Run Oskee, Run!

Run Oskee, Run!

Monday, October 26, 2015

My two kids!

Kaleb at the pumpkin patch. The cat, Smokey, kept his interest way more than the big, Orange pumpkins!

Interupting Oskee's nap!

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Whats, Whens, and Whys of Wellness Vaccines and Preventions of all Kinds

I would say that the majority of my appointments in a day are spent with healthy pets for wellness exams, vaccines and talking about how to prevent nasty diseases.  Knock on wood, its stays this way. I mean, I am happy to be here for our furry friends during a health crisis but I would prefer all of my patients to be healthy all of the time!!

Because this is such a big part of our practice I thought it would be nice to explain our wellness plans and why we vaccinate and prevent the things we do. Wellness visits can encompass quite a lot but almost always include an exam and vaccines. During an exam the doctor will check your pet over from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail. Even just looking at the pet will provide us with a lot of information on how your pet is doing. We count the physical exam as the most important part of our wellness visit. As my professor once said, "if you don't look, you wont find it."

Also during your visit, your pet may be due for vaccines and a heartworm check. Heartworm checks are done yearly. The check requires just a little bit of blood drawn by one of our certified veterinary technicians or vet assistants. The test takes 8 minutes to run. Most of the time we have those results before the exam is even done. The particular heartworm test we run not only checks for heartworms but also scans your pet for three tick born diseases, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Lyme disease. (Stay tooned for a future blog about heartworm disease.) If the test is positive we will go over the proper treatment depending on the disease. If negative, your pet will go home with heartworm, flea and tick prevention to keep them safe from the parasites and the diseases they carry.

There are a fair number of diseases we can vaccinate for and it can be confusing to know which ones your pet needs and which ones they do not need. Our core vaccines, meaning the vaccines every pet should receive, are what we call rabies, distemper, lepto and lyme. The distemper vaccine can be combined with the lepto vaccine or the two can be on their own. The distemper vaccine not only protects your pet from the distemper virus but also protects against parvovirus, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus.

As puppies, patients get a series of 3 boosters of the distemper vaccine, ideally starting between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Before 6 weeks of age puppies cannot mount the proper immune response to the vaccine and after 8 weeks of age you risk the puppy being expose to the diseases we are trying to vaccinate against. Their boosters are given about 3-4 weeks apart. The lyme vaccine is given twice as puppies usually with their 2nd and 3rd distemper vaccine and rabies is given around 16 weeks of age. Vaccines are then boostered yearly once the puppies series is done.
This is an example of one of our Vaccines.

Heartworm, flea and tick prevention is started at their first puppy visit and is given monthly there after. At 6 months of age we can run a heartworm test for the first time and if negative, an injectable heartworm prevention can be given every 6 months.

Nexgard is used to prevent fleas and ticks. It looks and tastes like a treat!!

Proheart is a 6 month injection given to protect your pet from heartworm disease!

Some of the elective vaccines owners can choose for their pet are bordatella and canine influenza. Most boarding and grooming facilities will require dogs to be vaccinated for bordatella. Canine influenza is not one of our core vaccines but there was an outbreak of this disease in Chicago earlier this year. If you are interested in this vaccine or suspect that your pet may be at risk please feel free to discuss this with us or your veterinarian.

Our goal for preventative wellness is to prevent rather than treat illnesses. It is so important for pets to have regular 6 month exams and a good vaccine history. One successful example of this is parvo virus. Puppies and adult dogs vaccinated for parvovirus are much more protected and almost never become ill from this nasty virus. So many times I have seen puppies and dogs suffer from parvo which is so easily prevented with vaccines given properly.

I hope this gives you some insight into your furry friend's health!

Thanks for reading!
Doc E