Thursday, July 30, 2009

Computer Parts have arrived

Huzzah! the computer stuff arrived earlier this week. That includes an enormous 1TB external hard drive, and a new laptop for me. So Nora will now be able to make room on her computer for new photos. And posting in general will be less of a pain in the neck for me, so you're likely to see me pick up the pace.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Still no photos

Stupid computer shipping people! I still have not gotten my external hard drive which will allow me to post photos to the website. I am really sorry about this, as I would like to show some photos of the work I have been doing to the house, and of the people and animals I have met at ARNO. I am hopeful that I will be able to post pictures soon, and in the meantime, here is a short update on what I have been doing recently.

On the house:
A veritable flurry of painting has been undertaken here at Chez Hodag, and many rooms are looking brighter and cleaner than before this summer. I have been helped immensely in my painting endeavors by Erin (our friend and summer roommate). She has helped me to paint the upstairs bathroom, and while we were in California seeing Sean and Alex graduate from high school, she painted the dining room all by herself. All the touch ups I wanted to do for the downstairs and upstairs hallways have been completed. Now Erin and I will tackle painting the trim in the downstairs rooms, which seem to have been painted in three different, non matching shades of white. In other indoor decorating news, today I painted a couple of accent chairs that will be used in the dining room. Future plans for the dining room include recovering the dining chair cushions. Other big projects this week include meeting with a salesman to purchase shutters to prevent hurricane damage, and scheduling a time to have the brick stilts our house sits on tuck pointed.

At the animal shelter:
I have almost completed the survey of dog poo (yay!). So far, most dogs have been free of parasitic infections, which is excellent news. Unfortunately, in the meantime, 71/76 kittens in the shelter have managed to get Ringworm. Victoria (an amazing 16 year old volunteer who has worked at ARNO since hurricane Katrina) and I have begun an aggressive twice weekly lime sulfur dipping campaign to treat the infected kittens. We have also added an additional cage cleaning step for the contaminated cages, adding a 20% bleach water wash step after we clean cages with Trifectant. It is amazing what a degree in parasitology allows you to do, I have been diagnosing upper respiratory infections, parasites in poo, and now, I get to shove kittens into a cold, smelly fungal dip. While this probably does not sound fun to you all, I am really impressed with unexpected practical skills my degree has given me.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Hooks and whips and tapeworms, oh my!

So this Sunday I spent a lot of time looking at dog poo. Beth, the other volunteer parasitologist at ARNO had decided that it was past time to run a basic fecal on all of the dogs in the shelter. Usually, we give priority to animals who appear to be suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms, or who are new to us at ARNO. With our limited resources, managing these animals takes up most of our time, so we rarely check for parasites in animals who lack obvious symptoms. The problem with this is that we miss infections which are easily transmitted to other animals and can cause subtle health problems. (Riddle me this, how can a dog tell you it is suffering from hookworm anemia?) So, just to make sure that the dogs were all as healthy as can be, Beth and I checked out about two dozen shelter mutts. It was a good thing we did, since we found a fair number of nasty parasites once we started looking. One dog had whipworm, several had tapeworms, some had hookworms, and a couple had roundworms. One especially unlucky dog named Paris had three different parasitic infections (hookworm, tapeworm and roundworm). Hopefuly, we will be able to complete a survey of all of the dogs in the next few weeks.

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