Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q: When should I start my puppy’s vaccinations?
A: Vaccines are usually started at 6 to 8 weeks. A series of three vaccinations are given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age.
2. Q: When should my puppy be vaccinated for Rabies?
A. Puppies may receive rabies vaccination any time after 12 weeks of age. The first vaccination is good for one year of immunity, and after their first year a 3year rabies vaccine may be given.
3. Q. What vaccines should my dog receive?
A. Our recommendation for most dogs is the 7-way distemper, parvo, leptospirosis, adenovirus, hepatitis, corona virus vaccination and Rabies vaccine. Dogs that board at kennels or travel or contact other dogs frequently should also receive kennel cough vaccination. Other vaccines such as lymes disease are available for dogs at risk.
4. Q. When should I begin vaccinations on my kitten?
A. Vaccinations are usually started at 6 to 8 weeks. A series of three vaccinations are given at 8,12, and 16 weeks.
5. Q. What vaccinations should my cat receive?
A. Our recommendations are for indoor cats, the five-way combination upper respiratory and distemper vaccine (abbreviated FVRCP) and Rabies. For outdoor cats or cats exposed to other cats that go or have been outdoors, feline leukemia also.
6. Q. Should my cat be tested for feline leukemia and feline aids?
A. Yes, all cats should initially be tested for these two diseases so their status will be known before they are brought into the family. A negative test for either disease is usually satisfactory to tell that the cat does not have the disease. A positive test means exposure or, if the cat is less than twelve weeks old, may be from maternal antibodies. Further testing or evaluation of results is needed.
7. Q. At what age should my dog or cat be spayed ?
A. New information has brought into question the traditional answer of 6 months. Some studies have suggested waiting until the animal is fully grown, which usually means after their first heat period. Your veterinarian can discuss this with you regarding your individual circumstances.
8. Q. At what age should my dog or cat be neutered?
A. We recommend waiting to neuter until the animal is fully grown. Most dogs and cats will be mature between 8 months and 1 year. If the animal is aggressive or exhibits undesirable sexual behavior, earlier neutering may be warranted.
9. Q. Will my dog or cat gain weight after it is spayed or neutered?
A. The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen both play a role in metabolism, increasing energy metabolism slightly. Removing the ovaries and testicles removes the production of these and so the metabolic rate drops slightly leading to weight gain if the diet is not adjusted. If animals are neutered and spayed before puberty, this affect will not be noticed because the animals are still growing and the diet will be adjusted according to their rate of growth.
10. Q. What is involved in spaying a dog or cat?
A. The proper term for the procedure is ovariohysterectomy which means removal of the uterus and ovaries. These organs are located in the abdomen and so an incision is made near the umbilicus (navel) and the uterus and ovaries are removed. This renders the animal sterile. It is not similar to a woman having her “tubes” tied in that the dog or cat should not “cycle” or show signs of heat.
11. Q. What is involved in neutering a male dog or cat?
A. Neutering involves removing both testicles from the animal. This renders the pet sterile and should decrease or eliminate behaviors such as leg hiking or spraying, or male aggression. In dogs an incision is made in front of the scrotum and sutured closed after the testicles are removed. In cats, the scrotum is incised and the testicles removed but the incision is left open. This seals within a few days, and is done this way because the scrotum sits right below the rectum in a cat and is easily contaminated so is left open to allow drainage. The procedure is not like a vasectomy where the testicles are not removed and the ability to produce testosterone remains.
12. Q. When should I start worming my puppy/kitten?
A. We will start worming at the first exam but puppies and kittens as young as 3 weeks may need to be wormed.
13. Q. How often should I worm my dog/cat?
A. Puppies and kittens should be wormed at least 3 times 2 weeks apart starting at 4 to 8 weeks. Adult animals should be checked annually for worms. Some animals may need more frequent checks or wormings depending on their environment.
14. Q. How did my pet get worms?
A. Roundworms can be transmitted from the mother before birth through the placenta, in the milk at nursing, or from larva passed in the feces. Hookworms also may be transmitted through the milk to young pups or kittens. Hookworms are also spread by passing eggs in the feces which mature to larva that are ingested by another dog or cat to complete their life cycle. Hookworms may also spread by penetrating directly through the skin. Whipworms are spread directly from eggs passing in feces of an infected dog and being ingested by another dog. There are two types of tapeworms that are common to dogs and cats. One type uses the flea as an intermediate host and the other uses small rodents. Larva from the tapeworm encyst in the tissues of the intermediate host which is ingested by the dog or cat to complete its life cycle.
