well, third time to call dispatch on those emaciated horses, and this time they wouldn't even send out a deputy.  It's getting cold here, and they've only had hay once since May.


Tonight, one of them was tied to god knows fucking what, ONE of the fucking trees on the side of the road, barely able to move from how short the rope was (maybe two body lengths, tops), sporting new injuries of course, and eating so fast you couldn't have stopped him if you'd accidentally hit him.  Dispatch:  "He's just lawnmowing.  We can't send someone out for that.  He's fine."  Um...after dark?  For hours?  Unsupervised?  On the side of the road.  Tripping over the rope tied to his rope halter each time he tries to turn around and find more grass and weeds.

Fuck you.

I'm know what...I can't write anymore about this tonight.  I'm sorry so glum lately, but I've had my hands so full with wedding shit, working seven nights a week, and volunteer firefighting that I have barely been able to help with animal shit at all.  I feel like I'm letting them down.  You don't take a "break" from animal rescue.  When you live around the shit I live around, it's a part of you, and a part of your life.  You HAVE to care, you HAVE to help.  It pulls you apart.

Here, in case you wanted to be just a little more  pissed off at people tonight, have an actual conversation at a rescue event recently:

"how much is it to buy a dog?"
"to adopt, you mean?  $150"
"shiiiit.  i wouldn't spend no $150 on a dog.  I've never spent $150 on a DOG."
"they come with everything done - fixed, shots, microchipping, everything."
"FIXED, why would you want to buy a dog who was already fixed?"

Ayup.  That happened.