Vet Care

We have many animals as you might have read on earlier posts. One of our dogs Taubi has a very odd skin condition. My vet calls it the “Michael Jackson disease”. Where Taubi only a couple of years ago was a beautiful brown and black Akita, he is now 95% white. His nose has gone from black to pink and his eyes have even changed colors from dark brown to blue. He also has a thyroid condition and a skin condition that we can’t seem to get control of.
If we were in the states, we would not be able to care for Taubi because of the expense involved. Fortunately, we live in Costa Rica where the vet care is not only excellent but also affordable.

Our vet comes to the house to either treat Taubi here or to take him to the clinic and treat him there then if he takes him, he returns him at the end of the day and for a FRACTION of the cost that it would back home.

This last visit, Taubi went to the clinic for a couple of skin biopsy’s(requiring stitches), was seen by a pathologist along with our regular vet. It will take 2 weeks to get back the results from the biopsy so we still don’t know what is causing the skin issues with him.  This is our 3rd round of tests for him.  This time they did it a little different so hopefully we will have a clearer picture of the problems that he is having very soon.
For all of this and enough medicine to choke a horse, we will get out for around $200.00. You can truly afford to take care of your pets here without breaking the bank in Costa Rica by very good vets.


Moving pets

In the summer you often have a pet embargo from May to September with several of the airlines. The will refuse to ship pets due to the extreme heat thus an embargo is put in place. Continental airlines will still ship during this time because your pet is never left outside in the extreme heat. With Continental airlines the pet is transported from the airplane to the terminal in air conditioned vehicles so they are not exposed to the heat for any length of time.

Winter transport can be very tricky too because the airlines will not accept a pet if the temperature is going to be under 32 degrees at any point of their travel. This makes it rather difficult to get dogs/cats to the northern states during the winter months. As in the summer we have to watch the extended forecasts and hope for a heat wave.

If you live in the US you can get a pet acclimation certificate from your veterinarian showing that your pet can withstand temperatures to 22 degrees.  This is not an option when living in Costa Rica as the vets here will not issue the pet acclimation certification.  Most have not even heard of it.  Think about it, why would they need to living in this perfect climate year round.


Birds Into CR

Not many people learn of the Ministry of the Atmosphere and Energy or the MINAE unless they are bringing a bird or want to know something about the National Parks and Wildlife of Costa Rica.  The only reason I know anything about this entity is because I have a bird that is on the endangered species list so I have tried to familiarize myself with their organization.

Now I help other people with birds get them into Costa Rica.  It is not an easy process and requires approval from the MINAE to bring the birds in.  If you are leaving you need their permission to take your bird out of the country as well. All of this is in the form of a CITES permit. You also need a CITES permit from the US government but they are a little more regimented in the way they do things so that part is easy compared to Costa Rica procedures.

At the present time Costa Rica is not allowing any birds to enter the country because of the bird flu.  The way that they handle this is to turn off their fax machine and not return emails when you are making a request.  If you know who to contact (fortunately I do) you can get current information on the status of this latest problem.  I’ve been told it will be a couple of months before they allow birds in again.  We will see.


They are so smart!

I recently read a story of a very remarkable dog that I wanted to share. This is about a Rottweiler dog assigned to a woman afflicted with epilepsy, and was trained to sense changes in her master’s body to alert the master about a coming seizure. On one particular night, the dog would not allow her master to go to sleep, and kept the woman awake by walking around in circles on the bed. Unable to sleep, the woman went to the kitchen to get water when she suddenly had a seizure and fell, hitting her head on the cupboard. The dog, seeing that her master was lying on the floor, first got the cordless telephone and put it in the woman’s hands. After realizing that her master was unconscious, the dog pressed the phone’s speed dial for 911 with her nose, and promptly started barking into the receiver. The operator who received the unusual call fortunately decided to trace it anyway and sent an emergency team to the address. If that wasn’t unbelievable enough, the dog then unlocked the door and went to lie down next to her master until the paramedics came. The woman was brought to the hospital and was successfully revived, and she came out fine with only a small bump on her forehead. Every day she thanks her “guardian angel,” the Rottweiler, for saving her life.


