WHAT are inside puppies? Milk puppy food biscuits cat food string slippers branches grass leaves plastic bone paper shell flowers worms.
Except for the last, I have seen the enumerated disappear inside the maws of the K-pups (from “kinit-an [meaning “abandoned” in Sugbuanon]”) these past seven weeks we have been quarantined at home.
Early on, the husband and I woke to our responsibilities as guardians, not just goggle-eyed fans, of the puppies. Rem, of the corkscrew tail, skipped dinner. Ordinarily leading in mischief, she was napping before bedtime.
When she suddenly retched, I found the vomitus had spiral shapes, which unwinded into long strings we later identified as roundworms.
Roundworms may be transmitted from the mother to her pup during pregnancy or through her milk. Exposure to contaminated soil or feces is another way.
The K-pups were born and slept on open ground before they were brought to us. I also found dog ticks larvae and eggs, which I call hitchhikers but for which my late father reserved his saltiest insult: vampires. Ticks can go for a year without eating, questing for a host to jump into and freeload.
Growing up with dogs and cats, I know how to pick a tick, making sure the head does not detach and leaves the mouth buried under the skin to cause more harm.
However, worms are beyond my ken. While animals infected with parasites are best treated by professionals, under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), there is no open vet clinic in the neighborhood.
So we follow online advice. We place a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of the puppies’ and the cats’ drinking water. We mince and mix carrots and garlic with puppy food and milk.
According to dogsnaturallymagazine.com, holistic veterinarian Patricia Jordan DVM cites everyday foods that are natural, gentle remedies for parasites.
Raw garlic in small amounts treats worms and ticks. Fruit and vegetable fiber helps animals (and humans) move their waste more efficiently (roundworms thrive in small intestines). Apple cider vinegar in water creates a “more alkaline digestive system” that parasites detest.
The husband sewed cotton ribbons into herbal tick collars, spraying these with apple cider vinegar and essential oils like peppermint and citronella.
Nearing their ninth week, the K-pups’ skin and coat are clean of ticks. On the next full moon, I am checking their poop for spaghetti-like roundworms or rice-like grains (broken-off parts of tapeworms).
According to Jordan, parasites shed their eggs the most when the moon is full. My new nighttime occupation may add to the urban myth about the crazy cat (and dog) woman in our street. Love sure is K-razy.