IMG_3598

Lesson Learned

I have a husband and three kids.  I often grumble and complain about them but I would find it hard to survive if I lost any of them.  They make my life complete.

I also have two dogs.  Louis and Jayda.  I often grumble and complain about them but I would find it hard to survive if I lost either of them. They too, make my life complete.

Our pets bring us so much joy and are a massively important part of our family.  But I didn’t realise just how much until a couple of months ago , when we nearly lost our girl, Jayda.

Living in Cairns, Far North Queensland is a tropical paradise but it also has a hidden danger lurking in the grass, in the foilage, in the trees.

Ticks.

To be precise, paralysis ticks.

And a couple of months ago precious girl Jayda picked up a couple of paralysis ticks and could very easily have died.

Every two weeks we give our Canine “kids” an application of Frontline Plus or Advantix.  It protects Dogs from Fleas for a month or from Ticks for two weeks.  In order for the dog to remain completely protected from Ticks,  the medication must be applied on the skin behind the neck on the same day every two weeks.

But money has been a little tight.

And we got a little complacent.

Before I knew it, the dogs were more than 2 weeks overdue for their tick treatment.

My hubby had taken the dogs for a walk and let them have a run off lead through some bush land. Later that night as we watched TV we found a tick on the outside of Jayda’s fur.  My hubby then checked both Louis and Jayda over thoroughly for any more ticks and he couldn’t find any more. She seemed fine so we felt lucky that we had escaped so lightly.

With this near miss, I planned to get the tick medication the next day. Unfortunately it was the Saturday I was rostered to work a half day, so my hubby had to stay home with the kids, and Mr J had a birthday party to go to, so I had to drop him off on my way to work, and pick him up from the party after I finished.

After I picked up Mr J I got a phone call from my Mum to say that they were on their way to visit – so I stopped in at the Pet Shop to get the Advantix and stopped off at the cheescake shop so that we to pick up some afternoon tea.

When I got home, my husband said to me, “Jayda’s acting strange, she’s been off her food and she doesn’t seem like herself”.

“Do you think she has another tick?” I asked.

“I have checked her and checked her and I can’t find any” he said.  “She looks ok but she just seems a bit off”.

I tried to see what he meant but she was so excited that I had arrived home and she was really happy so it was hard to tell.  Then Mum and my Stepdad arrived.

I put the tick medication on her and then made a pot of tea. We were halfway through a cup of tea and a piece of cake when it my hubby noticed that she was starting to breathe with sighs and although she was able to walk she did seem a little weaker in her back legs.

“I think she may have a tick”, I said. “You’d better call the Vet and see if we can bring her down to get her check out”.  The Vet said to bring her down straight away, so Mum and my stepdad finished their cup of tea and cut their visit short so that we could go.  We got the kids in the car and left for the Vets straight away.

Jayda really, really hates going in the car, and even though it only takes 10 minutes to get to the Vets from our house, she became very stressed.  My husband nursed her on his lap to try to keep her calm but as her anxiety rose, her breathing became worse and worse.  We later found out that this is one of the things that the tick posion does to their bodies.

We got to the Vet and after waiting for about 10 minutes, it was Jayda’s turn to get checked.

After less than a minute of searching the Vet found the paralysis tick on the side of her neck.  My husband was beside himself because he had checked her over so thoroughly but he had not been able to find it.

The Vet explained to us that Paralysis ticks don’t feel like a ‘bump’ on your pets body like cattle ticks do. They burrow into the skin and the skin raises up around the tick so it feels like a slightly raised area. So you need to rub the skin underneath their fur gently with your fingers to try to find an area that is slightly raised and possibly sore when you touch it.  Spread the fur and you will feel / see that it is raised and very inflamed.

We were told that Jayda would need to stay at the Vets.  He would rinse her with Fido’s Tick Wash and begin her treatment.

We thought we would be in for a bill of a couple of hundred dollars – an injection of anti-venom and everything would be ok.

We were wrong.

