Fleas and snakes and ticks, Oh, my.

Spring is here. I can tell because I woke up with a deer tick lodged in the back of my neck. Temperatures here have climbed into the 80s lately, so I knew it was getting to be about that time. This engorged tick was the wake-up call. It’s not about that time. It’s that time.

Last year Roo was on Advantix II. Those of you who’ve used it know that no matter how carefully you apply it, after ten minutes your dog will look like one of those pelicans getting dunked in a bucket of turpentine on the news after an oil spill. I hated to grease her up with it again, especially because her skin and coat have been so healthy lately. 

I’ve been crediting fish oil with that, but as I thought of that big oil slick running down her back I began to wonder. Maybe the fish oil was only a part of it. Could the topical flea meds be irritating her? After all, the improvement happened when the flea meds stopped and the fish oil began. 

So, Roo had to endure a second trip to the vet in a week. She went a few days ago for rattlesnake vaccine, but that was at a different vet, since not many of them stock it around here. 

By the way, rattlesnake vaccine might or might not help with either of the local snake species likely to bite a dog here. The manufacturer brags that it should help, but they have no proof. No one seemed to have any reasons not to give it to her, so, on the off chance that it offers some protection, Roo got poked.

The vet we saw today was the same one who put Roo on fish oil. She told me that for fleas and ticks, she gives her own dogs this new stuff, Bravecto. I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am of all those sound-alike trade names. Altima. Elantra. Cymbalta. Picano. Forenzo. Now, Bravecto. 

But, she said it was possible that Roo’s skin could have been irritated by the topical F&T med. That it was unusual, but that if anybody would be sensitive it would be a Golden, as they strike her as having particularly sensitive skin. I took her word for it and, a hundred dollars later, we left the office with a dose of Bravecto and a Telex from Visa to hand over the pink slip on Roo. The one dose is supposed to last three months, and comes in a tasty treat that Dr. Rhyne said dogs love.

Now, Roo is a real chowhound. She will eat anything, from parking lot tortillas to popcorn. I’ve never seen anything like it. In the world of great canine gluttons, Roo might be Queen. I can’t think of the last time I’ve given her something that she wouldn’t eat. 

It took Bravecto to put an end to that. Not only would she not touch it, but when I resorted to cutting it up and mixing it in her dinner, she picked out the little pieces one by one and spat them out. I cut them down to the size of crumbs and flattened them into bits of cheese. She flapped those around in her mouth with the most complicated tongue gymnastics in a dog’s repertoire until she worked all the cheese down her gullet and the crumbs out on the floor. It took three slices of cheese and one slice of salami - let’s round it down to 400 calories of pure fat - to dose her. Nothing in the world has ever disgusted Roo as much as Bravecto. Even when she has to have pills, no matter how bitter, she scarfs them down as long as they’re in a little piece of cheese. This stuff revolted her. 

Let’s hope it works better than it tastes. That and the 200 milligrams of doxycycline I took to ward off the Lyme.

Could somebody please, please, send us to Switzerland now? I am burned out to a crisp, and it's not even the middle of April yet.