Thursday

Is your Dog Cared For If You Become Sick?



If a serious illness befell you today, would your dog suffer for it,or are you prepared?


Yesterday,at work, I spoke with a first year resident who, after a good 20 minutes of standing inches from my face, he mentioned he had been in Mexico City 4 days ago. Paranoid, I pointed out that he could incubate the flu for a week and pass it on, he shrugged it off, saying that there was always Tamiflu.( a drug which shortens the duration of the flu but works best as a prophylactic).Who gave this man his medical license? Relenza and Tamiflu do not cure the flu and in the event of a pandemic situation, quantities are limited and will most likely be available only to children and immune compromised adults.
Last night I spoke with a friend who works at a major hospital in my city. He said the staff was flipping out big time over the H1N1 looming potential pandemic. Non essential surgeries were postponed and a warehouse was filled with extra hospital beds... I worked in the medical/pharma industry for some time and was always told it was a matter of when, not if, in regard to the next flu pandemic. It was often whispered among colleagues that a terror organization could easily release a flu virus in Mexico City, as it is an international city with visitors world wide and with such close proximity to the U.S. it could further slow down our economy. Mexico has been blamed before for letting terroists in so easily and with our economy poised for an upswing this would certainly be the moment to do it.

With H1N1, only time will tell us if it becomes more virulent or less as it mutates. But for a moment, lets do what first responders and medical teams do, let's assume the worst. What if you became suddenly ill,be it flu or a heart attack or injured in a car crash....who would take care of your dog until you were back on your feet again?
Do not assume that your best friend or a relative will automatically take over the responsibility of keeping your dog, they may have the flu too, or have been in that car with you.
Everyone has a phone number that employers or hospital personnel can call for you in case of emergency...be certain that the 'in case of emergency' person will immediately call your dogs' designated caregiver if you are hospitalized.
And you need to have a couple of back ups if your first choice can't do it.
Make information about the care you give your dog easily accessible. I suggest that you give a copy of your personal dog care guide to each person who is a potential dog care giver. Also, have one in your home where it can be found since you could be unconscious. And be sure that each potential caregiver has the other potential caregivers' contact info as they may have to share the duties if you are hospitalized for a long time.
Remember that you will want to record as many helpful things about the care of your dog as you can in order to make it easier on everyone, and to insure that your dog gets the care he/she is used to and needs if there is a canine medical condition (not to mention reducing any unpleasant surprises for the caregiver,such as Susie bites when you clean her left ear, and gets loose stool when you feed her chicken)!
This isn't my favorite subject, but it is one that must be addressed. The shelters are full of dogs whose owners weren't prepared. If we do have a full blown pandemic the shelters will be even more full. I hope that you and your dogs will always be safe,but it never hurts to be ready for the worst. And don't forget to offer to be a caregiver for your friends' dogs too! Don't leave your dog waiting at the door with no one to care for him....