The toxin doesn’t just paralyze the dogs legs.  It affects their nervous system and affects their ability to breathe.  It affects the function of their lungs.  They cannot separate water from the air and begin to drown. They need to be kept quiet and calm and they need to be closely monitored.

We found out that steps involved in the treatment of tick paralysis usually are:

  • Sedation
  • Removal of all ticks and repeated searches
  • Administration of anti-tick serum
  • Cage rest
  • Monitoring of bladder function.
  • Other treatments such as fluids, oxygen, suction etc.

We had to make an upfront payment of half the expected bill.  My jaw dropped to the floor when I they told me the estimated bill was going to be 800 dollars.  It could be more, it could be a little less.

I was in tears.  We only had just over $400 combined in our bank accounts – so it it cost us almost every last cent that we had before they could begin the treatment. We would have to find some way to pay the other half when we picked her up.  I phoned Mum from the Vets in a blubbering mess – luckily for me she agreed to lend me the money for the remainder of Vet bill when Jayda was ready to be picked up.

Some dogs do not recover from paralysis ticks.

We consider ourselves to be very lucky.

Jayda recovered well and I was able to pick her up after a couple of days.

But she had to be kept calm for two weeks, which meant I had to take her to work with me so she wouldn’t run around and get excited.

We have learned our lesson.

We won’t be letting the tick medication lapse again.

We also have fido’s rinse on hand.

Each second friday night we bathe the dogs in fidos rinse, before applying the tick medication on Sunday night or Monday morning.  Fido’s rinse will kill any ticks on contact and prevent reattachment for up to 3 days.

It was an expensive lesson yes – but the worst part was thinking that we could lose our precious Jayda – not knowing whether we would be bringing her home.

We feel very lucky to still have her in our lives.

Please Note – This is NOT a sponsored post.  I decided to post this because it is one of the worst tick seasons there has been and I hope that my experience can help one person prevent paralysis ticks from affecting their pets.

Building a home

We have never owned our own home.

About three years ago, we decided that it was time to get a home if our own – but we weren’t ready financially. So we moved into a cheaper smaller rental property – one that really is too small for our family – in order to save money.

Unfortunately, the rental market in Cairns is very tight – so our rent has risen. We are almost paying as much in rent now as we did before we left our previous rental property.

The plan was to save money for a deposit and pay off a chunk of our credit card debt so that we can refinance the debt into a personal loan – and then get a loan for a house.

But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. We haven’t saved any money and the credit card debt remains the same. There just always seems to be some kind of bill or expense that comes along that erodes our savings.

Just over a year ago, it was our car. It broke down. We spent a fair amount of money to get it fixed enough to drive – but it had a lot more work that needed to be done. Being a Kia Rio, it was also too small for our family. Miss O was very squished between the boys two booster seats.

So we felt like the safest option was to upgrade the car. So we sold the Rio at a bargain basement price, and opted to get a novated lease for a new car through my husbands work.

We wanted something with a lot if space, but also something that would be fuel efficient, easy and comfortable to drive. We also didn’t want to put too much pressure on our budget – so it had to be a really good price.

After much careful consideration, we chose an X-Trail 2 Wheel drive. It was great quality for the money, and ticked all of the boxes we required.

Getting the X-Trail has been wonderful for our family. We have made a real effort to get out and enjoy the beauty that Cairns and the surrounding regions have to offer.

However, we have not made any headway towards getting a new home. Despite being great value for money, a lot of our budget goes towards the car lease. Factor in the rent we pay each week and childcare and after school care and even though my husband and I both work full time it seems like each week we are living hand to mouth, juggling the credit cards, the electricity and phone bills and groceries.

I work so hard juggling all of these to try to maintain a good credit rating so we will be able to get a house loan in the future that it is exhausting! I feel like the bad guy, being the one that says “No, we can’t afford it” all the time.

But last weekend we decided it is time to get serious. It is time to knuckle down and do what we can to make owning our own home a reality.

For those of us who rent, we all imagine and dream of the day we will own our own home.

