Preventative Medicine is the best medicine. It is important to use our resources to prevent suffering and illness with routine prevenative care and vaccinations, instead of undergoing grueling and often expensive treatment of illness once heatlh problems have advanced.
Our canine distemper vaccination inculdes not only distemper but also, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfulenza. Most cases in the U.S. affect puppies and young adults having not been properly vaccinated in their early months. Symptoms of distemper are extremely variable, as is course of treatment however left untreated the virus is fatal. Effective distemper vaccination has been available since the 1950s. Prior to widespread vaccination, distemper was the scourge of the canine community, wiping out entire towns of pet dogs. Today, the “distemper shot” is the basic immunization for dogs. Puppies are vaccinated beginning at age 6-8 weeks and then every 3 to 4 weeks thereafter or until we have had a series 2 after 12 weeks of age, the last in that series is good for 1 year. After that subsequent vaccination boosters are given every 1 to 3 years according to your pet's lifestyle and the Doctor's reccomendations.
Thought to be a concern in only underdeveloped countries rabies is still a very real threat to our pets and families. Establishing infection requires direct contact with infected mucous membranes. In most cases, disease is transmitted through a bite wound. Only mammals are susceptible to infection, and wildlife is the primary animal group where infection occurs. When wildlife comes into contact with our pets, rabies becomes a public health problem. Despite vaccination being readily available, every year the U.S. reports hundreds of dog and cat deaths from rabies, not to mention several human deaths. Rabies remains an important and nearly untreatable illness even now in the 21st century so it is crucial we do our part to keep our pets currently vaccinated to ensure this virus does not become an epidemic in our area. In our clinic we start vaccinating for rabies at 16 weeks of age which will need to be boostered 1 year there after and susequently 3 years depending on our vaccine history and Doctor's reccomendations.
The "kennel cough" vaccine is common amongst our pampered friends, this "lifestyle vaccine", so to speak, is essential for those pets who visit any grooming, boarding, day care, or pet training facility. Bordetella infection is airborne and spread via coughing or sneezing in close quarters/kennel situations. Even those who frequent petsmart or the dog park should be vaccinated against bordetella. Although this vaccine may not eradicate the chance of a bordetella related upper respiratory infection entirely it cuts down on the clinical signs dramatically and lessnes the chance of more serious infection such as pneumonia and more intense treatment requiring hospitalization. This vaccine is given intranasally as the nasal passage is the typical route of entry for this bacterin and is boostered every 6 months as long as their lifestyle requires it.
Also considered a "lifestyle vaccine" this innoculation is a must for our furry friends that frequent bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, creeks, and puddles. Dogs become infected by leptospires when abraded skin comes into contact with infected urine or with water contaminated with infected urine. The organisms quickly spread through the bloodstream leading to fever, joint pain, and general lethargy that can last up to a week. The organism settles in the kidneys and begins to reproduce, leading to further inflammation and then kidney and or liver failure. Lepto is a life-threatening illness that can only be prevented by vaccination, and is transmitable to humans as well. Vaccination starts at 9 weeks of age followed by a booster 3-4 weeks later, then revaccination every year there after.
Lyme disease is a regional issue, and also another "lifestyle vaccine" Dogs exposed to ticks are highly encouraged to vaccinate against lyme disease. Due to increased tick populations our hunting and sport dogs are at a greater risk however anyone with trees, mulch, and shrubbs should consider vaccinating for tick borne illness. Vaccination starts at 9 weeks of age and is boostered 3-4 weeks later, then annually as long as ticks are a threat.