We knew when we moved to Nicaragua with our two dogs, that their lives would be enhanced with excitement and adventure, yet there was an element of risk re the unknown with regard to their health and wellbeing. We knew that Mango, our Australian Shepherd, would be hot with all his fur. And he is! But somehow with his daily runs and swims at the lake and his weekend outings to the beach and occasional air conditioning, he manages to survive. But far graver than heat as it turns out is the constant threat of “garapatas”.
Garapatas are evil. Once they invade, they are hard to get rid of. Pesky little pests in the flea family that attack with a vengance and deplete red blood cells in dogs, and other animals as well. Of late Mango had seemed like a tired old man, not very responsive or energetic. We constantly battle, as do other animal owners to keep both dogs tick and flea, free. However, the garapatas almost got the upper hand. At dinner one night after Mango and Dwayne got in a little scuffle with each other over a passing street dog, we noticed Mango was bleeding from his nose. We assumed he got a scratch and that the bleeding would stop. Soon, the drip drip become a steady trickle at which time we started to get concerned and tried to contact one of the vets. We were unable to reach anyone in Granada. By now the trickle had become a stream and we were extremely worried that something more serious was happening.
Fast forward, we are speeding in a taxi on a Sunday night to the only open clinic in Managua an hour away. The vet confirms it is VERY serious and that Mango is now at risk of dying within 24 hours due to blood loss. In fact, he tells us, he just had one dog die of the same thing just 2 days ago.
We will spare you the very gory details, suffice to say that Peta was outside crying and calling Adam and Oren while Ben was assigned duty of staying with Mango – not a good idea -next scene, I Peta, see Ben crawling out of the little room on all fours, into the little living room because he was in the process of passing out due to the large amounts of blood spewing out of Mango. Doctor now runs out of the room to make sure Ben is okay, and we send him back to save Mango’s life. Mango gets strapped to the table and is put on an IV over night and we are told to come back in the morning and hopefully he will make it through the night.
Worth noting what a hero Ben was, as next morning were crucial investor meetings in Managua after a very stressful night and not knowing what the outcome would be. Monday Ben went between high intensity meetings and visiting Mango at the clinic all on very little sleep and much emotional stress.
Two days later, our pup returned home having survived but in a rather fragile state, with a list of instructions re special diet, shots, medications and in need of some serious recuperation. Our house had to be fumigated, which entailed taking all four cats one by one across the road to our neighbors. So here we are almost three weeks after this traumatic experience and happy to say that Mango has fully recovered, as have we.