Xena: How did you like your bath, Lucy? This is the first one I ever saw you get.
Lucy: It wasn’t bad, especially with Mom in the tub with me. And I want to be clean and smell good to go visit my friends at the vet’s. I even got a pretty scarf.Lucy and Xena: Is it time to go yet, Mom?
Xena: Hey back there! Lucy! What are they going to do to us when we get there?
Lucy: Hmm, I think they’re going to pet us and give us treats.
40 minutes later
Lucy: Hi nice vet lady. What’s your name and where did they take my little sister? Tell the other nice lady to not give her treats. She gave me a treat and Mom yelled at her. Well, she didn’t exactly yell. But Mom told her I’m not allowed to have those kind ’cause of me being on the raw diet. I don’t want the other lady to get in trouble with my Mom.
Dr. Karen: Lucy, sweetheart, you don’t have to worry about Xena getting treats. We are taking a little bit of blood from her leg, just like we’re going to do with you. It doesn’t hurt much, just a quick pinch.
Lucy: Why are you stealing our blood?
Dr. Karen: Your Mom asked us to do a DNA Heartworm test. That way you don’t have to take heartworm prevention, because it lets us know even if there are tiny little baby heartworms in your blood. If there are, one shot will kill them. The difference between this and what’s called the occult test is the occult heartworm test only lets us know if the heartworms have grown up and are around your heart. Then it is hard and dangerous to kill them. So we are going to do this every 5 1/2 months to make sure you and your little sister are safe from the big bad heartworms.
A little later, after blood is drawn and bill is paid.
Lucy: Wasn’t that fun, Xena? We got new friends and we’re going home now. I lost over five pounds, too. I weigh 51 point 7 pounds. And I heard them say you are up to 15 pounds! You are getting to be a big girl, Xexe.
Xena: They also squirted some medicine in my mouth (bordetella) and stuck another needle in my butt (3-year rabies). Yep. Fun. *sigh* I’m going to sleep now. Wake me when we get home.
Mom’s note: I started asking myself, “Why am I poisoning my dog every month?” And of course, my answer was so that she didn’t get heartworms, as well as fleas and ticks. Then I found out about DNA testing for heartworms. It catches any that are present while still in the early stages (microfilea), and they can easily be killed with one shot of ivermectin. The DNA HW test must be repeated every 5 1/2 months. The cost is also less or the same as monthly heartworm prevention, depending on what your dog weighs. I urge you to read about it here. There is also a recipe for all natural flea and tick prevention, as well as mosquito repellent, using essential oils.
I feel like I am slowly navigating my way through a “brave, new world,” defying all the traditional ways our veterinarians are taught to care for our dogs and cats, and learning new, safer ways to keep them safe; ways that my holistic vet wholly embraces. I feel very blessed and less alone to have Dr. Karen by my side on this new journey with my girls.