Costa Rica National Bird

The “Yigüirro” (Turdus grayi), also known as the clay colored robin or gray thrush, was designated National Bird on November, 1976. The “Yigüirro,” found throughout Costa Rica, represents the fertility of the earth, the symbol of the rain fertilizing the earth, the richness of Costa Rican soil. The “Yigüirro” sings to claim rain since it generally sings at the beginning of the rainy season and mate during that season. The nesting season takes place between April and May. During this time, the “Yigüirro” does not sing and lays from two to three eggs. The “Yigüirro,” a friendly and peaceful bird, is not afraid of humans, however, it protects its brood.


Veterinary care

We have outstanding veterinarians in Costa Rica.  But note that anyone can call themselves a vet so you have to be careful that your vet is actually a vet and not just someone that has hung up a sign that has no license.

Our vet Juan Carlos with Pet Cafe I believe to be one of the best in the San Jose area. He cares so much for the animals and it shows, he’s not superficial at all. Juan Carlos has several clinics and rotates throughout the week.  In one of his clinic’s, in Belen, they serve all types of coffee treats for the owners while the pet is in with the vet.
Today I went to see Juan Carlos for health certificates for 2 dogs going to Moscow, Russia for a fraction of what the cost would be in the US.  While you get excellent care, the prices are excellent as well.  Very reasonable!!!


Animals, animals and more animals

We have 7 pets which would make us what you call animal lovers. Two Akita’s, Ti and Taubi. Taubi weighs right at 150 lbs and looks more like a big bear than a dog but he is also sick. He has what our vet calls Michael Jackson skin disease where he is turning white from brown, he also has thyroid problems so is on daily medication. He is truly a big teddy bear is as gentle and sweet as they come, you wouldn’t know it from his size. He can be quite intimidating.
Ti (Taubi’s mother) is considerably smaller than Taubi at only 90 lbs and agile like a fox. She leaps over fences and anything trying to hold her in looking more like a horse on an agility course than a dog. We recently put up a 2 meter fence around our back yard only to find her trying to climb over it. Fortunately she fell (didn’t get hurt) and hasn’t tried again YET.

We also have 2 small dogs, Julie and Louie Vuitton. Louie’s name is bigger than he is as he is only a 4 lb chihuahua but runs around and over Taubi like he truly is the biggest dog in the house. He rules the house with his little size and BIG personality.

Julie has several problems, mainly with what we call the boombas. During certain times of the year, fireworks is an everyday thing and she goes balistic and has to be medicated. Once we get past the boomba season, we get into the rainy season and she has the same neurosis for thunder and actually starts going nuts before we even know the rain is coming. It’s very sad that some dogs have this problem here, we suppose it is because of their acute hearing and it hurts their ears and simply scares them to death.

Next we have Estrella (star in Spanish) who is a himilayan/persian a truly big beautiful cat. Estrella can’t drink water out of a water dish but waits for me to hold her glass at a certain angle so that she can drink out of my water glass. Sometimes she settles for water out of the tap but still prefers the water out of my glass to anything else.

Chelsea is just a big kitten. She is part maine coon and completely mad. She attacks you in your sleep and Lord help you if you move your feet in the night and she’s around because she will attack. We have seen her carrying off clothes, shoes, toys and other things to nowhere in particular, she just likes to drag things around but it’s a riot to watch because most things that she drags are bigger than she is.

Lastly we have Maxine. Maxine is a Senegal Parrot and such a sweetheart. She (who we really think is a he) doesn’t talk but will whistle at you on occasion. She loves to sit on your shoulder and play with your hair. Since she doesn’t have a mate, she tries to mate with anyone that spends time with her. She’s a dirty little bird.

We have a houseful and they make us crazy at times but they also bring us a lot of joy. We recently had someone come to our house that doesn’t like animals….they didn’t stay very long. I can’t understand that…


Shipping pets in the summer

Shipping your pets in the summer can be tricky because of all the heat embargo’s.  From May – September many airlines will not fly live animals due to the extreme heat. If temperatures are above 85 degrees at any stopover or desination, the airlines WILL NOT take the animals when it comes time to check in.  So check with your airlines the morning you fly to see if the temps are going to exceed that 85 mark before heading out to the airport with your pets.