Drunken Hounds 

D. E. Larsen, DVM

I stood in the driveway, waiting for Jeremy to come out of the house, and I could see several hounds in the large kennel behind the house. They were staggering around, just like Jeremy described in his call.

I watched as Jeremy made his way out of the back door of the house. He was a young man, no more than twenty years old, he was well-built and fit. He probably got plenty of exercise following these hounds.

“Hi, Jeremy,” I said as I extended my hand. “I can see a couple of your hounds staggering around in the kennel. How long has that been going on?”

“Like I told your gal on the phone, it just started this afternoon,” Jeremy said. “It is the whole bunch of them. They look like they have been out drinking all night.”

When we got back to the kennel, I could see Jeremy had six hounds, and they were all in some state of neurological dysfunction. They were all on their feet but staggering, and at least two hounds were pressing against the kennel fence, trying to stabilize themselves.

“And you say they were fine this morning?” I asked.

“Yes, they were fine,” Jeremy said. “I fed them about six this morning, and they bounced around like nothing was wrong. They cleaned up their food in a few minutes, just like they always do.”

“And nothing else happened?” I asked.

“Well, now that you ask, I did give them some worm medicine,” Jeremy said. “But the guy at the feed store said it wouldn’t be a problem.”

“What did you give them?” I asked.

“Just a minute. I will get the bottle out of the trash,” Jeremy said as he ran back into the house.

Jeremy returned with an empty plastic bottle in his hands a few moments later. He handed me the bottle.

“I have been seeing worms in their stool almost every day,” Jeremy said. “The guy at the feed store said this was a good wormer.”

I read the label on the bottle, Piperazine Pig Wormer Concentrate.

“How did you give this?” I asked.

“The directions talk about milligrams and kilograms and the like,” Jeremy said. “That didn’t mean much to me. The guy at the feed store said they sell it all the time, and it was safe. I just dumped the whole bottle into their water bucket.”

“You used this whole bottle?” I asked.

“Was that too much?” Jeremy said. “Are these guys going to be okay?”

“Let’s get that water bucket out of there first,” I said. “Rinse it out and put some fresh water in the kennel. Piperazine is a good dewormer for roundworms, but it can cause some neurological problems at high doses. I think you overdosed these guys. The worms in the stools are probably tapeworms, and Piperazine doesn’t help against tapeworms.”

“What are we going to need to do for my hounds?” Jeremy asked.

“There is no antidote,” I said. “This will wear off, just like cheap whiskey. They are all up and okay. They just need to sleep it off. You need to come to the clinic and pick up some Yomesan tablets for the tapeworms. It will be a little more expensive, but it will work. Most of the tapeworms we see around here come from the flea. The flea larvae eat the tapeworm eggs, and the dog eats the fleas.”

“I don’t think my dogs have fleas,” Jeremy said.

“Jeremy, I have been in the valley long enough to know that all dogs have fleas around here,” I said. “You sound like some of the old ladies I see. In the summer, all these dogs will have fleas unless you are treating them every few days.”

“I guess you’re right. I know when I put flea collars on them a couple of years ago, they had more problems scratching the butts than they did without the collars,” Jeremy said.

“Yes, that little cloud of protection that the flea collar gives off is about three feet behind these active dogs,” I said. “They do a good job around the head and neck, and all the fleas live back on the dog’s rear end.”

“Okay, I’ll change their water and watch them,” Jeremy said. “Do I need to do anything other than come pick up some pills for tapeworms.”

“That’s it,” I said. “These dogs should be improved by this evening. If they aren’t, or if any of them get worse, you give me a call. And don’t get in too big of a hurry to worm them for tapeworms. Let’s let their systems rest for a few days.”

Jeremy’s hounds were much improved by evening and entirely back to normal the following day. Jeremy came by the clinic, and I spent a few minutes discussing flea control in the Willamette Valley as it existed in the 1970s. And he picked up his supply of Yomasen tablets.

I talked with Stan at the feed store to make sure he cautioned folks to follow the medication label and call someone if they didn’t understand it.

Photo by Sandi Mager on Unsplash.

Published by d.e.larsen.dvm

Country vet for over 40 years in Sweet Home Oregon. I graduated from Colorado State University in 1975. I practiced in Enumclaw Washington for a year and a half before moving to Sweet Home to start a practice.

3 thoughts on “Drunken Hounds 

  1. “I talked with Stan at the feed store to make sure he cautioned folks to follow the medication label and call someone if they didn’t understand it.”
    And it is things like this that make you a country vet, firmly embedded in his community rather than some city vet who does not look beyond his clinic doors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very astute observation. From day one in Sweet Home, we made it our mission to embed ourselves in the community. We read the paper and kept tract of our clients and their families. We involved ourselves in the schools, I was on the school board for 6+ years. I joined the Rotary Club, the Elks Club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In Stan’s case, I ate lunch with him at Rotary, so talking with him was easy. Things have changed today, maybe it is because the profession is more urban, but you are accurate in vets not looking beyond the clinic door.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, and I did not want to diss the city vets – they simply cannot keep contact to all the families, there is no Stan from the Feed Store, they might even have heard the “None of your business, Doc” line once too often. They are just a different kind of veterinarian.

        Liked by 1 person

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