J.E.E.P. ~ Jaltemba Equine Education Project

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Positive changes for these helpless animals will only happen with education!

Education ... Where do we start?? 

J.E.E.P. (Jaltemba Equine Education Project) is all about education for our local young men and women. Educating them in the proper handling, care and maintenance of horses, as well as dogs, puppies, cats and kittens so they will be able to share and pass on this knowledge with future generations. These young men and women are called our Junior Trainers! 

J.E.E.P. boards and cares for the original and other rescue horses at the Hilltop Refugio ... and our Junior Trainers play an important part in their care and maintenance, as well as the care and maintenance of our rescue dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. We couldn't do it without all their help!

 Other projects have included different Apprenticeship Programs over the years ... and more to come in the future. The possibilities are endless with the education and drive of our future generations! 

We invite you to get involved and help with our many projects for our local youth!! Do you have a skill you can teach them? If so ... we could use volunteers like you! And we also invite you to get involved with our rescues! 

This page is basically dedicated to sharing some of the knowledge we have learned over they past many years ... particularly our biggest enemy of dogs .... Ehrlichia ... a tick borne disease that kills them. 

We will continue to add information to this page.


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 Ehrlichia in dogs is common in Mexico and found worldwide. It is transmitted by ticks and can remain alive in the developing tick for up to 5 months.  Approximately 80% of all street dogs have Ehrlichia ... and will eventually die from the disease if not treated ... because they have no protection from ticks that carry the disease. It's just as easy for dogs with owners to contract Ehrlichia and die. PLEASE keep your pet protected. We recommend Bravecto which is a small cookie that dogs love and it protects them for 3 full months from fleas and ticks. 

It only takes one tick to infect a dog with Ehrlichia!  

Ehrlichia can have 3 phases: signs of the acute phase of the disease usually develop 1-3 weeks after the bite from an infected tick. The acute phase of the disease generally lasts 2-4 weeks where the Ehrlichia enters white blood cells and reproduce inside of them. In addition to the blood, these cells are found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and bone marrow. Platelets, the small cell fragments the help blood to clot, are often destroyed, as well. As a result of the infection, the lymph nodes, liver and spleen are often enlarged. Anemia, fever, depression, lethargy, loss of appetite and shortness of breath, joint pain and stiffness, and bruises are often seen. Many healthy dogs are able to fight off the infection . . . or they enter the sub-clinical phase

In the sub-clinical phase the animal may appear normal and show only slight anemia. During this phase the Ehrlichia lives inside the spleen. This phase can last for month or years, depending on the health of the dog. Ultimately the dog either eliminates the Ehrlichia from the body or the infection may progress to the chronic phase.

The chronic phase can be either mild or severe. Weight loss, anemia, neurological signs, bleeding, inflammation of the eye, edema (fluid accumulation) in the hind legs and fever may be seen. Blood tests show that one or all of the different blood cell types are decreased. One cell type, the lymphocyte, may increase and be abnormal in appearance. This can sometimes be confused with certain types of Leukemia. If a dog becomes chronically infected . . . meaning the disease can keep coming back . . . especially during periods of stress. In some cases arthritis or a kidney disease called ‘glomerulonephritis’ may develop.

A decrease in the number of platelets (platelets help blood clot) in the blood is the most common laboratory finding in all phases of the disease. Changes in the protein levels in the blood are common. 

Ehrlichia is diagnosed based on the typical clinical signs and results of special blood tests. Two blood tests that detect the dog’s antibodies (proteins produced to fight off the infection) to Ehrlichia are 1) Indirect Immunofluorescent Antibody (IFA) and 2) is an ELISA test. A veterinarian cannot rely solely on these tests to make a diagnosis. The antibodies may not be detected in the early phases of the disease since it takes some time for the body to make them. Also, if a dog is extremely ill, he may not be able to produce enough antibodies to be accurately detected. A positive test shows that the dog has been exposed to Ehrlichia, bit not that he necessarily is currently infected. In the acute stage of the disease, the antibody level will rise significantly. 

The antibodies can last for one or more years after the infection, but they do not make the dog immune to Ehrlichia . . . the dog can get re-infected.

How is Ehrlichia Treated?

The antibiotics . . . doxycycline or tetracycline are used. The medication must be given for 29 days, even though the dog’s symptoms generally improve after several days of meds. Some dogs will need blood transfusions or intravenous fluids depending on the severity of the disease. Generally the prognosis during the acute phase is good if the animal is properly treated. Dogs who go on to the chronic phase have a poorer prognosis. German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers tend to have a more severe chrocic form of the disease. 

The drug . . . imidocarb dipropionate . . . is sometimes used in conjunction with the antibiotics and given as an injection..

How can I prevent Ehrlichia in my Pet?

Tick control is the main way to prevent Ehrlichia. In our area in the jungle Bravecto has been proven to be the most effect form of repelling fleas and ticks. It is a small cookie that dogs love and it protects them from fleas and ticks for a full 3 months! Great product . . . and you can buy it from most vets. 

There is no vaccine for Ehrlicia. 

Can People get Ehrlichia?

 Yes. The common symptoms in people include fever, chills, headache and muscle aches. People do NOT get infected directly from a dog . . . only through a tick bite.  

