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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

K9 Advantix/Seresto~ Flea and Tick disaster




Lovable crazy Bentley


Bentley's alopeica

Boom, boom, boom! My feet thunder as they pound the hallway floor like a sledge hammer banging a pole into the ground.

Slam! Bang! Cry the cabinet doors.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Each boom is exasperated as I head back down the hallway armed with paper towels, rug cleaner and plastic bags.



Hubby sits near his computer with the door slightly ajar. He knows all to well I am being hassled by something, but he is not brave enough or stupid enough to peak his head out of the door and I can’t say that I blame him! (Oh yes, sometimes I have a temper!)



##@$***, ##@$***! Just a few choice words emanate from my mouth as I scoop up two huge slimy piles of fully digested food off the carpet. It is not my  lovable Bentley's fault, he is the mere vessel of the pile, but this is just the icing on the cake after taking the morning to rake the up on my own, an acre's worth of dog poop after a long winter’s chill. So far, though this Saturday has been productive, i was far from fun.

A couple of hours and one ‘John Lennon’ movie later since the vomit episode and my poor Bentley is not able to relax. Inside, outside, up and down, barking, barking, all around!

Inside, outside, up and down, quiet, quiet, not a sound? Hmm… the clock is ticking at 10:30 PM, late for any of us in this household to be wandering about.


I poke my head out the back door where I left let Bentley. “Bentley? Here Ben.” I called out and I began to walk into the backyard with nothing but moonlight to brighten my path.


Bentley moseys around the corner of the shed and walks beside me into the house. Once in the bedroom he finds it hard to stay settled. He can’t seem to lie down and of course, I worry about bloat. Even though he has lived through it once and his intestines were sewn in place, there is still a cause for worry. Normally by 10:30 PM we would all be settled in for bed with only the soft sound and glow of the TV playing in the background.



10:45 PM. Bentley is still roaming around the bedroom and wanting to go back outside. I turn on the bedroom light to check on him. Bentley who has been plagued by alopecia (hair loss) since his last summer’s shave down is showing a couple of welts between his shoulders of his fully seasoned hair and the bald spots. But these half dollar size marks are clearly visible to my eye.

10:46 PM. Finally, I put two and two together, the vomiting and the welts!

10:47 PM. I run to the kitchen to grab the Dawn dish detergent and call Bentley into the bathroom and start washing his back frantically.


11:00 PM, I start to shave whatever hair the poor guy has left at the shoulders to be sure I have cleaned all areas, and then I scrub his back again with Dawn. Bentley tries to relax but cannot get comfortable, his breathing seems slightly labored to me, but then again, I am beginning to panic!
 

11:17 PM,  Bentley wants to go outside again. I grab the leash and a flashlight and walk him to his pen and watch him. He attempts to potty then begins digging near the hedge, moving very slowly and awkwardly as he circles around one or two times. Suddenly there's a big thud. He goes down hard and smacks the ground as his muscles have lost all control of his body. A deep heavy groan flows from his mouth as his side smashes against the pea gravel that lines his pen.  Indeed I am panicked now, as I watch his legs twitch and quiver like he is having a seizure. Then… silence.  My heart beats firm against my chest as I run toward the house.

11:25, “Peter? I yelled.  PETER!” I yelled even louder as I headed toward the deck that leads to the back door. “He collapsed! Benny’s collapsed!”


“What?” Peter yells. “Where? Where is he, what happened? What do you mean he collapsed?”

“He’s in the pen.” I shouted. “He went down really hard and it looks like he might be having a seizure.”.

Peter and I meet at the back door and together we run toward the pen where Bentley is lying. Thankfully there is no time to cry, we need action and we need it now!

“Bentley? Bentley?” Peter calls to him. “We've gotta get him to the ER!  Benny, Benny!” Peter calls his name again while shaking him trying to get a response.

I have already begun my journey into the house to the dog closet which holds the directions and phone number to the ER vet.

