Spring is in full swing and with that comes one of the happiest times of the year: BABIES! Puppies and kittens to be more specific. With puppy and kitten season comes some very important questions about care and preventative health and wellness for the new furry friend. Below is detailed common puppy and kitten problems, vaccine protocols and other tips we can offer.
Puppies are weaned from mom around 6 – 8 weeks of age. Once they are weaned from mother’s milk and are no longer receiving her antibodies to protect them from harmful disease it is time for first vaccines. Puppies who are at least 6 – 8 weeks old should receive a DHPP booster (Distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/parvovirus). All of these diseases if contracted by a dog can potentially be fatal.
Distemper Virus is a severe potentially fatal disease characterized by a fever, nasal and eye discharge, depression, anorexia, sometimes dogs may get seizures or other neurological effects if the virus moves into the brain, it can also affect the enamel of the teeth and cause hardened paw pads. Mortality rate is about 50%
Hepaitits is a virus that infects the liver and causes acute liver failure, fever, neurological signs, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, blue colored eyes and death in severe cases. The prognosis for hepatitis is poor. If the animal survives it will likely have permanent damage to the organ and require life long therapy.
Parainfluenza is a respiratory disease that causes coughing, gagging and retching at best. At its worst it can cause anorexia, lethargy difficulty breathing, pneumonia and death.
Parvovirus attacks the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract and cause severe lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea and death due to dehydration and the fact that the animal cannot absorb any of its nutrients.
Research and studies support that this vaccine is 90% protective against these diseases. That is an incredible reduction in the rate of disease. Therefore we recommend this vaccine for every dog as a core vaccine.
After the initial booster a puppy must receive a distemper booster (DHPP) every 2 – 4 weeks until he/she is 4 months of age. At that time the immune system is mature and will mount a long lasting immune response. Before the immune system is mature the protective length of a vaccine varies between 2 – 4 weeks before it wears off. This is why puppies must be boostered more frequently than adults.
If your puppy/dog is older and has never received any boosters, that’s ok, it’s never too late to start. Make an appointment today!
Kittens are weaned from mom around 6 – 8 weeks of age. Once they are weaned from mother’s milk and are no longer receiving her antibodies to protect them from harmful disease it is time for first vaccines. Kittens who are at least 6 – 8 weeks old should receive a FVRCP booster (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/calicivirus/panleukopenia virus) aka: feline distemper vaccine.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is a severe upper respiratory infection that is difficult to cure since it is not bacterial in nature. Once contracted it is usually a life long struggle, the cats affected have nasal discharge, eye discharge, chronic severe coughing and sneezing and difficulty breathing.
Calicivirus is also an upper respiratory disease. It causes similar symptoms as rhinotracheitis except it also causes ulcerations in the mouth and on the tongue that can be very painful and cause the cat to have trouble eating.
Pnaleukopenia virus is the feline version of parvovirus. We also refer to it as fading kitten syndrome. Unlike their canine counterparts cats rarely vomit or have diarrhea, they just stop eating and waste away and eventually succumb to the illness
Due to the severe nature of these diseases we recommend this to every kitten/cat as a core vaccine. After the initial booster a kitten must receive a distemper booster (FVRCP) every 2 – 4 weeks until he/she is 4 months of age. Again, this is because the immune system is not fully matured until about 4 months of age thus a long lasting immune response cannot be mounted until that time.
If your kitten/cat is older and has never received any boosters, that’s ok, it’s never too late to start. Make an appointment today!
There is much controversy about the rabies vaccine today. Let us assure you that it is safe and it is necessary and it is the LAW. Rabies is fatal to any mammal that contracts the disease. There have been about 3 – 4 people in recorded history to have survived contracting the rabies virus and medical science currently does not know why those people survived. Despite popular belief rabies is not eradicated, there are still cases of rabies reported in the US. There are greater than 300 cases of feline rabies, 80 – 100 cases of canine rabies, and 1 – 3 cases of human rabies reported annually in the United States.
The most common rabies exposure to humans is through an infected dog. The most common rabies exposure to a dog is through wild life such as skunks, fox and raccoons.
There are other vaccines that we may or may not recommend depending on their life style, health and age but the previous vaccines are considered core and are recommended by most all veterinarians for most all puppies and kittens. If you have any further questions about vaccine protocols please call. If you have a new fur baby that needs vaccines please call to schedule an appointment today. More
Marley and Bailey Hamilton enjoying the Dog Days of Summer in the Ozarks. More
Pets in Springfield are still at risk for heat stroke. Learn how to treat and prevent it.
