I was the star this week of a hit reality show called Flea Factor. Ya know, the one where your biggest fears are tested and you either survive or cripple in a moment's worth of willies. My fear: fleas.
My dog is perfect. I mean, duh. Besides the chewed up window blinds, sporadic carpet soilings, neurotic door scratching, and obsessive licking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my dog. So, imagine my surprise when on this perfect tuft of fur, I found a fucking flea.
Princeton gets a bath, oh, ya know, every three days. The dog is as clean as Danny Tanner's countertops. I mean, sometimes I don't even want to take him for a walk because I want to maintain his pristinely bathed coat as long as possible. I'm tellin' ya: the little man could perform open heart surgery. Dr. Princeton. I like it.
Anyway, I noticed he'd been scratching this spot in his groin area. No big deal. He's a self-scratcher, OCD-style. Around the same time, Bryan and I noticed we had identical clusters of small blemishes that itched on our arms. We figured some hungry bugs got to us outside on a walk.
So when my mom and I found a sick, slick, quick-moving critter on Princeton's tummy the size of a tip of a flathead screw driver, I jumped! And so did Princeton when we pulled his fur out to catch the intruder. And so did the flea when we tried to kidnap him from his canine blood buffet. Those guys jump. Apparently, 3 to 6 feet. On the third try, we (my mom) finally nipped the flea from P's skin and watched him go bye-bye down the sink drain. Awesomeness. But common sense tells us that when there's one, there are many more, so my already-heavy neuroses increased greatly and I suddenly had to know everything about fleas and clean-up and prevention.
There's really no way to describe my horror and panic upon learning that Princeton is a flea bus. That means, then, that there's absolutely no way in any dimension to describe my horror upon finding out that Princeton's flea bus hosted stowaway passengers: Tapeworm!
Quick research told me that fleas carry tapeworm and if they get swallowed by a relief-seeking dog, the tapeworm lives in the dog's intestines. Tapeworm can be 1 to 3 feet long and resemble an ongoing spaghetti. Gross. Seriously, GROSS. As the tapeworm sheds itself from the pup's rear, it releases little tiny granules of what looks like uncooked rice. Hmm. Okay. Funny. Just 2 days before the Great Flea Debacle of 2008, I was making my bed and thought to myself, "That's weird. I haven't cooked rice in the bedroom. Okay. Whatever!" I picked it up and flicked it toward the trash. So, back to present time... ohmyfuckinggosh. PRINCETONHASTAPEWORMANDINOTONLYTOUCHEDITBUTIIGNOREDITANDNOWHEISGOINGTODIE.
That's it. I was bouncing off the walls. I was hysterical. The dog mom in me was panicked for her innocent furbaby and the germ freak in me was having a fit about the larvae and the pupae and all the other disgusting vocabulary I was learning in my Fleasearch.
At home, I immediately washed my sheets, vacuumed the carpets and obsessively checked Princeton for more. I didn't sleep a wink and I woke up the next morning to call the vet. They normally don't see you if you just need to solve a flea problem, but the tapeworm warranted a sit-down with the doc, so Princeton strutted into the vet's office, completely unaware of his creepy subletters and what it would take to evict them.
We discussed flea treatment and decided on Comfortis. It's a monthly pill that is supposed to kill fleas on contact. Hell yeah! And then the doctor explained that one squirt of an injection in Princeton's shoulderblade area would kill the tapeworm inside of him. Injection? Uh oh. The vet instructed me to hold Princeton's collar and scratchy-scratch behind his ears while warning me that it's one of the most painful shots he has to give, which will make Princeton cry for a minute or two from the sting. Oh.
Lemme tell ya, Doc didn't get his license from being stupid. Brother was right on. Poor Princeton wailed and wailed with little whimpers and cries sprinkled between. He was in so much pain and had had no idea what happened to him. Poor guy. Poor mother. I was just as much a wreck. I feigned a pretty bad smile of understanding, but really, I wanted to hide under the chair in the corner just like Princeton did after the shot. I felt awful. I've never seen the baby in so much pain and it broke my heart.
$199 later, we scurried back to the car, anxious to get home and get the pill to work. Poor boy is still itching a little, but I haven't spotted any other fleas. Whatever was left on him should have died within an hour of Princeton taking the pill, so hopefully it remains a miracle drug that all the message board reviews claim it is because I just cannot handle one more minute of my poor pooch in pain and my OCD on overdrive.
Kids, spay, neuter and flea-prevent your pets!
will be home to this:
Must end blog with pretty picture: