Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Les vaccinations annuelles

Munson @ Vet

Being in a new country, with potentially new creeping biting things, I visited a veterinary clinic in Montrejeau to get Munson some jabs, and have his status recorded officially in his pet passport. Southern France, Spain and Italy – like Australia - are noted for the presence of the mosquito-spread heartworms. In Australia it’s common for dogs to get an annual preventative shot for these parasites, although other monthly tablets are available.

I checked at a pharmacy first  - in France they carry veterinary medicines – but none of the vermifuges indicated on the box which worms they countered. After querying treatments for les vers qui attaquent le coeur and getting blank looks from the assistant, the pharmacist advised me to see a vet.

When I dropped by the clinic to make an appointment (which I got for half an hour later), I asked about les vaccins pour les vers qui attaquent le coeur and got more uncomprehending looks. This time I was prepared, and had looked up the scientific name Dirofilariasis along with some names of drugs, and copied them to my phone’s notepad. I showed this to the nurse/receptionist and she grunted recognition.

The vet spoke a little English, but we “met in the middle”- I try to use as much French as possible, even if he asks me something in English. In advance of situations like these, I try to rehearse my questions and look up anticipated vocabulary in advance. My observation though is that your “conversational partners” only try to help you out if they have some experience of learning another language, at least by speaking slowly and using simpler vocabulary. I’ve written elsewhere here over the years of my experiences being shouted at in rapid fire speech by people who misguidedly think this will repair my faltering attempts at their tongue. It’s not just monolingual English speakers who do this!

In any case, Munson had a couple of needles, although after I left I realised that I hadn’t established the effective duration of the heartworm protection given. I’ve got three little stickers in his passport (Pneumodog: for bordetella and kennel cough; Eurican CHPPI2 + L: for distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, hepatitis, parainfluenza, adenovirus) but nothing corresponding to a dirofilariasis preventative. Brent’s suggested I talk to a local dog breeder about the recommended treatments as I’m not just thinking about Munson’s exposure in this region, but also further afield when we do a bit of travelling to other countries.

On a more upbeat note, I had an unexpected surprise while waiting for the vet’s attention. We were sitting alone in the waiting room and a couple entered with their two dogs (whose eyes popped at seeing Munson). Munson decided to give a little woo-woo-woo lecture and the woman asked what he was saying. As I fumbled over my reply, she asked “Are you English?”

- Nope, Australian.

Eyes rolled toward her companion. “He lived in Australia for thirty years”.

So, when Munson’s appointment was over, we re-entered the waiting room (now full – great timing on my part) and spoke to Gerard for a piece, who still has four grown children living in Adelaide.

1 comment:

  1. Always amazes me how small the world is if you just listen. I was sitting in a small sandwich shop in my little town (population 600, though the tourists can swell that number greatly). The couple behind me were talking and clearly Australian. In chatting with them, I discovered they lived in Adelaide not far from a place I had worked on a project for a while. We talked for quite a while and they were stunned to run into someone half way around the world who knew of places in their hometown.

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