A street dog dilemma
Laftrabuta is a boxer that came into the GAAP clinic last week with a flea allergy so severe that he had
scratched himself raw and was not eating anything. A simple problem with a simple solution…right?
Not always. Laftrabuta’s owners live in a coastal village of south-central Chile. They love their dog, but
are unable to keep him contained. He escapes all the time. While free, he socializes with the
neighbourhood dogs that are all free to roam as they please. Many of these have infectious diseases and unwanted passengers
(parasites), some of which are transmissible to people. Laftrabuta has been treated before for sarcoptic
mange and fleas, but every time he returns to the street and has close contact with other infected dogs,
he brings unwanted diseases and conditions home, potentially posing a risk to the owners. So the cycle
goes with uncontained pets and free-roaming dogs. What is the solution? It sounds so simple from the
perspective of North American minds, many of whom have grown up in the current culture of keeping
dogs indoors or at least in the yard. But here in Latin America, the common belief is that dogs are
happier socializing together, free to do as they please, rather than be tied up or fenced in alone all day
long, every day.
What do you think? Where does a society draw the line between animal health and
welfare, freedom to express their natural behaviours and protecting the public?
Let’s see how Laftrabuta does on his follow-up visit. We’re hoping he will gain some weight and find
some relief in the various treatments that Dr. Portillo sent home with him. Stay tuned!
Follow-up on Laftrabuta