Peter yells through the back door. “Sal, I got him in the car, let’s go!”

I jump into the car and see Bentley standing in the back of the van panting, Peter is plowing through the pile of raked debris which was left in the driveway earlier that afternoon and I am trying to type the address of the ER vet into the GPS while dialing their phone number at the same time to tell them we are coming.


11:45 PM: We are nearing the ER and according to the Brittish women on our GPS we have “arrived at our destination on the right.” However in the dead of night with cataracts obstructing my view all I can see in this ‘destination’ is some type of factory and a lumber yard!

“Shit!” Peter said. “Where the F**k is it?” as he pulls the car out of the lumber yard parking lot.


Finally about a hundred feet in front of us we see a building with lights on, and although the signage is not fully lit, Peter is able to make out the word ‘Vet.’


11:47 PM: We enter the building.

"Hello can I help you?" the receptionist asked.

“Yes. I said. "I just called you about the Newfoundland.” My voice slightly panicked and agitated.


“Oh, yes, have a seat I’ll be right with you.” She answered.


Have a seat? Have a seat?  I don’t want a seat! I want a doctor! My mind is screaming these words on the inside, however, a polite “Thank you” is what passed over my lips as I took a seat a seat near Peter and Bentley.


The ER waiting room is a very open area with surrounding windows and is occupied only by a young couple with a small child standing to the side of the reception desk and a gentleman seated on the opposite side of the room from where Peter is sitting.

“Newfie?” The lady, who I am assuming is the child’s mother, asks.

“Yes.” I reply.

“Beautiful.” The lady said.

“Thank you.” I replied only half listening to her.

Across the room I noticed that the lone gentleman seemed to be giving us quite the look over. I was not sure if it was us or the dog he was staring at, but I made no attempt to talk with him. Across from him were a line of doors where occasionally one particular exam room door would open and a beagle would try to escape.

11:57 PM: “I’ll put you in room one now.” The receptionist said. “By the way, beautiful Newfie!”

“Thank you.” I replied. But really in my mind I was thinking that Bentley, in his sad state of hair unrest, is hardly beautiful! But I guess his face says it all!


12:00 AM, I post to Face Book. “In er vet with benny.”

12:05 AM, Peter and I look at each other as we sit on the bench in the exam room. A grin decorates each of our faces as we realize we did not take time to change before leaving the house. Both of us in are in old tattered jogging pants, his being topped off with a golf jacket and mine being topped off with and over sized tee shirt and a zippered sweatshirt, which clearly shows the years of deterioration as only a dog grooming sweatshirt can. The chewed pockets remind me of my dear little Cody who would chew on anything that may have harbored a biscuit. At least Peter looked partially put together, his hair was not sticking out of place, and he needed no makeup, he was just a guy in a non matching outfit! Me? Just call me Phyllis Diller!


12:15 AM. The exam room door opens. “I smell K9 Advantix!” The Vet says.


“Really?” Peter and I say simultaneously. “You can smell it?”

“That’s my job.” Dr Haas replies as we introduce ourselves.

I start to go over the day’s events with the Dr. as clearly as I can remember them when suddenly my cell phone rings.

It’s after midnight, I don’t get calls during normal hours, who could possibly be calling me now?

Peter takes my cell out of my purse, plays with it a bit, while I continue talking to the doctor.
“Well, Doctor Haas says, I’ve got your information, so let’s check his vitals.”


Dr Haas looked at Bentley’s gums for pinkness, then ran his hands over Bentley’s body and gave a squeeze to the abdomen. Bentley gave a grimace of pain. Then with tail lifted high, the Dr. took his temperature.

“Aside from the tender belly, all seems fine.” Dr Haas said. “I am going to go into the back for a few minutes to look on the internet on a site only made available to Veterinarians and see if there is new information on this product.”

As Dr. Hass left the room Peter whispered to me “I bet he’s really online with justanswer.com!” Thus easing the tension of the room.

