Above (l-r): These little ones have been named Comet and Vixen by the animal workers working to save their lives. Below: Tuesday, Tamara Cisek of Lockwood Valley found another dead puppy that looks as if it is from the same litter, by the side of the road.
By Donna Gillesby, Ventura County Animal Control
Two little puppies, Comet and Vixen, are snuggled in their beds, doing what puppies do best— looking cute.
Comet and Vixen are the names Ventura County Animal Regulation employees gave to the surviving mixed pitbull terrier puppies that were rescued from Los Padres National Forest areas on November 30.
Residents found pups from the abandoned litter split between forest roads in Lockwood Valley and the Tecuya Ridge areas. Mario Cedillo of Frazier Park has been charged with felony animal cruelty.
Comet is white with freckles and a black spot surrounding his left eye. Vixen is white with a large black “beauty mark” on her right cheek. Officials believe the litter originally contained eight puppies.
Two pups died before they were delivered to the County’s veterinary hospital in Camarillo. Upon their arrival veterinarian Dr. Craig Koerner and four assistants immediately went into action to save the rest. They found that in addition to hypothermia, the puppies were undernourished and had a viral gastroenteritis.
As IV fluids and antibiotics were administered, everyone involved knew the next 48 hours would be crucial. At the end of that time, four more puppies expired. It was during these first days that staff who provided around the clock nursing named each puppy after Santa’s reindeer.
Now the hospital’s focus is on making sure Comet and Vixen get well. The puppies, who don’t understand all the fuss, are lapping up the attention and eating everything that’s put in front on them. They were showing signs of full recovery until Monday, then were put back into intensive care for the infection.
This story is a reminder that pet ownership is a serious responsibility. Pet owners need to understand the consequences of not spaying and neutering their pets. Newborn puppies are susceptible to a variety of parasites and infectious organisms including Canine Parvovirus, Distemper and Canine Hepatitis.
They need special care and, when weaned, proper nutrition and immunizations to ensure healthy growth.
Caring for a litter can also be expensive. During these economic times, recouping these costs through selling the puppies isn’t practical. The county animal shelter is populated by backyard accidents that people aren’t able to sell or give away. But there’s always room for one more when the need is there.
Animal owners who cannot find homes for their pet’s unexpected litter can call the Mountain Communities SPCA (661 245-3035). For the health of the puppies, they should first be weaned, or at least five weeks old before removing them from their mother. Spay and neuter information is also available.
Remember: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s less expensive in the long run to spay or neuter pets than to care for a litter. Low cost clinics are available for those needing financial assistance. And licensing an altered dog is more economical than licensing an unaltered one. In Ventura County, altered dog licenses cost $20 a year, as opposed to $75 for an unaltered dog. The same holds true in Kern County.
Most pets can be spayed or neutered when they are between two and five months old—before they are sexually mature. Older pets can be fixed as long as they’re in good health and not overweight. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best time for your pet’s operation.
Being a responsible pet owner includes both ensuring that your animal is healthy and well supervised.
When you make the decision to spay or neuter, you are not only helping your pet, you are helping to reduce the number of animals that end up like Comet, Vixen and their siblings —abandoned and forgotten in the cold.
This is part of the December 18, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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