Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is stranger than a camel in a minivan?

Well, I was going to share the story of my drive home from the tournament this weekend. Most of the drive was pretty boring freeway driving, except for one memorable purple minivan with a camel riding in it. Yes, a full grown camel. It was laying in the back of the van, taking up the whole length of it, with its head and neck sticking into the front. It looked at me as a drove past. Had my passenger in the car not seen the same exact thing, I would've pulled over then and there to get some sleep.

However, this morning's events have surpassed the camel in the minivan. Maybe not to the world at large, but to me.

I went for a morning run (really, jogging/walking, but a run sounds so much more active) with a friend of mine and the dogs. We were just jogging along when I spotted a coyote off to the side of the path. I went to leash up the dogs when Koira caught sight of the coyote and took off after it. I called her (or screamed at her, one or the other) and when she turned to come back, the coyote took chase after my dog.

I thought I saw contact on their way back to me, but wasn't sure. Koira reached me, was leashed up, Pallo was leashed up, and I examined Koira's rear end for any bite marks. Since the coyote was out in daylight and showed no signs of fear towards me (it only ran once Koira started chasing), I had a vague fear of rabies or distemper.

I didn't find any bite marks on Koira until after we got home, when I found I welt on the side of her hip. It had broken the skin a little. Not really any worse than some scraps from the dog park or playing with Pallo, but with the risk of infection from a coyote, I cleaned the area with soap and water (as per my vet's instructions) and put in a call to the local Animal Control and Fish and Wildlife.

The good news is that, from the behavior described and a previous similar report (chased dog, no bite, that happened last week) Fish and Wildlife believes it is a female coyote guarding pups or a den, rather than a sick animal. Also, they were able to let me know that the nearest rabies outbreak is in Josephine County in Southern Oregon, about a 5 hour drive away, giving us locally a very low risk. Distemper is in this area in raccoons, but since Koira is current on her distemper vaccine, they told me not to worry.

After spending all morning on the phone with my vet, Fish and Wildlife, and Animal Control (who told me to call F&W, they don't deal with wild animals), seems like Koira should be just fine. They have not asked me to do a quarantine, but I plan to keep the dogs in for the rest of the day in case when their staff vet comes in they change their mind. And, I think coyote bite is a good reason to miss flyball practice tonight.

All in all, it was a dramatic, worrisome episode, but unlikely to have any lasting effect. I will follow advice from online in that I will keep Koira under observation for the next 45 day, making especially careful note of any symptoms of distemper or rabies (neurological symptoms especially, and things such as aggression, aversion to light, aversion to water, etc). I am unlikely to see any such symptoms.

This is why I make sure my dog's have current rabies vaccines. Over-vaccination undoubtedly is a problem in today's animal world. I know over vaccinating can cause problems. But, some vaccines are so important, I would rather be safe than sorry. All it would take is one fluke incident like this to happen in an area with a hint of a rabies outbreak for my dog to be seized and destroyed.

Oh yeah, and Happy Cinco De Mayo. Hope all of yours goes smoother than mine.


  1. Sounds like a very scary moment with the coyote.

    Fortunately the UK is rabies free and the nearest wild animals to coyotes we have are just foxes !

  2. How scary! :(

    A female guarding a den does seem like the best explanation. We get them out here, too, acting just the way yours did to keep folks away from their pups - fearless toward people and chasing dogs. Poor Koira. :(

  3. Scary doesn't even describe what I was feeling I think.

    Luckily it appears that no quarantine is required, so while I will be keeping an eye on Koira, she should be just fine.

    Thank you guys with the support.

  4. Camels and coyotes! Oh my!!

    So glad that Koira is none the worse for her experience.

    Love and licks, Winnie xx