15. Q. Why should I have my dog or cats stool checked even if I worm it regularly?
A. Annual fecal exams are important because other parasites such as coccidia
and giardia may also infect pets and are not treated with wormers. Also to ensure that your worming program is working and no resistance has developed.
16. Q. What are heartworms and should my dog be treated for them?
A. Heartworms are a parasite of dogs and occasionally cats that are found in the right side of the pets heart. They are transmitted by mosquitoes which are a necessary step in transmission. An infected mosquito feeds on an uninfected dog or cat and larva are deposited into the skin where it migrates to the heart and matures after 4 to 5 months.
We see between 10 and 15 cases a year and recommend prevention with one of several monthly preventatives. Dogs must be tested before placed on the preventative to make sure they aren’t infected first. Heartworms can be fatal and treatment is expensive and can have risks involved.
17. Q. If heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, why should my indoor dog/cat be on prevention?
A. Even indoor pets have a risk for exposure. Mosquitoes can gain entrance into the house and seem to target pets once inside. One study of heartworm infected cats showed that 50% were strictly indoor animals.
18. Q. What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?
A. Symptoms can range from cough and exercise intolerance to sudden death. Some dogs show no outward signs of disease early in its course and so blood testing is important for diagnosis.
19. Q. What is the gestation of a dog?
A. Usually 63 days from breeding although wide variation exists from 56 to 68 days.
20. Q. What is the gestation of a cat?
A. Usually 63 days but can very from 59 to 68 days.
21. Q. What is the gestation of a ferret?
A. 42 days
22. Q. What is the gestation of a rabbit?
A. 30 to 35 days
23. Q. What is the length of heat in a dog? How often do they come into heat?
A. There are three phases of a dogs estrus or “heat” cycle. Proestrus begins when spotting of blood is first noticed and lasts from 4 to 10 days , estrus is the time in which the bitch is receptive to the male and is fertile and lasts another 4 to 7 days, diestrus is the period after ovulation has happened and lasts approximately 7 days. The total cycle length is usually 12 to21 days . To avoid pregnancy the bitch should be kept away from any male dogs from the onset of spotting and for about 3 to 4 weeks after that.
Dogs will generally have a heat cycle every 6 to 8 months with larger breeds usually showing less often than smaller breeds. Most breeds will have their first heat at 7 to 8 months, but giant breed dogs may be 18 months before their first heat.
24. Q. What is the length of heat in cats and how often will they show heat?
A. Cats are seasonally polyestrus with a induced ovulation. This means that they will cycle on and off during increasing and decreasing daylight periods (Spring and Fall ) until bred which causes them to ovulate. Their cycles are usually15 to 21 days in length . Most cats enter puberty about 6 months after birth but may go earlier if they are entering the Spring or Fall close to their puberty.
25. Q. How do I know if my cat is in heat?
A. Cats generally get very vocal during heat, will usually roll about on the floor and “present” their rear end up in the air toward you. A cat that is usually not very affectionate may seek your attention more and rub against your legs.
26. Q. I’ve heard that chocolate is toxic to pets. Is this true?
A. Yes, but the toxic dose depends on the amount ingested, the size of the dog, and the type of chocolate. Bakers chocolate is the most toxic. Milk chocolate takes a much higher dose to be toxic.
Signs of toxicity include nervousness, shaking, trembling leading to convulsions and death.
27. Q. What are some common household toxins that I should be aware of ?
A. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, antifreeze, macadamia nuts, rat poisons
28. Q. If my animal ingests a toxic substance, what should I do?
A. Contact our office or the SPCA poison control hotline. In most cases inducing vomiting within the first hour is helpful to eliminate the toxin. Vomiting can be induced by giving one to two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide by mouth. If it doesn’t work after ten minutes administer again at a higher dose.
