Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vaccinations: What you need to know!

The recent media coverage reporting a local pet that appears to have suffered severe reactions to vaccinations may have you asking questions. Questions are good!

Every vaccine protocol is in place for the health of ourselves and our pets has been established because of a proven need to prevent life threatening diseases and have tremendous amounts of research and proven success behind them. With that said, every pet is different.

At VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital, we select vaccine protocols i.e.-frequency of vaccination and specific vaccination given, based on individual pet breed, age, and lifestyle.

Please consider this information when discussing vaccination for your pet with your Vet.

The single most important event in an annual or semi- annual exam for your pet is a Physical Exam. Each examination that takes place is comparative to about 5-10 years in your pet’s life. The annual examination is much more than just a cursory check-up.  It is most often during these veterinary exams that a veterinarian can pick up the early warning signs of a serious problem that will affect your pet in the future.  Your veterinarian has special training and experience in detecting subtle illness in pets. For instance, listening to the heart can detect murmurs. Increased lung sounds may indicate early illness. Abdominal palpitation may reveal pain in certain areas, abnormal size and shape of various organs or even tumors. Checking out eyes can detect early signs of cataract or other ocular problems. Dental disease may be detected as well as signs of allergies or skin problems. It’s easier for someone who does not see your pet every day to detect lumps and bumps that you may not have noticed. Comparing annual weights can determine if your pet is heading down the path to obesity or is slowly losing weight.

How Vaccinations Work:
Vaccines contain small quantities of altered or "killed" viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing organism. When administered, they stimulate your dog's immune system to produce disease-fighting calls and proteins-or antibodies-to protect against disease.

Specific Vaccine Information:

Canine Distemper- Vaccination against this often fatal, hard-to-treat disease is absolutely essential. Highly contagious, it is spread by discharges from the nose and eyes of infected dogs. The distemper virus attacks many organs, including the nervous system, which may be permanently damaged, even if the dog recovers.

Canine Parvovirus- Very contagious, debilitating and widespread, the disease caused by this virus emerged in many parts of the world in 1978. Spread through infected feces, this highly resistant virus can remain in the environment for many months. Vaccination is the only certain method of preventing this potentially fatal disease, which is most severe in young pups and elderly dogs.

Canine Hepatitis-Caused by Canine Adenovirus Type I or Type II, this disease is transmitted among dogs by contact with secretions, such as saliva, infected urine or feces. Causing liver failure, eye damage and breathing problems, the course of this disease can range from mild to fatal.

Canine Tracheobronchitis (Canine Cough)- Just as with the human common cold, this respiratory-tract infection is easily transmitted from one dog to another, so vaccination is imperative if your pet will come in contact with many other dogs in such situations as obedience training or boarding at a kennel. Caused by various airborne bacteria and viruses, including Canine Parainfluenza virus, Canine Adenovirus Type II, and Bordetella Bronchiseptica.

Rabies- This incurable viral disease affects the central nervous system of almost all mammals, including humans. It is spread through contact with the salvia of infected animals through bites or any break in the skin. Vaccination will provide your pet with much greater resistance to Rabies if he/she is exposed to the disease, but you must be aware that there is no cure once it occurs. For this reason, many municipalities (including Broward, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach County) absolutely require that all dogs receive Rabies Vaccinations on a regular basis.

Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)- Canine influenza is highly contagious and easily transmitted by direct contact, cough, or sneeze and via contaminated surfaces. Usually mild in 80% of the cases, some dogs exhibit more severe symptoms, and a small number of dogs have died from complications associated with this disease.

Leptospirosis- A bacterial disease which attacks the kidneys and liver. This disease is zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted to humans.

Lyme Disease-Transmitted by ticks to dogs, other animals, and humans. Lyme disease if left untreated could have serious consequences to a dog's health. This disease is most uncommon in the northern parts of the United States.

Intestinal Parasite Examination (Fecal)-Fecal examinations are recommended on an annual basis. A fecal examination is the microscopic evaluation of feces. Fecal examinations are preformed to detect microscopic gastrointestinal parasites. These parasites can cause your pet to become ill. Some parasites can be transmitted to people.

"Heartworm" test- simple screening test to check if your pet has been exposed to Heartworm Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, & Lyme Disease.   Dogs get Heartworm Disease from mosquitoes.  Your dog can get Heartworm Disease even if he/she stays inside most of the time. Heartworms can grow to as long as 14 inches and cause significant damage to the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. If left untreated, Heartworm Disease can result in death. Ehrlichiosis is caused from a bacteria carrying Brown Dog Tick, Untreated the disease can cause permanent blindness, autoimmune disease, bleeding complications, and death. Anaplasmosis and Lyme Disease are caused from a bacteria caring Deer Tick. Anaplasmosis can cause platelets and white blood cells to drop to very low numbers, cause chronic joint pain, and neurological signs. Lyme Disease, when left untreated causes damaged joints, and fatal kidney disease. 

VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital selects vaccine protocol (frequency/what's given) based on breed, age, and lifestyle. Below is a list of general vaccinations both core and lifestyle.

The DA2PP (Canine Distemper, Canine Parvo Virus, Canine Hepatitis, & Parainfluenza) Vaccines-               1 or 3 year inoculation
The Canine Tracheobronchitis (Canine Cough) Vaccine- Annual inoculation
The Rabies Vaccine - 1 or 3 year inoculation
The Leptospirosis Vaccine -Annual inoculation
The Canine Influenza Vaccine - Annual inoculation (when necessary)
The Intestinal Parasite Examination (Fecal Exam)

The Test for Heartworm Disease, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, & Anaplasmosis)
If you live in Broward County, it is required by law for your pet to receive a county Rabies Tag.
A Rabies tag is $25.00 for dogs that are spayed/neutered. For patients that have not been fixed, the Rabies tag is $55.00

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