He lay there alone on the side of the human health clinic in the remote Peruvian town of Mazan. The clinic operated as the medical and surgical treatment facility for Amazon Cares for the day, so I got an up close and personal look at the poor pooch.
He was an intact male of undetermined age, yet his extremely poor condition makes him appear like an elderly canine. His head and body were virtually free of hair, but for a few remaining tufts of white fuzz. The hairless areas were crusted and thickened like an elephant, hence my name for him being Elephant Dog (Elephante Perro).
As so many of the other dogs having this appearance are afflicted with mange, I suspect Elephant Dog was also infested with the skin chewing mites. Additionally, the chronic inflammation caused by mange increases the likelihood of bacteria and yeast infection. So, Elephant Dog’s skin condition is likely due to a combination of factors, including infection, dietary insufficiency, environmental exposure to irritants, and other factors.
A group of Amazon Cares volunteers set out to net Elephant Dog and address his problems at our clinic. His surprising vigor and large breed dog status made it exceedingly difficult to safely bring him back to our mobile clinic. So, Elephant Dog was given ectoparasite treatment with fipronil (Frontline) and released.
No master could be found to claim Elephant Dog, so we were unable to garner the participation of a pet caretaker to assist us with the general information collection, history taking, and other parts of the treatment process.
Amazon Cares will be back again in Mazan on subsequent veterinary visits, so Elephant Dog will have the opportunity to have his health issues addressed if he cooperates in the captivity process. Otherwise, I hope that someone will feed him and provide him care so that Elephant Dog will lead a better quality of life.
Please help Amazon Cares continue to make grounds in enhancing the health of dogs and cats in Peru by making a tax deductible donation to their cause. As I am donating my time, experience, and labor to Amazon Cares, the other organization will benefit from your generosity and publicity.
Thank you to i Love Dogs premium canine supplements for your premiere sponsorship of our vets abroad trip into the Amazon Jungle in the name of animal welfare.
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Copyright of this article (2011) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.