“Yeah, I chuckled, wouldn’t that be funny!” “Who called my cell?” I asked.


“Kyle.” Peter answered. “I couldn’t unlock your phone so I couldn’t answer it, but I’m sure if he’s calling at this time of night, it can’t be good.”


Kyle was to be leaving that evening with some friends to go to Florida for Spring break and we had talked to him earlier in the day. I quickly took out my phone and called him back.

“Hi Mom.” Kyle answered.

“Hi Ky, What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing.” Kyle answered. “I saw your post on FB that you were at the ER with Bentley and I wanted to know if everything was okay.”

“What are you doing on FB?” I asked. “Aren’t you on your way to Florida?”

“Nah, he said, we’re leaving in about an hour and I got online to look up some maps and stuff.”

“Oh.” I replied. “Well, so far Bentley is okay.”  I proceeded to tell him the day’s events. “Alright, I said, I’ll talk to you soon, be careful driving tonight.”

“Okay Mom, goodnight.” Kyle replied.

12:35: AM Dr Haas enters the room with paper in hand and seems to be very happy that Bentley has alopecia and he can actually see the welts on the body where I put the flea drops. He reads us the information that he got off the Vet's internet and decides Bentley’s vitals are fine, however his abdomen is slightly tender so he is prescribing an injection for nausea to get him through the night.
 
"I am going to assume this reaction is from the flea drops." Dr. Haas said. "If it were not for Bentley's alopecia this may  have gone unnoticed with a dog that normally has such a thick coat.  I am glad I got to see it and will document it."


12:47: We pay a whopping bill for the after hours care and head home. While driving we fondly remember our last trip to the ER Vet which was three days after Abby had given birth to seven Newfie pups. During that middle of the night run, we had gotten lost in the back mountains  of PA on our way home , for what seemed like hours, and were so overtired  by that point that we were ‘punch drunk’ as they say.

1:00 AM. We  go to bed and have Benny snuggle up between us.

Sunday morn 9:00 AM: The sun has broken the barrier of my tightly closed bedroom blinds but thankfully Bentley and I have both slept in. Peter however did his usual Sunday morning grocery shopping at 7 AM, as the girls in the bakery department of Weis would get worried if he didn’t show up for the rolls and muffins they put aside for him each Sunday morning, as would the girl who puts his New York Post and Press Enterprise newspapers off to the side for him at checkout.

As I lay in bed, I thought back to the previous day and what I might have done wrong or what I could have done differently.

So, to spare others a similar experience, here is what I could have done differently to not only spare the possibility of Bentley being hit with the full extent of illness, but also what could have prevented an expensive ER Vet visit.

Don’t misunderstand; I am very thankful that in rural PA we even have an ER Vet!

A) I should have marked each container with the dog’s name in permanent marker and  applied only a little bit in one area and waited to see if there would be any negative reaction. When you are dealing with flea drops you are putting a pesticide on the dog’s body. Had I done a test spot, Bentley may not have suffered to the extent that he did.

Sadly, I forgot my own golden rule which is, “Just because something is touted as being safe, does not mean it is safe for all, as everyone, even dogs, are individuals!”

B) I should not have put it on during a weekend even though my intent was that I would be home with them to monitor their reactions to it, I could have saved the expense of the ER vet had I done this during what is considered normal vet hours. Most bad reactions occur within the first few hours of application.


C) Given my memory, or should I say lack thereof, I should have stapled a note to my forehead that reminded me that I had put this medicine on the dogs earlier in the afternoon! Thereby hopefully making 2+2 come together just a little sooner!

While I am not telling you not to use the product, I am telling you to be aware of what's in it. Keep in mind that 5 of my 6 dogs are visibly fine after its use. I also believe that Bentley may have ingested some of the product off of one of my other dogs because like a good papa, he is always kissing them. This could have caused the vomiting and possibly even more serious illness. So, if you have more than one dog you will want to watch how they interact with each other.

