Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dog And Owner At One Against The Worms

We spent a fair amount of time today at the Vets. Amy - our Wheaten Terrier - had to go in to have her teeth cleaned. This is both a time consuming and frighteningly expensive procedure as she has to be given a general anesthetic in order to have them scaled and polished. The risk of not having them done - according to the Vet - is that she will develop progressive kidney failure, heart failure, skin disease, distemper and piles. And if that was not bad enough we would also risk prosecution under the new Animal Welfare laws.  Faced with that, £130 every couple of years seems cheap.
Vets waiting rooms are far from entertaining places at the best of times : there are always rabbits waiting to be de-flead and cats waiting to be put down. The whole experience is made far worse by the dreadful posters that decorate the walls warning owners about an array of frightening parasites that lurk in wait for kitty-cat or wuffy-dog. Today I spotted a new one which warns about the dangers of lungworm infestation. "Lungworm : is your pet protected?" proclaims the poster. The effectiveness of its warning is amplified by the picture of a lungworm which appears to be the kind of creature that haunts your worst nightmares : a cross between an ugly snake and a piece of OAP's intestine. 
Never having heard of the dangers of lungworms to dogs before, I decided to check up before I subjected poor Amy to yet another medical intervention. If you do an internet search for "lungworms" and "dogs" you are directed towards several sites which proclaim that lungworms are now an insidious threat to dogs in UK with a big increase in the number of cases being seen by Vets. However, if you search for documentary evidence of either the scale of lungworm infestation in dogs or the rate of increase, you draw a blank. Indeed the only source of the current scare appears to be a press release suggesting that there is an increase in cases but without providing any evidence. And where does the press release originate from? From a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer of course.
I am always suspicious when the person telling me there is a new problem tells me in the same breath they have a new solution. Manufacturers of anti-virus software packages are famous for this approach : warning of some dreadful virus or worm that is about to cause every computer to self-digest its mother board.  I have learnt to ignore such warnings and face up to whatever the worst these worms can throw at me. After careful consideration, Amy has decided on the same approach.

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