Tag Archive: vaccines


Why Should I Come In For Yearly Exams if Everything is Ok?
By. Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963
We wish the only reason you needed to come in for your pet’s yearly exam was because you missed our smiling faces or dearly love our coffee and cookies,  but there’s actually several good medical reasons why we want to see you.
        A lot can happen in a year.  There are a lot of not-so-obvious diseases that are picked up on routine exams or lab screenings, and may not be noticeable or known to someone that doesn’t do this all the time.  Those routine screenings and lab tests, much like the ones we humans are all supposed to get, are the best chance at early detection of diseases, and in some cases make a huge Golden Retriever puppydifference in the prognosis and outcome.
      Most pets are actually due for treatments or vaccines yearly.  Many of our pet friends benefit from yearly teeth cleanings.  Dogs that visit dog parks should get a fecal test each year to detect parasites.  And some vaccines are labeled as being effective for one year, such as bordatella (kennel cough), feline leukemia, and, in some instances, rabies.
        The Board of Pharmacy mandates that to issue prescribed drugs, either here from our clinic or by written prescription, we must have a current exam on file within the last 12 months.     bandit
 We know everyone wants what’s best for their pet.  We know you all do everything you can for their happiness and health.  One of the biggest challenges we face is not being able to talk to them, or I guess, them not being able to talk to us.  You usually can tell if something is really wrong with your pet, but how can you tell if something is just a little off?  We all know, for ourselves, when something isn’t quite right, and which of those times we should go see our doctor.  But for our pets, it’s not so easy.  Yearly exams and routine lab work help us find problems earlier than we might have otherwise, and hopefully before something has advanced too far.

Road trip with your furry friend?

By: Dr. Carrie Wright cwright

I remember the first time I took my dogs to the dog beaches in California  – I thought being a vet would have prepared me for the unanticipated trials that arose from being with my girls for 24 hours Traveling with your peta day in a non local area.  But I wasn’t prepared, and now I have some advice for you!

Traveling with your pet can be a terrific experience, but only if you plan ahead.  Make sure vaccines are current (and this means young animals should have at least 3 sets ending around 16 weeks of age), and always bring a copy of your vaccination certificate with you.  Rabies is a nationwide concern and many state borders require proof of vaccination before allowing access to their state.  As well as the certificate, a copy of your pet’s medical records is recommended, especially if they have a history of illness or chronic disease.  I think it’s a great idea to locate a veterinarian along the way or at your final destination just in case you need home_again_320some help.  It is helpful to have a permanent ID implant such as a microchip – collars and leashes with ID can easily be removed or lost… It usually costs around $45 and will significantly increase your pet’s chance of recovery.  Some companies such as Home Again aid in that recovery (with signs and notifications to the surrounding animal groups/hospitals) or even medical bills if your pet is injured while lost.

Many diseases are geographic, so please check to see if you need preventative medications or additional vaccinations prior to travel (i.e. – Heartworm disease, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis).  Fleas and ticks can be a nuisance to both you and your pets, and can cause serious disease as well, so talk to us about prevention treatment options.

If this is your pet’s first trip, you should make sure they are able to travel for long distances.  Try a shorter trip and see how Romeo-is-Planningit goes.  Would sedation have been nice? An anti anxiety medication? Motion sickness drugs?  Sedation can be a great option for long trips, but do you want the potential 12 hour effect?  Always bring towels for cleaning up those nasty side effects of motion sickness (or puppy pads work well to line your seats).  Keep in mind that tired dogs are usually calmer in the car, so make sure your friend gets plenty of exercise prior to loading into the car. And cats, well…you might call us and we can have a chat.

Keep those pets buckled! Or at least contained – no one wants a 70 lb dog climbing over their shoulder while driving down the freeway at 75mph… Kennels, pet barriers, and seatbelts/harnesses have been created to prevent unwanted risks. PJ-BB519_DOGCAR_D_20110628165953 Again, practice with these PRIOR to your trip.

Be sure to stop for rest breaks! You should ideally stop every 3-4 hours along the road to offer water and a potty break.  Stay clear of heavily soiled areas – although vaccines prevent diseases like parvo and distemper, it would be no fun to pick up a gastrointestinal parasite on vacation.

Many motels/hotels accept pets for a small deposit, but be sure to call ahead to make your reservations.  When you do have to leave your pet in your room, make sure they are either in a crate or kennel, and stand outside the door to make Hotel-La-Jolla-San-Diego-Hotels-Pet-Friendly-Hotelsure they don’t bark or howl – although pet friendly, there are limitations! And not that you haven’t heard this one before – do not leave your pet in the car –temperatures can rise too quickly with very serious consequences.

