The Dogs and the Bees

Okay, it’s supposed to be “the birds and the bees”, and it’s really only 1 dog anyway so perhaps it should be “The Dog and the Bees”.

Well…so? The title is not nearly as clever as I thought it might be…

Yeah. Clever eludes me occasionally. My excuse is I spent a LOT of money yesterday. Gad.

Yesterday was a busy day. Seems last week a swarm of bees found a small crack in the trim of one of my eaves and moved in to set up housekeeping. Sheesh. I swear I used 50 tubes of caulk on that house when we painted it last year…and STILL they found a way in. I’d have bet money there wasn’t anyplace a bee swarm could have used…but yes, I missed a spot. A small place behind a gutter.

Anyway, 25,000 bees are not welcome at my house. Environmental elitists be dammed…they are not staying.

Now, I’d read stories of a country-wide bee crises…you know, one of those media hyped environmental disaster stories in the making? An example is here.

So, there’s a shortage, and I’ve got a surplus. A match made in heaven, right?

Heh…NOT. No beekeeper wanted to come and get them, even for pay. They said they had no shortage of colonies (a queen and her workers), and if I wanted to set up a hive, well they had colonies to give away for the cost of the box. Several even recommended who to call to have them exterminated.

I tried to find them a home. No go. Too bad. Yep, I’m heartless. They had to go. This is not a situation I could allow to linger.

So, the “bee removal specialist” came out. I had to leave work a wee bit early to meet him, so at least there was something positive about this problem.

By the way, “Bee Removal Specialist” means “Beekeeper/exterminator that gets paid a bunch.”

You cannot make a colony move or leave without capturing the queen. With no easy way to get at the queen, extermination was the only option. He dusted the swarm and they immediately started dying out.

There should be no problem with honey/comb in the house, they’ve not been there long enough. I simply have to wait a few days to make sure there is no activity and then seal the crack so I don’t have the problem again. $240 for him to blow a little powder at them (for that price I figure it was cocaine). Hey, he had a bee suit though. There’s no way I’d have tackled that without it.

So…that’s the bees. Ugh.

Then there’s the dog. Nope, he didn’t get into the bees. In fact, the dog and the bees were quite content having nothing whatsoever to do with each other…but I had to deal with them both on the same day…thus the (not) clever title and post combination.

I have this old grey-beard…an ancient Black Lab named “Zerbert“. Well, Zerbert had a growth on his tail-end that needed to be removed. Pretty standard “old-dog” maintenance stuff. Take him in, they put him under, remove this growth (and another couple smaller ones), and we’re done. About $100.

Of course, it didn’t go anything like that. They do blood work before hand to make sure the dog will tolerate the anesthesia. Zerbert’s was abnormal. His liver enzymes were way off. They won’t risk the anesthesia with this condition, likely the dog won’t wake up from it (that’s why they check!).

So, now there’s two problems. The liver, and the growth.

One cause for the liver problems could be heartworm, so they do a test.

Ah, crap. Heartworm positive. This despite us using a heartworm preventative since we got him. He may have been infected before we got him (we’ve had him just short of 2 years). It can take better than 6 months after infection before the test can detect them.

This is bad. Heart worms, left untreated, are inevitably fatal. The treatment can be dangerous for the animal, especially old dogs. For those that don’t know, heartworms are not contagious animal to animal or animal to human. Mosquito’s are the carrier, and healthy humans are not affected. There’s no danger to us or Casper, the 20-pound Maine Coon (we’ve had him for better than a decade and use a preventative).

So, now we have three problems. The growth, the liver, and the heartworms.

The liver they prescribed him some pills to take for a month to try to get his enzymes back to normal levels.

Hmmm…with the test and the pills now I’m $200+ dollars into this visit and we still haven’t done anything about the initial problem (the growth).

They removed the growth with a local anesthetic. NOT fun for the dog…he already doesn’t like the vet working on him…I’m sure it took a couple guys to hold him down…but they assured me there would be no significant pain…this is not as good as doing it under the general, as they can’t go as deep on the problem growth or get the other, smaller ones that are not currently a problem. Regrowth is therefore a possibility. We may be addressing this again.

The heartworms? Well, we don’t know. They can’t even consider treatment unless we can get the liver back to normal, and even then, due to his advanced age they are not sure he would survive the treatment. There is apparently a partial treatment that can keep them from reproducing so he doesn’t get any more…and that may be an option. Killing the adult heartworms is the traumatic part and he may not survive that.

Back to the vet in 10 days for removal of his stitches.
Back to the vet in 30 days for more bloodwork.
We’ll see after that.

I’ll figure out how to resuscitate my wallet later…somehow…

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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