29. Q. If my pet is itching, does this mean it has fleas?
A. Not necessarily. Pets that itch may have fleas, especially if they are allergic to flea saliva. Itching can also be a sign of other allergies, infection of the skin due to bacteria or yeast, chronic skin conditions such as seborrhea, or scabies. Fleas or their dirt can usually be seen in lightly haired areas such as the abdomen, or when giving a bath. Itching from flea allergies can be caused by as little as one bite every 2 to 3 days, so the fleas themselves may be hard to find.
1. Q. What do you recommend for processing incoming shipped cattle?
A. We recommend a vaccine for the respiratory complex, including the viruses IBR, PI3, BVD and BRSV, a clostridial vaccine, such as Ultrabac 7 or Vision 7, worming with an ivermectin pour-on such as Ivercide, and Ralgro implant. Other vaccinations that may be helpful are Hemophilus(which usually comes in combination with the clostridial vaccine) and Pasteurella.
2. Q. What vaccinations do you recommend for my cow /calf operation.
A. Cows should be vaccinated prebreeding with a vaccine containing the respiratory viruses IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV and Leptospirosis and Vibrio. A modified live vaccine such as Cattlemaster 4+VL5 if they have been previously vaccinated, or a killed vaccine such as Virashield if not. A clostridial vaccine such as Ultrabac7 or Vision7 is also recommended.
Heifers should be vaccinated similarly with a booster vaccination of both vaccines 4 to 6 weeks later and at least 2 weeks before breeding.
Calves should be vaccinated between 4 and 6 months of age with the respiratory viruses IBR,PI3,BVD,BRSV and the Clostridials such as Ultrabac7 or Vision7. Hemophilus and Pasteurella vaccines are also helpful and can be included in the program. A booster vaccination 4 to 6 weeks later is needed.
3. Q. When is the best time to worm my cattle?
A. Cattle are usually wormed two to three times a year, with the best times being in the Spring before turning out onto pasture, mid Summer when the pastures have their heaviest worm loads, and in the Fall as a preparation for winter.
Calves should be wormed after they are 200lbs of weight. A fecal exam of the herd should be done at least annually to ensure that the worming program is working.
4. Q. What is the gestation of a cow?
A. About 285 days with differences among breeds.
5. Q. When should I breed my heifer?
A. Heifers should be at least 750 lbs at breeding and at least a year of age.
6. Q. What is the earliest a heifer can get bred?
A. Some of the European breeds such as Herefords and Angus can be bred as early as 4 months of age. For this reason young heifers should be separated from bulls at weaning.
7. Q. What is the gestation of a sheep?
A. 144 to 151 days.
8. Q. What is the gestation of a goat?
A. 148 to 156 days.
9. Q. What is the gestation of a pig?
A. 114 days.
10. Q. How often should I worm my sheep/goats?
A. Because of a high rate of resistance to wormers, it is recommended to worm those animals that show signs of anemia only. A biannual fecal exam should be made to ensure the worming program is working. Each flock is different and it is best to consult our office to determine appropriate worming schedules.
11. Q. What vaccinations should I give my sheep/ goats?
A. A clostridium vaccine including tetanus is usually sufficient for most herds. Vaccinations should be started at weaning and a booster given in 3 to 4 weeks. Adults should be vaccinated annually.
12. Q. What is the gestation of a horse?
A. 330 to 345 days.
13. Q. What vaccinations should I give my horse?
A. We recommend a five-way vaccine consisting of influenza, rhinitis, tetanus, eastern and western encephalitis. We also recommend West Nile vaccination.
Other vaccines that may be considered are the EPM vaccine and Potomac Fever vaccination.
14. Q. When should I start vaccinating my foal?
A. Foals should be vaccinated starting at 4 to 6 months and a booster should be given in 3 to 6 weeks. Adult horses that have not been previously vaccinated should also receive two sets of vaccinations 3 to 6 weeks apart.
15. Q. How often should I worm my horse?
A. We recommend worming every 3 months. Annual fecal exams should be done to make sure your worming program is working.
16. Q. Should I rotate wormers?
A. It is generally recommended to rotate wormers to avoid resistance. A long rotation is generally better. This means using a different wormer every year not every worming.
Instructions for caring for your pets
Bandages and casts require special care and handling to ensure proper healing of wounds or fractures. Care should be taken to keep the bandage or cast clean and dry.
