Gut Check

Every sort of digestive problem solved in this issue.


There’s another foster puppy in my house, but the impulse to foster again is being sorely tested by this one – through no fault of her own. This puppy needed an emergency placement in a foster home because she failed the temperament test required to make it onto the adoption row of a very crowded local shelter. The problem was that she’s very undersocialized and shy.

Okay, no problem. My family and even my neighbors are helping me implement a thorough remedial socialization program. And she’s responding fantastically, gaining confidence and poise by the hour.

The factor testing my resolve to foster any additional dogs is a health issue. And one that is, I’m told, very common, although I’ve never had a dog with a case this severe: WORMS.

The last puppy I fostered was given a conventional deworming medication, and passed a hefty amount (it seemed to me) of dead worms in her feces the next day. I repeated the deworming medication three days later, as per the directions, but I didn’t see any other worms. The process was gross, but quick.

This (about) five-month-old pup, another mixed-breed, black female, had the telltale signs of worms when she got here a week ago: bits of what looked like white rice stuck to the hair under her tail. Yikes! Into the bath she went. Down her throat went the dewormer.

The next day, though, I didn’t see any dead worms in her feces. Nor the next day. On day three, when I was supposed to give her another dose of the dewormer, I saw lots of LIVE, wiggling white things in her stool. This discovery had me squealing and doing a tap-dance of disgust and anxiety as I picked up the infested poop in a plastic bag. And then washed my already clean hands five times. And then gave the poor pup her second dose of dewormer.

The next evening, I looked down to smile at the puppy’s cute pose as she napped, on her back and with all four feet in the air, on the carpet next to my office chair – and I saw more LIVE wriggling worm eggs crawling around her anus. Shriek!

The horror the day after that came when I picked up her water bowl to pour it out and replace it with fresh, and saw several of the rice-grains floating in the bowl.

Writing about this, even a few days later, gives me chills. I’m one of those suggestible people who hears the word “flea” and starts imagining I feel something crawling in my socks or biting in my hair. Having this poor worm-plagued baby around is making me feel infested myself. I swear my stomach is upset – although nothing like her tummy must be!

Well, she’s going to the vet tomorrow to be spayed. I’ll let him know about her tribulations and ask for something extra-strength. Then I’ll go home and shampoo my office carpet (where the pup spends most of her time) and wash her bedding. I’ve been assiduous about picking up all of her feces, but I still feel like taking a flamethrower to my backyard.

I’m sure I’ll get over my imaginary case of worms, as I’m sure the puppy will get over her very real one. But it certainly didn’t help that, coincidentally, much of this issue has to do with normal and abnormal digestion. Ugh.

The good news: If owners take our holistic health advisors’ advice, their dogs won’t have problems like the ones described here or anywhere in this issue.


-Nancy Kerns