Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's the deal with Camicide?

Camicide has been a bird owner's best friend for years. An insecticide that is safe to use around birds AND effective, it is the number one selling insecticide in the bird industry. I personally LOVE this stuff because it works! Being in Texas, controlling insects is a constant battle. Spraying insecticides around the outside of our home is not a problem, but inside we have to be very careful. Anyone who lives here knows Texas bugs are immune to just about everything. You can practically bathe them in natural "herbal" insecticide products and they walk away unscathed! A spray or two with Camicide knocks them out cold.

Now the problem. Camicide is nowhere to be found at the moment. I think I bought the last gallon in existence a few weeks ago from a poultry supplier. I paid a pretty penny for it too. What's the deal?

There is a worldwide shortage of pyrethrin, the active ingredient in Camicide. Pyrethrin is a natural insecticide made from the Chrysanthemum flower. Kenya is the primary supplier of pyrethrin and problems in that country have affected the global supply. Actually there have been problems with the supply on and off for about four years now. This is why in the past, Camicide would be temporarily unavailable only to come back on the market a few months later. This year, the shortage is really bad. Many companies that produce horse fly sprays, etc. have gone to using alternative substitutions to pyrethrin to meet customer demand for pest control. Unfortunately for bird people, our options are limited.

Some people confuse Pyrethrin and Permethrin which is a fatal mistake. Permethrin is a synthetic insecticide which is not safe to use around birds (nor cats).

I have recently ordered Mango Control spray to see if that would work as a viable alternative to Camicide. I read online that it contained pyrethrum (pyrethrin). I ordered it, thinking it might work similar to Camicide. I admit, I was wondering how they had this stuff in light of the shortgage, but went ahead and ordered it.

But when I received it, the ingredients read as follows: ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Sodium lauryl sulfate 1.50%, cinnamon oil .50%, cedar oil .20%, clove oil .20%, other ingredients (water, citric acid, bentonite) 97.60%. So it looks like they changed their formulation to a "natural" product in light of the pyrethrin shortgage. Retail sellers and distributors of this product really need to change their information to reflect this. I was very disappointed when I read the label.

The product smells nice, kind of minty. I haven't had the chance to use it yet, but as soon as I do, I will write a review on this product and let you know whether or not it worked for me.

Meanwhile, if you know where there is some Camicide let me know!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Our beloved dog of a little over 15 years had to be put to rest last week. He had developed some serious health issues due to old age and then, cancer. Although it broke our hearts it was time to say goodbye. He  was absolutely the best dog one could have. I remember when we got him like it was yesterday. my husband had lost his previous dog (due to old age) and mentioned to a friend of his he would like to have a german shorthair pointer. Next thing we knew, a puppy (about eight weeks old) was waiting for us at the airport. My husband's friend  flew him to us from out of state.  

He was gorgeous, a white body with a brown head. Very unusual markings for this breed. And of course full of energy as these dogs are known for. He was also a natural pointer. He would freeze in place and point and look just like the dogs in those hunting pictures. One funny story we remember was when he was a puppy. He was in the living room and froze "on point" intently pointing at something on the carpet. When we looked closer, it was a fly! That just cracked us up.

We spent a lot of time with him, teaching him all the skills a hunting dog needs. It took about two years to completely train him. He also learned all the basic good dog manners and obedience commands. Just to tease my husband, I taught his "hunting dog" some cute tricks like roll over, sit pretty (sit up on his haunches), shake hands, etc.

We had a park near our house and we would take him there twice a day to let him loose so he could run. He was trained by then, so we had no qualms about letting him off leash. It was a sight to see watching those long legs stretch out and run! He LOVED it! People driving by would stop to watch him. He was beautiful.

He was very friendly to people and dogs alike. He also loved kids. Everyone in the neighborhood knew and loved Walker. He had many human and dog friends.

He gradually slowed down over the years as we all do. About two years ago, his hips got bad. With the help from good joint supplements and my vet, we did a good job keeping him comfortable. Then a few months ago, I started noticing blood drops here and there on the floor. I could not figure out where they were coming from. I would check all the dogs, and nothing. Then, one day he had a full out nosebleed. Mystery solved.

Unfortunately, it was cancer. Over the next few months he was put on medication to keep him comfortable and control the nose bleeds. We were very careful with the meds, only giving what was absolutely needed. The cancer moved very quickly. When his health began to deteriorate, our vet let us know we were on borrowed time.

I took him in to have the vet check him again as overall, he was not doing well. He was also very weak in the hind end and started falling more. When he would fall, I would prop him back up on his feet, give him a hug and tell him he was the best dog in the world. I loved him so much.

The vet took one look at him and then looked at me. Anyone who has been through this knows "the look". It was time. He has put to rest while I stroked his head and let him know we loved him. It was so peaceful and dignified.

Our vet, and his staff, were so compassionate throughout our dog's final months. I am fortunate to have had such a wonderful vet clinic to work with.

I wrote this blog because I know many of you have been through this before and understand. He was not "just a dog", he was a part of our family. Our animals have such a profound impact on our lives. They give us so much love, that when they pass on, they leave a hole the size of the grand canyon in our hearts. It's the inevitable price we pay when we share our lives with these amazing creatures. Is it worth the pain?  You betcha.