Confinement is usually necessary to ensure that the bandage or cast will remain in place and to protect it from moisture and soiling. For most pets this means cage confinement especially when unsupervised. Leash walking for elimination of
bowel movements and urinations. Bandages and casts of the extremities should be covered with a plastic bag when walking outside to ensure no moisture will enter the bandage.
Watch for chewing of casts and bandages. If your pet is chewing its bandage/cast a collar can be supplied to keep it from reaching the area. A bandage spray may also be used but are usually less effective.
Casts and Bandages of the legs should be monitored for signs of swelling. The toes will usually spread apart if the foot is swollen. Please notify the office if you notice any swelling.
Watch also for any seeping from the cast or bandage and for any unusual odor. Notify the office immediately if this is noticed.
If the cast or bandage slips lower on the leg or falls off completely, please notify the office immediately.
RETURN IN _____ DAYS FOR A RECHECK OF THE CAST/ BANDAGE
RETURN IN _____ DAYS FOR CAST / BANDAGE REMOVAL OR CHANGE
Your pet has undergone surgery and will experience some degree of trauma. The following will help answer the most common questions that arise after these operations. An animal’s pain threshold is much higher than a human’s; therefore, animals do not exhibit as much discomfort following surgery.
DO NOT ALLOW EXCESSIVE PLAYING, JUMPING OR RUNNING. THIS MAY DELAY THE NORMAL HEALING PROCESS.
Each animal recovers from anesthesia at a different rate. Some animals are back to mornal within 24 hours, while others may take as long as three to four days to recuperate. Your pet will not be discharged from the hospital if he or she is
unable to walk out; however some animals may still stagger slightly upon release. Your pet will recover from surgery faster if the convalescent time is spent at home. SPAYED DOGS AND CATS SHOULD BE CONFINED INDOORS AND NOT BATHED UNTIL THE INCISION IS HEALED.
DO NOT FEED YOUR PET FOR AT LEAST THREE HOURS AFTER RETURNING HOME, AND LIMIT WATER TO THREE TO FOUR
TABLESPOONS EVERY 20 MINUTES DURING THIS TIME.
CHECK THE INCISION AT LEAST ONCE DAILY.
* Animals will often lick at the site of the incision. This can be a result of itching from being closely shaven or irritation from the suture material. A belly band can be applied over the incision of females. A restraint collar can also be used if
* A small amount of hemorrhage, or swelling, will occasionally occur at the incision site. This occurs when blood pools under the skin. When the animal moves, a drop or two may discharge through the sutures. If bleeding is excessive or continues for more than 24 hours, please notify us.
* Occasionally a hard lump will appear at the site of the incision. This is often a reaction to the suture material or can be a result of blood pooling under the skin. If it gets noticeably larger, please call us.
* SPAY: SUTURES NEED TO BE REMOVED IN 2 WEEKS; PLEASE MAKE APPOINTMENT .
* NEUTER: SUTURES DO NOT NEED TO BE REMOVED, THEY WILL ABSORB.
Your pet has undergone surgery and will experience some degree of trauma. The following will help answer the most common questions that arise after these operations.
DO NOT ALLOW EXCESSIVE PLAYING, JUMPING OR RUNNING. THIS MAY DELAY THE NORMAL HEALING PROCESS.
Most animals feel some pain or discomfort after surgery, although their pain threshold is much higher than a human’s.
Use pain medications as prescribed, or if no pain medication was dispensed and you feel that your pet is in pain please
contact our office before administering any over the counter pain medications. DO NOT GIVE TYLENOL
(ACETAMINOPHEN) TO CATS AS IT IS TOXIC.
Each animal handles anesthesia differently. Some animals are back to normal within 24 hours, while others may take as long as three to four days to recuperate. Your pet will not be discharged if he or she is unable to walk unless special
arrangements have been made. Your pet will recover from surgery faster if the convalescent time is spent at home.
YOUR PET SHOULD BE CONFINED INDOORS AND NOT BATHED UNTIL THE INCISION IS HEALED.
DO NOT FEED YOUR PET FOR AT LEAST THREE HOURS AFTER RETURNING HOME, AND LIMIT WATER TO 1/4 CUP EVERY
TWENTY MINUTES DURING THIS TIME.
Anesthesia usually causes some degree of nausea, so feed your pet small portions for the first 24 hours after surgery. Ifyour pet does vomit, discontinue feeding for several hours before trying again.
