Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A matter of hope: lab results tomorrow to determine ill street dog’s fate

Bloody lesions on Agapi. (Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris)

by Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

Tomorrow will be a big day for Agapi, although he doesn’t know it.

I know it. I know it so well that I would find it hard to sleep tonight if I weren’t so exhausted by taking care of him.

Tomorrow we’ll get a call from Dr. Amanda Mikeleti, our wonderful veterinarian here on the Greek island of Kefalonia, regarding how much of a murderous parasite he has in his bony body. She drew the blood sample on Friday and sent it to the big lab in Athens for testing.

It’s not a question of whether or not Agapi is a host for that killer. His symptoms are classic—the sparse fur, the grotesque lesions around the eyes and on the legs and paws, the rapid and twisted growth of the nails, and the low weight. We’re just waiting to find out how much of it has invaded him.

Gory lesions on legs and long, twisted nails: classic Leishmaniasis symptoms (Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris)

If it’s too much for medication to combat successfully, we might need to euthanize him.

If it’s a lower amount, and indications are that the medication has a good chance, we might go for it, do our best to cure him, then pray that we can find him a loving family.


It’s funny that I can write this so matter-of-factly, because I’m not feeling very matter-of-fact.  I’m feeling very matter-of-worry. And matter-of-sad. And matter-of-mad. At the fact that this dog was allowed to plummet into this misery, as are so many other dogs, not just here in Greece, but around the world, including in my beloved U.S. of A.

If they don't get Leishmaniasis, which is what Agapi’s deadly parasite is called, then they get distemper or parvo or sarcoptic mange or starvation or poisoning or an 18-wheeler or some psychopath with a meat cleaver or... you name it.  I don’t know how any street dogs manage to survive as long as they do.


On the bright side, Dr. Amanda says that she doubts Agapi could have organ damage yet—another charming effect of Leishmaniasis—because if his kidneys or liver were in trouble he’d exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and perhaps lethargy.

Since we're so far so good on all those scores, there’s reason for optimism.   

So I’m hereby adjusting my attitude as I get ready for bed tonight. I’ve decided to be matter-of-hope.

More about Agapi:

Please visit The Dozen Dogs Diaries again soon for upcoming articles about Agapi.

Better yet, sign in with the 'Join this blog' button above to receive an email notice whenever there's a new article.

Read Melissa Beamish's excellent blog about her round-the-world trip volunteering in animal shelters, including a month at Kefalonia's.

To donate or to volunteer on behalf of animals in Kefalonia, contact Animal Rescue Kefalonia (ARK) and Kefalonia Animal Trust (KATs).

The Dozen Dog Diaries (DDD) would be delighted if you'd spread the links to these articles. Please just keep in mind that reprint or re-post of more than a paragraph or two of the text or of any of the photos is allowable only by explicit permission from DDD, who may be contacted at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom. Thanks for visiting!

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