Ramblings From The Ranch – March 2022

Ramblings From The Ranch

By Christina Bennett

ranch march22


Puppies are fragile little creatures.  And even the best shelter isn’t an ideal environment for them. Without intervention, up to 30% of pups die.  The Ranch has faced an overload of puppies in the last few years, perhaps due to the COVID-caused reduction in spay/neuter clinics.  In 2021, The Ranch admitted 505 dogs, about half under the age of five months.  Sixty-two were between five weeks and two months of age.

Puppies who leave their mother before eight weeks are at a much greater risk of illness or death, as mom’s milk provides them the best nutrition and immunities.  When possible, The Ranch will only take puppies after this stage (and hopefully after they’ve received vaccinations!), but, unfortunately, many litters are dumped before they are ready to leave their moms.

Regardless of how long they are with their mothers, all of the puppies have parasites. Most are born with them as it’s very easy for the mother to pass them to the puppies before birth.  Parasites in pets are becoming stronger all over the world due to climate change and our area is hard hit by them. Puppies affected by parasites can go from looking perfectly healthy to death in a matter of hours.  The Ranch has had great success with proactive and innovative actions to reduce puppy mortality. This year, only eight puppies have been lost (out of over 250). 

What has The Ranch done to achieve this remarkable statistic?

Dr. Laura Medina Gomez visits The Ranch twice a week and has recommended several protocols. The puppies are de-wormed at the age of one month. Dr. Laura also tests one puppy from each litter weekly. The puppies are then treated with medicine for the specific type of parasite. Lately, the most virulent has been Giardia. While these treatments are quite effective, the strong medicines wreak havoc on the puppies’ tender digestive systems and kill the good bacteria. Enter another hero — goat yogurt! 

Dr. Laura and her husband operate the goat farm Galo de Allende, located near Mezcala. (You may know their artisan products from local markets.) The goat yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics and has greatly improved the health of our puppies. 

Dr. Laura says the word “probiotic” literally means “pro-life.” In addition to providing great nutrition, the goat yogurt contains live cultures of Lactobacillus. These good bacteria help the puppies to digest their food.  They also affect the pH levels of the gut, making it more difficult for parasites to survive.  Puppies who come to The Ranch too young to eat kibble are now fed with goat milk and goat yogurt instead of the formula available at veterinarians.  The goat milk is high in calcium and is a closer match to the dog-mama’s milk.  A wonderfully simple solution to an agonizing problem.

Along with this life-saving discovery these little fur-balls depend on friends like you!  Are you able to foster puppies? Or come to The Ranch to socialize them? Or donate to keep all the dogs, young and old alike, fed? 

Contact us at adoptaranchdog@outlook.com or donate through our website at Theranchchapala.com. 


March 2022 Issue

El Ojo del Lago – Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com


For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

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