The Mange Epidemic!
So this is what mange looks like, it is a skin disease that is caused by parasitic mites that live beneath the skin's surface. Dogs with malnourishment are especially victim to this type of disease, and it is literally all around the lake on nearly every street dog you find. This is because they are underfed, without having proper vitamins and minerals in their body they are particular weak to this type of thing.
I'll use Scabby as an example.
This is Scabby before he was treated for his mange:
And this is Scabby after 6 weeks of daily medicine, and healthy cooked food, 100% healed:
This is a solvable problem, but part of the regiment is eating right and getting lots of vitamins with their food as well as their antibiotics. Recently we had a veterinarian from Vetitlan come to Tzununa specifically to show me how to tackle this epidemic and to sell us a large amount of medicine that are from your donations turned directly into healing tools for our dogs here.
Nexgard (parasitic pest control), Cefalong (antibiotics), Vitamins (for general skin/fur health), and a shampoo called Clorexivet Plus (to ease itching, disinfectant and discomfort). These medicines in a specific arrangement for certain amounts of days/amounts depending on the weight of the dog can totally heal mange. Scabby had a near-identical regiment 6 months ago and has never had a resurgence, since then only giving him good food with occasional vitamins. Now check out me and a volunteer giving this medicine to the black dog originally pictured at the top:
You can see this big boy was VERY hungry, we also brought them food:
The next part of our story is a sad one. I am very, very sorry to say that the dog Pono that we first posted a picture with mange, and helped source this medicine for and brought the vets to see, has passed. We brought him on to the dog sanctuary, as the very first from outside, but he escaped, and we did a search for him and found him passed away not that far from where we last saw him. This was very heartbreaking for us, as he was the primary reason we asked the vets to come, but also to help us get as much of this medicine as possible for the other dogs. There were 3 specific mange dogs we had in the rounds on this day, and he had passed before we were able to give him the first dose of the proper prescription. I will share a video of him the last day we saw him, to show what condition he was in, and this breaks my heart to tell you but it's important that you are aware. This is not an easy job, and this was the hardest moment I ever had to face doing this so far when we came and found him.
But we will NOT let Pono's sacrifice be in vain, as the medicine that we got for him has now already been distributed to two other dogs with local families who asked us for help with their own dogs with mange. It also shows us that the fencing is not foolproof, we found where he got out, and will be asking volunteers to help us reinforce it and have a plan of how to seal up the spacings that Pono dug under, as well as everywhere else. This will be before we bring ANY more dogs onto the land, as we cannot risk this happening again.
These are the people that helped us bring Pono onto the land, who first took them into their home but was asked to remove him because he was a risk to the other dogs living there. So we tried to see if he would live on our land, which originally I did not want to do before we had people living here, but we had to try. He had nowhere else to go. Here's his doghouse and our volunteers:
And here is the grave we made for Pono, as we had to bury him and brought him to a space that was good for this. R.I.P. Pono, you are loved, and will be our greatest lesson in this experience to prevent yours from happening to any other dogs. This is how important it is we can develop the land here to make it more habitable, safe, and so that people can cohabitate with the dogs.
Pono, the word, means respect in Hawaiian, and we will respect Pono's life greatly by providing the best medicine and constant care to all other dogs involved with Perros Libres, and to do whatever we can to not let this happen again.
What did we learn??
One: our sanctuary is not ready to host more dogs. We will have to continue helping them in the street, until we can make our volunteer house so people can be here constantly with any dogs we bring onto the land. This will be probably in a GoFundMe, which you'll be hearing more about as we get it ready. It will be the biggest fundraiser yet, because we tried to use the land as-is but it's unfortunately just not ready. The fundraiser will allow us to build a proper and nice home for at least 3 volunteers to live on the land with the dogs we bring on, as well as dog houses and places for them to stay with their own shelter.
In the meantime...
We will be providing updates on the other mange dogs we are treating, so you can see their improvement and further use of how your donations will be going to work. Look forward to seeing the progression of these other dogs with owners, as we are tackling this Mange epidemic with full-force as we want all the dogs to heal here. Love is action, and that is what we will be doing. Libertad por los perros.