It is a shame that we need to use such toxins to keep our dogs safe from the diseases that flea and ticks carry with them. But as the old saying goes, “You're damned if you do and damned if you don’t!”


(See below picture to view welts)
Side effects of this drug http://www.ehow.com/about_5084879_problems-advantix.html
This flea medicine contains Permethrin which you can read about here on the EPA page .
http://www.dogtek.com/eyenimal/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=COOhzcjd5KcCFYbb4AodgjwG9g


Welts just below shoulder blades
from flea and tick drops



Update on the topic of flea and tick care: 3/2016

 My sweet Bentley has passed since I wrote this article and not due to the  K9 Advantix but due 13 beautiful years together. Many things have changed since then. Gone are my Newfie family of five, and my residence in PA.  However with two new Newfie's   many years later the same old, what to do about flea and tick season, question arises again.   

After Bentley's ER ordeal I went back to using Frontline, however over the years I found that Frontline was not doing as good a job as it used to. In fact I heard many similar complaints over  the years while working my online dog job. Many complained of dogs that had been using Frontline for a long time, but it did not seem to work well anymore.

In my search for a new flea and tick preventative I found the Seresto collar which I have been using since my move from PA to  MN in 2013.   Seresto was popular abroad for a long time but had not passed EPA standards here in the US until a couple of years ago. Many Vets in the US had not heard much about it, so they were not inclined to  recommend it. 

After talking with some Vet friends abroad I decided to give it a try. After all, unlike the spot on treatments, if there were a problem I could just take the collar off as the ingredients get into the hair first then move downward to the skin.    

After Bentley's reaction to the  Advantix  I was very leery to try this on any of my new dogs even though I have 6 packages in my  closet. Frontline was no longer giving me the protection I needed and now that I had moved to MN I had discovered  the lake just  up the road in which Brody just loves to go  for a swim.   But the lake area is covered in brush, so  I gave the Seresto collar a try.   

A couple of concerns I had with the collar was going on Therapy Visits with Brody.  We are not to put a spot on tick control on our dogs before a visit so as not to get it on residents hands, so how would  I be able to make visits with the Seresto collar on?  And was it harmful to humans with compromised immune systems?  Another concern was my dog's rough play,  as they do grab around the neck and pull on each other's collars. So what would happen if one of the dogs pulls a  collar off and proceeds to eat it?  Is this toxic like the collar by Virbac which contains Amitraz? Though Amitraz is not harmful  when used topically,  once ingested  and in the blood stream it can cause severe problems and even death. Within 2-6 hours Amitraz can show  vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, disorientation , coma  and eventual death.  So how can I make this work?  

I came up with the idea to actually have an everyday collar and a special Therapy dog collar.  With the everyday collar, I  attached the Seresto collar to it using zip ties. so I could just take off the everyday collar and replace it with another for therapy visits. When it came to rough play, the Seresto was attached tightly with many zip ties underneath  the everyday collar.  I did not slip one end of the Seresto collar through the other, because it was too hard for me to take off and on. The Seresto  collar has  a break away safety mechanism should an animal get caught on a bush which is great, but for me I would  have to cut the collar to get it off.  The Seresto collar, when  locked together, is like a zip tie. 

I have to say Seresto worked wonderfully. No fleas or ticks, and no potential harm to residents on our visits.  I found out that even if a dog weighing 60 lbs ingests it, it does not have the harmful results of collars that contain  Amitraz. Also, keeping the collar in tact  would not be a waste of the 45 dollars it cost me.  A cost well worth 8 months of coverage from flea and ticks. This was a win, win situation for me! 

I have used this now for two years with no ill effects and no greasy mess on my dogs like the topical products leave behind. In fact I have found out from a dear friend who recently talked with her vet about it, who says it would not be harmful to residents who touched it.

With all of the above being said, just like humans,  every dog is different and will react differently to products, so always err with caution. If possible try new products when your Vet has office hours so you are not making trips to the ER.  


    

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