NORMAL BOWEL FUNCTION MAY BE DELAYED FOR SEVERAL DAYS AFTER SURGERY.
If your pet hasn’t had a bowel movement but continues to eat, this is usually normal for up to three days post surgery. If straining is noted or appetite decreases, please notify our office.
CHECK THE INCISION AT LEAST ONCE DAILY.
* Animals will often lick at the site of the incision. This can be the result of itching from being closely shaven or irritation from the suture material. A bandage can be placed over some incisions or a restraining collar can also be used if needed.
* A small amount of hemorrhage or swelling will occasionally occur at the incision site. This occurs when blood pools under the skin. When the animal moves, a drop or two may discharge through the sutures. If bleeding is excessive or continues for more than 24 hours, please notify us.
* Occasionally a hard lump will appear at the site of the incision. This is often a reaction to the suture material or can be a result of blood pooling under the skin. If it gets noticeably larger, please call our office.
PLEASE BRING YOUR PET BACK IN _____ DAYS FOR SUTURE/STAPLE REMOVAL
GIVE A DOSE OF ___ PILL / CAPSULE / ML EVERY ___ HOURS FOR ___ DAYS UNTIL GONE.
GIVE A DOSE OF ___ PILL / CAPSULE / ML EVERY ___ HOURS FOR ___ DAYS UNTIL GONE.
Heartworm disease is a parasitic disease of dogs and sometimes cats that is caused by a large worm that resides in the right chamber of the heart.
Larva are transmitted from infected animals through the bite of a mosquito into a new host. The larva must pass through the mosquito to be infective to another host, so direct blood contact will not cause infection.
Once transmitted to the new host the larva migrate through the skin and tissues until they find their way to the heart where they mature. It takes five to six months for heartworms to go from larva to mature adults.
Typical infections in dogs can have 15 to 40 worms with some animals having much more. Cats will usually have only one or two worms, since they are not the normal host, but sudden death is common in cats with this amount of infection.
Heartworms cause a type of allergic reaction in the lungs and a right sided heart disease that is often fatal if left untreated.
Typical signs of heartworm infection are cough, exercise intolerance and sometimes sudden death.
There are several medications available to prevent heartworm infection and these work by killing the larva while they are within the skin. It is estimated that there is a 7 to 15 percent infection rate of untreated dogs in Indiana and we see
between ten and fifteen cases a year at our clinics. Cats generally have an incidence of ten percent of the dog infection rate and indoor cats have shown a similar incidence as outdoor cats in several studies.
Heartworm testing is recommended to discover if infection exists in your pet. A small blood test is taken in the office and a result is seen while you wait.
A positive result means that adult heartworms are present in your dog’s heart and should be treated. Further testing, including blood chemistry, complete blood count and radiographs (xrays) will be needed to determine the extent of
infection and the risk of treatment to your dog.
Treatment of your dog involves a two or three day hospital stay in which a drug is injected into the muscles of the back once daily for two days. Reactions may occur from dying worms and so close monitoring is needed during treatment.
RECOVERY AND FOLLOW UP
After treatment the heartworms may take several weeks to die and dissolve. Occasionally dead worms may detatch from the heart and form an embolism in the lungs. This may cause labored breathing and possibly death. Exertion can
cause worms to dislodge, and so confinement is necessary for four weeks after treatment. Medications will be sent home for inflammation associated with the death of the heartworms. A follow-up visit is required at four weeks to kill
the circulating larva and another visit at 3 months is necessary to test the dog to make sure all heartworms are eliminated.
Prevention of heartworm infection is key to your pet’s health. Several forms of prevention are available and can be discussed with our staff. The most common preventative we use is a monthly pill and has the added benefit of preventing the major intestinal parasites also. We recommend year-round prevention as we have experienced infections obtained during the winter months. Several days of temperatures in the fifties can bring out mosquitos. If you keep your
pet on year-round prevention, testing is recommended every third year. If you take your pet off of preventative during the winter months annual testing is required.
Cats pose a special problem in that testing is not always conclusive and only a few heartworms can kill a cat. If we suspect heartworms in your cat we will run several blood tests at a lab and also take x-rays. Treatment is aimed at the
symptoms of the disease and not at removing the worms because treatments to kill the heartworms will usually kill the cat. Heartworms do not live as long in cats as in dogs and will usually die within two years. Cats are kept on medications
during this time.
