Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oh, it just keeps getting #@*%ing better

Toby has fleas.

Which means our house is infested with eggs.

That will hatch in about four weeks.

Right around my due date.


Lamaze breath in ... Lamaze breath out ...

Over the past week or so, we had noticed that Toby was digging furiously at his backside. He would spin in panicked circles trying to get to the area right above his tail. At first, we didn't think anything of it. Then it became more frequent. Then it got to the point that we couldn't stop him from "tossing his own salad" (as Jerry so lovingly put it), so I called the vet.

We took him in yesterday afternoon, explaining the problem. As the nurse shoved a thermometer up Toby's butt, she said she noticed a few fleas and guessed that was the problem. Then she ran a fine-toothed comb through his fur and there they were.

I wanted to die. I felt like a negligent dog owner. Who suddenly had the intense urge to dry heave.

When the doctor came in, the words coming out of his mouth kept getting worse and worse: Eggs. Infestation. All plush surfaces. Must treat animal and environment.

My head was spinning and I felt itchy all over just thinking about it. Must. Not. Vomit.

Fortunately, he was calm and understanding and spent almost an hour with us devising a plan of attack. He gave us a few canisters of concentrated "leave the house immediately" flea bombs and a less-intense aerosol version to spray in the hard-to-reach corners before setting off the other ones.

Then he placed a topical treatment on Toby that will kill their source of food over four weeks and make the fleas unable to reproduce, inevitably leading to their not-soon-enough demise.

But I guess I should be grateful that someone somewhere has spent enough time researching this sort of thing to invent a little liquid gel that, when placed on a small spot on an animal's back, renders the flea reproductive system useless. If you ask me, that's Nobel Prize material.

So, Jerry and I retreated home feeling utterly guilty, carrying a hefty vet bill and bag full of substance that promised a flea annihilation.

Then, even though I had just spent the last two days laundering everything in our damn house, we piled all of the sheets, blankets, towels, absolutely everything in the baby's room and both of Toby's beds in the basement for another round. Because, thankfully, fleas and their eggs can't withstand even 30 minutes in the dryer.

We also closed all the windows and rearranged much the upstairs, placing all of the baby's other items in a closet that Toby rarely goes in. Downstairs, we piled the strollers and play yard in the kitchen where there aren't enough plush surfaces to warrant a ton of flea-killing attention.

Then I kissed Jerry goodbye, wishing him luck on his mission and left the house waiving to one very confused Toby who had been relegated to the yard.

After a two-hour lockdown, Jerry returned to the house to air everything out, opening all of the windows and turning on all the fans. It was safe to inhabit 30 minutes later, but I didn't get home from work until six hours after that.

Now, over the next few days, I have to stay away from Toby as much as possible until his topical treatment really sinks in and we can bathe him. In the meantime, I will be scrubbing this house from floor to ceiling, shoving everything into the washer and dryer that will fit and vacuuming the carpets until they're practically threadbare.

Then I'll do it again.

Nothing kicks nesting up a notch like a flea problem.


kristin said...

Oh that really sucks. But you're not a negligent dog owner. Sometimes you just can't help it. My parents dogs got fleas even when they were applying the treatment every month - you just have to miss one day for those things. Good luck! I'm sure everything will be fine. And extra clean :)

julie said...

Oh honey, that's so not fun. My parents' cat used to get fleas every summer (the joys of living in Webster where the soil is mostly sand!!) and I remember distinctly the smell of those flea bombs. Ugh. Though like Kristin said, sometimes you just can't help it. Here's hoping everything is flea free by November 10th.

the flea-less plainsman said...

Fleas! I gues they hitched a ride into your home with Toby from the outside. Mom had them at home once, but with indoor only cats, so they must have hitched a ride from the neighborhood outside only cat to our clothes to inside. Maybe science has not cured the common cold, but it can sure provide a way to get rid of fleas. The cooler weather will kill off the active ones outside too, but I guess some periodic treatmnet for Toby will now be in order.

Laura said...

Our dog got fleas last month, we treated the yard too to keep him from bringing them in again

kimiedawn said...

Yeah, I use that topical stuff on my dogs every month, and you can purchase it without going to the vet at like a Petco. So far it has worked great on my animals, and we live in the country. Just mark it on your calendar and re-apply it every month and it should take care of your problem. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, definitely no fun.

Hopefully everything will be back in order soon. And everything should be extra spotless by the time you're done :)

its_just_ang from Xanga said...

That sucks. At least you caught the problem now instead of when she gets here.

Pauline said...

We had the same problem this summer. It's absolutely not your fault, my vet told me this summer is the worst on record for fleas. Everywhere. I have to tell you, though... The gel stuff? Doesn't work that well. It works for a week or so, but the fleas always come back. At least in my experience. However, they make this pill the dog takes that not only kills the fleas but repels them. No shit. It works amazing. I can't think of the name right now, sorry!

Maria said...

I can't believe it!

Marina said...

Wow. I guess this puts the ding dong ditch problem into perspective, eh? ;)

Seriously, that sucks. I hope everything turns out okay. But given how conscientious you are, I'm sure you'll take care of it with no problem!

Jennifer said...

I'm not sure if this will work but I'm going to try and get a link youtube video in here that will make you feel better:

Check out this Baby Video Here. I promise it will make you smile and have you looking forward to your little one's arrival.

Kristin said...

Aw that's horrible...we've had fleas a few times in our house, and I know how you feel :P


Sarah said...

We give our dog a Capstar once a month, a topical flea treatment two days later, and then a bath in Dawn dish detergent about a week after that. Dawn actually stuns any leftover fleas so you can wash them down the drain. Works like a charm!

Good luck getting rid of the fleas. They are a pain. My dog is actually allergic to them, so it's double the fun!

Anonymous said...

Frontline is the only flea treatment that really works, IMO, recommended by out Vets, but now also available at Pet stores. Worth the extra money to keep the house and pets flealess.

Ray said...

Ohmygoodness! That's the last thing I know you want to deal with. I'm so sorry. But, I'm glad you found out soon enough so you can get the house,"flea free." Damn those fleas!

Take, care.