Vaccines for Dogs and Cats:
Vaccines for puppies and dogs: DHLPP (distemper). Although some people think that when their pet gets a distemper shot it effects their disposition, this is not so. Distemper in dogs is a respiratory condition which leads to a neurological condition which leads to death. A distemper vaccination is given to a puppy twice, a month apart and then yearly.
Rabies is given at 3 months of age or older and is required by law. The initial rabies vaccination is good for one year. A second rabies vaccination is given at least 9 months after the first vaccine, but no later than 12 months. If this is done the rabies vaccination is boostered for 3 years. If this 3 month time period is missed a subsequent vaccine is good for 1 year.
Two additional vaccines that I recommend are Lyme disease and Bordatella vaccination (kennel cough). A blood test that checks for a combination of heartworm disease, lyme disease, and 2 other tick diseases is also recommended.
Vaccines for kittens and cats: For kittens or a new cat in a household I recommend a simple blood test to rule out Feline Leukemia. Feline leukemia is a viral disease that occurs in cats and can be spread from one infected cat to another noninfected cat . The feline leukemia vaccination is recommended when a cat goes outside or if it is an inside cat and another cat in the household goes outside. The vaccination is give twice, a month apart and then yearly. FVRCP (feline distemper) is a viral intestinal disease what causes severe vomiting, diarrhea, and subsequent death. The vaccinations are given twice, a month apart and then yearly. Included in the distemper vaccination is the vaccine for Rhinotracheatitis which is a upper respiratory disease similar to a cold. It is important to give this vaccine because cats eat by smell and with a severe cold they will sometimes refuse to eat. Rabies vaccination is also required by law and the same rules apply for dogs and cats.
For any questions you might have about our vaccination policy please call the office and Donna or Dr. Hayden will be happy to answer any question you might have.
Information About Heartworm in Dogs and Cats:
Heartworm is just what it sounds like, a worm inside the heart. Heartworm is caused when an infected mosquito injects microscopic larvae into a dog’s skin. The larvae matures into an adult worm in about 6 months. The adult worm continues to reproduce and this can be transmitted to other dogs by way of mosquitos. A dog that has heartworm is very sick and if it goes undetected and untreated can kill the animal. This is almost always prevented by having your dog have a simple blood test yearly to rule out heartworm disease, and by taking a monthly heartworm medication.
Until recently, we recommended dogs be on heartworm medication March thru November since mosquitos were not seen in the cold, snowy months of New England. However, because of the continued warmer winter months we recommend year round heartworm preventative treatment. In cats, heartworm is very rare and because of this we do not feel the need to have cats on preventative heartworm. Feel free to give us a call should you have any questions regarding heartworm.
What you should know about Lyme Disease:
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria like organism called borrellia bugdorferi and is spread by the brown tick in the fall and the deer tick in the spring and fall. Currently we have been seeing 10% of dogs test positive for the disease. Testing for Lyme disease every year is what we recommend. When a dog comes into the office for their yearly checkup the blood that is drawn for the heartworm check can be used to rule out Lyme disease. That same blood test also checks for 2 other tick diseases which are called anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. All three of these diseases, if caught early, can be treated with 3 weeks of antibiotics and the outcome is very good.
At the very beginning of Lyme disease most dogs do not show signs that anything is wrong. That is why we feel testing is so important. In the next stage a dog may show signs of fever, depression, and joint swelling, and in later stages Lyme disease can cause kidney failure and death. There are some ways a dog can get protection from getting Lyme disease in the first place, a vaccine is available that is approximately 70% effective against Lyme disease and this is strongly recommended. Also, topical flea and tick products such as Frontline and Advantix or a Preventic collar give the dog extra protection against this disease. It is very important for you to check your dog for ticks daily.
Buying Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medication:
During the course of the year we receive questions regarding buying your pets' heartworm and flea and tick medication in places other than a Veterinary office. The manufacturers of these products only sell to licensed Veterinarians. They do not sell directly to stores or internet pharmacies so these products are being bought by a 3rd party, many from overseas. There have been cases reported that the flea and tick medication in the box was only water.
When you buy these products from our Veterinary Clinic you know these products were bought directly from the manufacturer, their expiration dates have not been altered, have been stored properly, and are priced competitively. Myself and my staff are sincere about giving your pet the best and safest products on the market. We stand behind the products we sell 100%