Vaccinations are an important part of your cat’s preventive health care. There are several serious diseases that are easily prevented by vaccination. We recommend a core series of vaccines and, depending on your cat’s environment and exposure, we may recommend other vaccines as well. Vaccinations are usually started at 6 to 8 weeks of age. A series of three vaccinations 3 to 4 weeks apart is given. The immunity that the kitten receives from its mother is variable depending on her vaccination history, exposure, and other factors such as age. This immunity usually starts to decrease between 6 to 12 weeks of age, but may block the effectiveness of vaccination. This is the reasoning behind the vaccination series. Your cat’s immune system will only develop a complete, long lasting immunity if there is at least two exposures to the vaccine that are not neutralized by the passive immunity received from the mother.
Feline panleukopenia, commonly known as feline distemper, is a very contagious viral disease. The disease causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration especially in kittens. Death is common and treatment is often difficult and unrewarding. Infected cats and kittens may carry the disease for up to six weeks.
FELINE VIRAL RHINOTRACHEITIS
Feline viral rhinotracheitis is a severe, highly contagious respiratory disease. The signs include fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, open mouthed breathing, coughing and salivation. Infected cats can become carriers for life. Pneumonia
is common following infection, especially in young kittens. Early vaccination is important.
Feline calicivirus is also an upper respiratory virus that is highly contagious and hard to distinguish clinically from rhinotracheitis. It can cause blisters and erosions on the tongue and lips and also causes fever, lethargy, and discharges
from the nose and mouth. Cats that recover will become carriers of the disease even though they may not show any signs.
Chlamydia is a bacterial disease of the respiratory tract and is highly contagious, especially in young kittens. Conjunctivitis of one or both eyes is the most frequent sign. Sneezing, salivation and coughing are also common.
Treatment with antibiotic ointments for the conjunctivitis, and oral antibiotics is required to cure the disease. Chronic shedding of the organism is possible even without signs of disease.
Rabies is a fatal viral disease of the nervous system with no treatment or cure. Exposure to an infected animal through a bite or saliva contacting an open wound results in the virus traveling up the nerve to the brain. The infection causes
signs ranging from aggression to stupor. Swallowing is decreased, so animals tend to slobber giving the classic mad dog appearance. All warm blooded animals are susceptible, including humans, so vaccination is very important. Cats are
twice as likely as dogs to be infected in endemic areas.
These vaccines are not part of our standard vaccine protocol, but may be recommended depending on your cat’s environment or exposure.
Feline Leukemia is a viral disease that is widespread and a leading cause of disease and death in cats. It can remain undetected in the body for years and can be transmitted by carrier cats. It affects the immune system making your cat
vulnerable to infection and less likely to respond to treatments. It also can cause leukemia or other cancers of the body.
Transmission is usually cat to cat through saliva or other body fluids. Testing is recommended of all cats and vaccination is recommended in cases where exposure to other cats is likely.
FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS
Feline immunodeficiency virus or feline aids is also a disease that affects the immune system. It also can remain undetected in the body for years and causes death by invading the immune system and allowing infectious agents to
penetrate the cat’s natural defenses. Signs are vague and most animals are presented as lethargic or just “sick”.
Gingivitis with mild amounts of tartar is common. Testing of all cats is recommended but vaccination is controversial because a vaccinated cat will test positive for FIV, making it difficult to differentiate a diseased cat from a vaccinated cat.
FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS
Feline Infectious Peritonitis or FIP is a viral disease of cats seen most often in young adults. The disease affects blood vessels and in one form allows seepage of fluid into body cavities. The dry form of the disease can affect many organs
including the eye and is harder to diagnose due to the often vague signs. The disease is fatal and no treatment is available. Testing is difficult and may indicate exposure to the virus but not disease. Vaccination is usually recommended
only for cats that are at high risk for exposure such as in a household where positive cats have been diagnosed.