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Distemper is a viral, extremely contagious and usually fatal disease transmitted through infected feces, urine OR respiratory secretions. Puppies between 3-6 months of age and non-vaccinated adult dogs are the most susceptible.

Symptoms begin in less than 1 week after becoming infected. Fever, depression, poor appetite, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, eye and nasal discharge may progress to neurological disturbances such as aggressiveness, loss of motor skills, disorientation or paralysis. Secondary infections such as pneumonia and intestinal inflammation may develop. 

Diagnosis is done by lab tests. Since there are no anti-viral drugs, symptoms are treated with antibiotics, anti-diarrhea meds and IV fluids. 

Prevention of Distemper is by vaccination.


Parvovirus is a viral disease of dogs. It affects puppies much more frequently than it affects adult dogs. The virus is likely to grow in rapidly dividing cells. The intestinal lining has the biggest concentration of rapidly dividing cells in a puppy’s body. The virus attacks and kills these cells causing diarrhea (often bloody), depression and suppression of white blood cells . . . which come from another group of rapidly dividing cells. In very young puppies it can infect the heart muscle and lead to “sudden” death.

“Parvo” is a virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system. It causes dogs and puppies to not be able to absorb nutrients or liquids. Puppies are especially susceptible to Parvo because they have an immature immune system. When dogs and puppies contract Parvo they often have diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. Usually they stop eating and develop a bloody, foul-smelling, liquid stool. 

Symptoms usually begin with a high fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite. Secondary symptoms appear as severe gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and bloody diarrhea. In many cases dehydration, shock and death follows. 

Parvovirus Vaccination

Parvo is probably the most common viral illness in dogs at the present time. It can be very hard to successfully vaccinate a puppy for this disease because the antibody protection the puppy acquires from its mother can interfere with the vaccination. 

Many vets recommend vaccinating puppies every 3-4 weeks for this virus starting at 6 weeks of age . . . and continuing until they are at least 16 weeks of age . . . and preferably 20 weeks of age. It is possible that this vaccine confers lifelong immunity once it does work, but most vets continue to recommend yearly vaccinations for Parvo. This is a very serious disease. Some puppies infected with Parvo will die despite prompt and adequate treatment.

Canine Parvovirus is carried by other dogs. Adult dogs may be infected carriers without showing any clinical signs. Dogs with the typical diarrhea (fecal material) that Parvo causes contaminate the environment which can last up to 9 months or longer in the dirt, in a yard, in the street . . . or wherever that dog excreted his feces !!!

Dogs and puppies can contract Parvo even if they never leave their yard. Parvo . . . despite what you might hear . . . is not an airborne virus. It is excreted in the feces of infected dogs and if someone . . . human, dog, bird, etc . . . steps in (or otherwise comes in contact with) the excrement, the possibility for contamination is great. Extremely hardy . . . disinfectants cannot kill the virus . . . however chlorine bleach is the most effective and inexpensive agent that works and is commonly used by veterinarians. 

The ease with which infection with Parvo can occur in any unvaccinated dog must be stressed. Parvo can be brought to your dog on shoes, hand or even car tires. It can live for many months outside the animal !! Any area thought to be contaminated with Parvo should be thoroughly washed with chlorine bleach diluted 1 ounce per quart of water.

Generally is take 7-10 days from the time of exposure for dogs and puppies to start showing symptoms and to test positive for Parvo. Dogs that have survived Parvo can get it again. In the case of some puppies, a puppy testing negative for Parvo one day could succumb to the virus within a matter of days. It strikes fast and without mercy!

How is Parvo Treated?

Without intense treatment the victims of Parvo die of dehydration. Treatment generally consists of IV or sub-cutaneous fluids and antibiotics. There is no cure! Vets can only treat the symptoms to try to keep the dog alive by preventing dehydration and loss of proteins. As there is no cure for any virus, treatment for Parvo is most likely that of supporting the different systems in the body during the course of the disease. This includes giving fluids, regulating electrolyte levels, controlling body temperature and giving blood transfusions when necessary. 

Rest assured that Parvo is specific to dogs alone and cannot be transmitted to humans or other pets of a different species such as cats. 

What is Giardia in Dogs & Cats ?

 Giardia is a highly contagious parasite that lives in the intestines of dogs and cats. It infects other animals and people through feces-contaminated water and environment (streams, puddles, streets, etc) where is can survive for months. There may be no symptoms although signs include diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue. 

Diagnosis is by stool samples. Often there feces will have a red, jelly-type appearance.

Treatment may involve anti-parasitic drugs and a vaccine for prevention.

What is Mange in Dogs & Cats ?

Mange is a highly contagious, parasitic skin infestation of mites. There are many different types of mange . . . some contagious and some not contagious. Depending on the type of mites, they can infect dogs, cats, humans and other animals. 

Mites burrow into the skin and lay their eggs and are spread by direct contact only. Symptoms of mange include scratching (which can lead to secondary infections), discomfort, loss of fur in dogs and cats, sores, inflammation and bleeding of the skin. 

Diagnosis of Mange is based on clinical signs combined with microscopic examination of skin scrapings. 

Bravecto . . . used for flea & tick prevention . . . is a very good treatment for Mange! Other treatments may involve bathing is an anti-parasitic shampoo, anti-parasitic drugs and/or antibiotics for secondary infections. Prevent mange by avoiding affected animals and having a hygienic living environment for animals. 

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