Now-a-days there is enough media warning against Heat Stroke and leaving pets and children in a hot car that most people know by now not to do it. The following chart exemplifies the temperatures of a parked car that is turned off with all the windows up.
Cited from Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University
Even a person who is “just going to grab one thing real quick” can see that after only 10mins the temperature differential is 19F! Please don’t leave pets or children in cars.
But there are other ways our pets are at risk for heat stroke: leaving them outside to go potty unattended on a hot day, forgetting to fill up their water bucket, lack of shade, going on a long walk in the peak of the day. Activities that all seem harmless and part of our daily routine can quickly turn into a life-threatening problem if we are not mindful.
Particular animals in Springfield who are most at risk for heat stroke include long haired animals, the very young or elderly pets, dogs who have smooshed faces (pugs, bostons, English bulldogs, etc), animals who are accustomed to AC, patients with underlying heart disease or other major organ disease, obesity and previous heat stroke history.
Normal body temperature for a happy healthy dog or cat is 101F – 102.5F taken rectally. At Deerfield Veterinary Hospital, Heat stress is considered when the body temperature is >103F. Other causes could include an infection, recent seizure, toxicities, or cancer so it is important to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian if you suspect your pet’s temperature is abnormal. At this point, the animal can be easily brought back to normothermic temperatures with minimal intervention and no long term effects on the pet.
A diagnosis of heat stroke is made once the body temperature reaches 106F. Symptoms include panting, hypersalivation, bright red mucous membranes, turning blue, increased heart rate, shock, respiratory distress, changes in mentation and behavior, confusion, difficulty walking or unable to ambulate at all, and seizures.
Once a critical temperature of 109F is reached then coma, cardiac/respiratory arrest and death may occur.
As the body gets hotter the organs will become damaged and start to malfunction. If the heat stress continues permanent organ failure can ensue.
Immediate immersion in water and providing convection cooling with fans is the mainstay of treatment for heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. If water immersion is not possible then apply alcohol on the foot pads, axilla and groin. Stop the cooling procedure when the body temperature reaches 103F. Avoid ice as this vasoconstricts the peripheral blood vessels and can delay cooling. It can also create shivering which generates more heat.
Bloodwork may be warranted to determine the extent of organ damage and guide any supportive care measures that might be needed for the pet. Supportive care may include oxygen, IV fluids, anti-seizure meds, anti-nausea meds, antibiotics, etc. Antibiotics are needed to prevent bacterial translocation from the damaged intestines into the bloodstream. This could cause sepsis leading to life-threatening bacteremia and coagulation disorders such as DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation).
It is recommended that a pet needs a minimum of 24 hours hospitalization to monitor for any complications during the cooling down phase and recovery but depending on the severity of the case they may stay longer.
Prognosis is based on how hot the core body temperature became before the intervention was started, how quickly the animal was brought back to normothermic temperatures and if there is any permanent organ damage that remains. Possible outcomes: kidney failure, liver failure, heart failure, and neurological defects.
As any good vet or doctor will tell you…The best treatment for heat stroke is prevention.
Deerfield Tips and Tricks to keep our furry loved ones cool during the heat:
- Provide adequate outdoor time during the early morning hours or evening hours and avoid the peak hot times of the mid-day.
- Avoid hot pavement/asphalt as this can burn their paws.
- Pets who are accustomed to indoor AC AND those specific breeds and categories mentioned above need to be monitored very carefully while outdoors on a hot day, even if they are only out for 5 minutes, do not leave them unattended because it does not take long to get heat stress and exhaustion.
- Keep water with you just in case your pet gets thirsty or starts showing signs of heat exhaustion.
- Carry an umbrella with you on a walk to provide adequate shade.
Deerfield Tips and Tricks for our outdoor family members:
- Provide access to shade and fresh water to drink.
- Kiddie pool with fresh water. Dogs who do not like the water can be enticed to get in by placing some of their favorite toys or treats in the middle of the pool.
- Shave down heavy coated dogs. Leave an inch or two to protect their skin from the sun and a small hair coat can help keep them cool as well.
- Freeze 2L bottles of water and put them on their dog bed outside or in the pool to keep the pool water cooler longer.
- Fans (securely placed out of the reach of the pet) for air circulation on stagnant days.
- On extremely hot days consider allowing the pet to have access to AC such as a laundry room, bathroom or day boarding them at a facility that offers doggy daycare.
If you have any questions regarding Heat Stroke in your pet, please contact us at 417-889-2727. Deerfield Veterinary Hospital is a full-service pet hospital. We provide medical and surgical care as well as boarding and bathing services for your cat and dog. We have on-site lab diagnostics and blood testing, allowing presurgical and senior screenings in our pet hospital. We have both X-ray and ultrasound and the latest and safest anesthetics available for your pet during surgery.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding your pet’s health or behavior, don’t hesitate to ask us. We are here to help! More
In order to help promote awareness to Heartworm disease, here are some interesting facts:
- It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to spread heartworm disease.
- Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.
- Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.
- More than a million pets in the United States have heartworm disease.
- Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states.
- Both indoor and outdoor pets are at risk of developing heartworm disease because infected mosquitoes can come inside.
- Dogs can harbor several hundred worms in their body whereas cats typically just have one to three worms and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms.
- There is no approved treatment for heartworm disease in cats, but supportive care can help manage complications.
- Once mature, heartworms can live up to 7 years in a dog.
- It takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected with heartworms. This is why annual testing is recommended for earliest detection of the disease.
- Once tested positive, a dog must be kept in strict confinement and have restricted activity for a period of 5-6 months during and after treatment of heartworm disease to try and decrease potential complications associated with eliminating adult heartworms.
- Prevention is safe, effective, and cost effective.
- You can buy 7 years of heartworm prevention for less than the cost of treating your dog one time for heartworms.
- To date, the national average is one out of every 73 dogs will test positive for heartworm disease.
- One out of 56 dogs tested positive for heartworm disease in Greene County, MO thus far for 2016.
- Deerfield Veterinary Hospital in Springfield Missouri has diagnosed 7 heartworm positive dogs since January 2015, however we have a higher compliance rate of dogs receiving monthly preventative than compared to more rural areas. More rural areas can have as many as one heartworm positive dog diagnosed each week.
- Preventatives work by killing the microfilaria and early larval stages of heartworms that your pet has picked up the previous month. If you stop giving it in the fall or early winter, the parasites might remain and cause infection.
- Adult dogs over 7 months of age and previously not on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention.
- Annual testing is necessary, even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that the prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication-or give it late-it can leave your dog unprotected. Even if you give medication as recommended, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill-or rub off topical medication. Heartworm preventatives are highly effective, but not 100 percent effective. If you don’t get your dog tested , you won’t know your dog needs treatment.
- There are three different types of preventative available for use to protect your pet: once-a-month chewable, once-a-month topical, or twice-a-year injection.
- There is only one drug approved by the FDA for treatment of heartworm disease called melarsomine and it is administered by injection only by a veterinarian. Additional medications may be prescribed by your veterinarian to help improve the chances of treatment success and reduce the incidence of side effects associated with the death of adult heartworms.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Remember to “Think 12.” Test for heartworm disease every 12 months and give heartworm preventative 12 months a year. Deerfield Veterinary Hospital offers a variety of preventatives to help protect your pet. Let us help you decide which preventative is best for your pet, lifestyle, and budget.
The information used for this blog was obtained from the American Heartworm Society website, Companion Animal Parasite Council website, and medical records from Deerfield Veterinary Hospital. For more information about heartworm disease, please visit the American Heartworm Society’s website at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/ and the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s website at http://www.capcvet.org/.
What is Kennel Cough? More
Bordetella Bronchiseptica virus is a mild self-limiting upper respiratory infection that involves the trachea and bronchi of dogs of any age. It causes coughing that is commonly described as a “honking goose sound”, sneezing and nasal discharge. Severe cases may have a sore throat thus causing inappetence.
How does my dog get kennel cough?
It is an airborne pathogen that enters the nasal and oral passageways and reacts in the pharyngeal region. It is rapidly spread in kennels, hospitals, pet stores, grooming facilities and dog parks. Anywhere there is close confinement of many dogs.
How can I protect my dog from kennel cough?
There are vaccines against bordetella bronchiseptica. There are 3 different kinds: intra-nasal, oral and injectable. Depending on your dog’s age, immune status, previous vaccine history and availability of vaccines denotes which vaccine is chosen for your dog. Any dog showing symptoms of kennel cough should not be vaccinated until they are recovered. The vaccine immunity lasts for 1 year but some kennels may require it more frequently.
I think my dog has kennel cough, what should I do?
Call the veterinarian and schedule an appointment for the dog to be evaluated. Since kennel cough can be confused with many other respiratory illnesses, it is important for the heart and lungs to be auscultated and a thorough exam to be performed.
My dog has been vaccinated against kennel cough so he can’t get it, right?
Unfortunately no vaccine is 100% protective. It is still possible for your dog to contract kennel cough. Luckily the severity and duration of the disease is much less than if no vaccine was on board. There are also many other respiratory illness that mimic kennel cough that have no vaccine. Your dog can still get those. If you think your dog has a respiratory illness then contact your veterinarian.