The vaccines used in our practice have been thoroughly tested and proven safe and effective. Some cats, however, may have reactions to the vaccines. These are usually mild but may include pain and swelling at the site of injection; facial
swelling; hives; and vomiting. More severe reactions are very rare and usually occur immediately after injection to several hours post injection. These include difficult breathing and weakness or collapse. Cats may also develop a type of
cancer at their injection site called fibrosarcoma. Studies have shown the incidence to be about one in ten thousand cats. We have not seen this in our practice and research is ongoing as to the cause. For this reason, we only recommend the necessary vaccinations for your cat. If your cat should experience any reaction after vaccination, please notify ouroffice.
Vaccinations are an important part of your dog’s preventive health care. There are several serious diseases that are easily prevented by vaccination. We recommend a core series of vaccines and, depending on your pet’s environment and exposure, we may recommend other vaccines as well. Vaccinations are usually started at 6 to 8 weeks. A series of three vaccinations 3 to 4 weeks apart is given. The immunity that the puppy receives from its mother is variable depending on her vaccination history and other factors such as age. This immunity usually starts to decrease between 6 and 12 weeks of age, but may block the effect of vaccination. This is the reasoning behind the vaccination series. Your dog’s immune system will only develop a complete, long lasting immunity if there is at least two exposures to the vaccine that are not neutralized by the passive immunity received from the mother.
CORE VACCINATIONS DISTEMPER
Distemper is a life threatening viral disease that starts as a respiratory infection. The disease later spreads to the neurological system where it causes incoordination, tremors, seizures and eventually death. Due to widespread
vaccination, distemper has become rare, but many wildlife species are carriers including raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes. The virus is transmitted by contact with secretions from the nose or mouth of infected animals or from their urine and feces.
Parvovirus is a very contagious disease of dogs that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration and death. The disease affects the small intestine eroding the surface of it causing bleeding into the intestinal tract. The incubation period of the disease is four to ten days and is transmitted through infected feces. Spread of the disease is made easy due to the very watery nature of the diarrhea and the fact that dogs tend to investigate the ground with their nose. Parvo can also be carried on hair and clothes that have contacted infected feces.
Corona virus also causes vomiting and diarrhea with blood but is less severe and seldom causes death. It mostly affects puppies under one year of age.
Infectious hepatitis is caused by a virus that is passed from dog to dog through saliva and feces. It has a four to eight day incubation period and causes damage to the liver, kidneys, and eyes. It usually affects young dogs, but any unvaccinated
dog is at risk. In the eye it invades the lining and causes the cornea to become grey or blue. This has led to the common term of “Blue Eye” for the disease.
Leptospirosis is caused by a number of bacteria that affect many species of animals including livestock, wildlife, rodents and cats. The organism invades the kidneys and liver and can cause failure of both organs. Prompt treatment is needed to save the animal and longterm problems can result from damage to the organs. Lepto is passed through body secretions especially urine and some animals may carry and transmit the bacteria for months.
Rabies is a fatal disease of the nervous system with no treatment or cure. Exposure to an infected animal through a bite or saliva contacting an open wound results in the virus traveling up the nerve to the brain. The infection causes signs
ranging from aggression to stupor. Swallowing is decreased so animals tend to slobber giving the classic mad dog appearance. All warm blooded animals are susceptible, including humans, so vaccination is very important.
These vaccinations are not part of our standard vaccine protocol, but may be recommended depending on your dog’s environment or use.
Kennel cough is a contagious disease caused by bacteria known as Bordetella. An infected dog spreads the disease by coughing up tiny droplets which are inhaled by another dog. The infection causes a tracheitis and a dry cough is the primary symptom. Kennel cough is usually seen in conditions where dogs are housed in close quarters, such as boarding kennels, pet stores, and breeding facilities. Puppies are most at risk and the cough can sometimes last for weeks.
Lymes disease is a bacterial infection that is carried by ticks. The disease can cause arthritis, heart and kidney disease, and neurological disease. Dogs that spend time in the woods or fields where ticks are found would be at increased risk.
Certain areas of the country have an increased incidence of Lymes disease such as the upper Great Lakes area and the Eastern Seaboard.
The vaccines used in our practice have been thou roughly tested and proven safe and effective. Some dogs, however, may have reactions to the vaccines. These are usually mild but may include pain and swelling at the site of injection; facial swelling; hives; and vomiting. More severe reactions are very rare and usually occur immediately after injection to several hours post injection. These include difficult breathing and weakness or collapse. If you notice any signs of reaction after vaccination, please call our office and report it.