But just what does that dream look like? What does it feel like? Is it a new house, or is it an old house? Big or small? What colour? How many rooms?

How would you feel if you could see it, touch it, feel it, stand inside it right now?

So my husband and I decided to go check out some display homes.

We were hoping that this would inspire us and motivate us.

Almost every single display home that we looked at was gorgeous – and most of the salespeople were really nice and had lots if helpful tips.

We *think* that we have found perfect design for out first home. It is functional and modest but it feels spacious and will suit the needs of our family perfectly. Compared to where we are right now it would be luxury! But the best thing is – we think that it is affordable enough to be in our reach sooner than we expected.

The kids are all excited too. They wanted to move into the display home! We had to explain that’s not exactly the way it works.

So right now it is all systems go. We are on the same page and we are looking forward to the dream of owning our own home.

Building a home is a big deal. There are so many things to organise. The land, the finance, all the nitty gritty details need to be planned and thought through.

But we have a dream.

Our dream can become our reality.

We will make sure it does.

20121006-201319.jpg

In our family the kitchen is usually the hubster’s domain but I can see myself cooking lots in this kitchen.

20121006-201404.jpg

Spacious Yet Functional Lounge Area

20121006-201433.jpg

Dining Room! This will be a first!

Thankful Thursday: The Little Things

Well, at a glance it would look like I don’t have much to be thankful for this week.

I have been unwell on and off with a sore throat / dizzy spells / aches and pains / nausea bug for the better part of 10 days now.

But I am lucky. And I have plenty to be thankful for.

I have been unwell but I have still been well enough to go to work each day.

I am lucky enough to work in a great environment with good people.

My job is mostly computer based, so I don’t have to struggle through doing anything overtly physical when I feel unwell.

I have made it through each day.

Although I have virtually fallen into bed as soon I have arrived home from work each night, I have been extremely lucky to have a wonderful husband who has picked up the slack with the kids while I have hibernated under the covers.

20120802-201058.jpg

A wonderful husband who cooks Masterchef worthy meals almost every night.

20120802-201002.jpg

I have hardly done any exercise for the last 10 days. Despite this, I was weighed last night by my exercise physiologist and I was pleased to learn I only gained 400 grams. I was also pleased to find out that despite the slight weight gain, but I actually managed to lose fat mass and gain muscle mass.

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful surroundings everyday. I can drive for 20 minutes to be in the middle of nature’s beauty.

20120802-200555.jpg

My kids do me proud every day. Sure they have their naughty moments, but these moments are far outweighed by the awesome moments.

20120802-201245.jpg
Hugs.

20120802-201356.jpg

Love.

20120802-201157.jpg

Smiles.

20120802-201311.jpg

Laughter.

20120802-204418.jpg

The little things.

The things that help you get through the day when you are not feeling the best.

These are the things I am thankful for today.

Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday. Head over to Kate’s Link Up and see what everyone else is thankful for this week.

20120802-201215.jpg

The Lice Wars

You’ve started scratching your head already haven’t you?

They’re back.

Again.

Nits.

Head Lice.

Whatever you want to call them.

Those nasty little blighters.

Intent on destroying the night of leisure that I had planned.

Nope. No leisure for me tonight.

Thank God I just cracked open that bottle of white.

Tonight, I am afraid, will be spent washing my daughters hair with the stinky stuff.

The stuff that kills those inconsiderate little buggers.

Tonight will be spent running the fine tooth comb through my daughter’s thick head of hair.

Tonight will be spent washing the sheets, the towels and the pillowcases.

Tonight will be spent checking my boys hair, washing their hair with the stinky stuff, and running the fine tooth comb through their hair too.

Not exactly the kind of friday night that I had planned.

I have had enough.

I am declaring war on these nunicks.

Right here, right now.

Its on.

I also thought I might post something funny about lice, so I could link up with Tropical Mum for Friday Funny.  And just so I don’t lose my mind.

So here is Beavis and Butthead for your amusement.  If only I could go to these extremes.

But I am not sure my kids would appreciate being electrocuted.