Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tick and Treat...

Well...Who said that "time flies when you having fun"?? Time sure flies when you are running around fire-fighting on 5 -6 fronts at a time too!!

January has been one of these months...when I wish there were 3 more hours to my 24 hr day!Ok, we're back on track now and a lot "I-wish-I-could-blog" stuff have happened but the one thing I want to share is that this year we may be facing a new disease in our dogs and cats in Mauritius; one imported from the African continent (most probably South Africa)

Since, November of last year, I have been brought several cases of dogs with pronounced lethargy, swollen peripheral lymph nodes, fever, neurological symptoms and very low Red Blood Cell counts.All these are textbook symptoms of a disease called Babesiosis; whereby a unicellular parasites invades their host's red blood cells and reproduce there. Babesia is a tick-borne disease and is transmitted through tick bites from dog to dog. Bad news - Some Babesia infect humans too.

My attempts to treat symptomatically failed and as of now,the results are as follows:
I had to euthanise one of the animals;
One is still in a chronic lethargic state;
1 puppy died and 2 others out of the red zone and safe.

Since this disease is not "recognised" in Mauritius we, of course, do not ave the specific drug that treats it. Looking up for several hours on the internet, I learnt that some drugs used to treat human Trypanosomiasis work.So here I am phoning my human doctor friends for info...after several phone calls I end up in the Sanitary Division of the Ministry of Health where I learnt that I cannot get the drug.Aaaaargh!Back to internet again then...and this time I decided to review scientific papers on that disease.Bingo!(or at least I think so). Research done in 2000 tend to show that one antibiotic commonly used for respiratory infections (Azythromicin) works. At that time, I just lost one out of 3 Rott pups, so I decided to try this on the 2 that were left. After 3 days, they were much better and their submandibular lymph nodes were back to normal and fever was gone! Pfiuuuuh!So I start to ask questions about ticks...Mum is full of ticks; the one who is in a chronic state had a bad beat recently with ticks and the one I had to euthanise (old and agonising with anaemia)was of course....full of ticks!

Amidst all this, I of course, contacted the Division of Veterinary Services for an official report of my "suspicions" and faced with the lack of motivation, I decided to take the matter further MYSELF. I took blood before euthanasia; took one sample from the Dam of the Rott pups and a third one from the chronic lethargic doggy and sent all this to South Africa for analysis.
Now, waiting for the results to come in, I can only put a word out to all my colleagues about this situation and hope it might save a few doggy lives. Whilst talking to one colleague in particular, I got the following statement; "Wow! That's interesting Sam. Let's keep this for ourselves...this will give us an edge over other vets!" What a mentality!As if we are vets to compete with each other!He got a blunt "F**k you dude!" and "Go re-think why you became a vet!". I may have spoilt my relationship with that colleague but...hey I don't care!

Well, Mauritian vets out there...until we get Imidocarb (drug of choice for canine Babz)please have your Azythromicin handy.

With this intense hot and now humid weather, the next few months are going to be just "Tick and Treat!" for us vets...kinda our version of Halloween!

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