Have fun with your pet, and be sure to call us if you have any questions!

Don’t Take Your Puppy Out for Walks or to Other Public Places Until It’s Safe!!
By: Laura Leautier DVM Dr. Leautier
It’s very important to keep your puppy from going out in public until it’s fully protected from parvo and distemper.  A typical puppy vaccine schedule starts at 6 to 8 weeks of age.  The pup will receive three to four sets of DHPP vaccine (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza) spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart until it is 16 weeks or older.  It will also receive canine cough (bordetella) and rabies vaccines.  Pups with exposure to livestock (or sea lions!) should also get vaccinated against leptospirosis.  In addition, we  deworm all puppies, because most are born with parasites or dog_sitting_on_park_bench_print-r2b14576d5d3f4697a191a511d691126d_wvc_8byvr_512acquire them from their mother’s environment.  If your pup will be going to public places or you have small children, we strongly recommend a monthly dewormer, such as Iverheart.
The reason we give multiple doses of vaccines is because the protective antibodies the puppy received from its mother start to fade off between 6 and 12 weeks of age (each pup is different and each of the diseases can have a different time frame when they fade away).  Our goal is to vaccinate at least two times (3 to 4 weeks apart) past all maternal antibodies, because those maternal antibodies have a blocking effect on the vaccines we give.  Once the last puppy vaccines are administered, we puppies walkingrecommend keeping pups from public places until 2 weeks later so the vaccine has fully kicked in.  Then they should be able to safely walk through the neighborhood or go to dog parks and not contract parvo or distemper.
If you’ve ever known someone whose pet had parvo, you know how devastating it can be.  The virus attacks the gut and bone marrow and causes vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and blood infections.  If untreated, most puppies don’t make it.  Treatment can take a few days to a week or more and is very expensive.  The microscopic parvo virus particles are passed in the feces and can live on the grass and soil for years.  Since you can’t see it, you can’t avoid it.  The amount of virus particles shed from a recovering parvo dog is enough virus to infect all the dogs in our town!  So that’s why it’s so important to go through the full immunization schedule and not take your puppy out for walks until it’s safe!

Vaccines,What are the Risks and Benefits to Your Pets.

By: Dr. Bob Baker Dr baker with penny

As a veterinarian I am faced with questions about vaccinations every day, what are the risks? what are the benefits?  To say that vaccines are safe is true, however there are adverse effects associated with vaccination.  While extremely rare, anaphylactic allergic reactions can occur and must be dealt with immediately. Other allergic reactions, fever, vomiting, facial swelling occur on occasion, but are still rare. The old feline vaccinations were associated with development of an injection site sarcoma; this occurred more commonly in patients with a genetic predisposition to cancer. So yes there are some risks associated with vaccination.  When it comes to vaccination, we have to assess the relative risk of vaccination vs. the risk of the disease.  Rabies vaccine however is always indicated as it is state law to vaccinate dogs and cats.  Most pets however, do not have the social risk factors of humans, there  are some such as those that go to groomers, boarding kennels, and day care.  These pets have risk factors more like us, where we go to work, school, shopping; where we interact with others that may or may not be vaccinated or be incubating or spreading a contagious disease.

DSC_0854When an animal or person is vaccinated, most will form antibodies to the false infection that will protect from the real infection when the subject is exposed to the pathogen.  There are however, some individuals that are genetic non-responders, meaning they cannot form antibodies to the vaccine.  These are the individuals that get sick despite vaccination.  This happens in canine parvovirus on occasion because the dog, no matter how many times they have been vaccinated, simply cannot respond to the presented antigen.  So how do we protect these “non-responders” in the population, along with the individuals that cannot receive vaccines because of illness, immunocompromise, or allergies.  The key is a concept called herd immunity, and it derives from infectious disease management mostly in the cattle and dairy industry.  The more individuals that are vaccinated, the more protected the herd, including those that cannot be vaccinated or are non-responders.  The more individuals that do not receive the vaccine, the more likely the herd immunity will fail and an outbreak will occur.

Measles is a virus that belongs to a group of viruses  called Morbillivirus.  It evolved from a cattle virus called Rinderpest around  1100-1200 A.D.   When the measles virus first adapted to infect humans, it had a high mortality rate, killing up to 60% of those infected.  Over time, the virus (and us) have changed to be less fatal, but still is very infective.  It is interestingsierra to note that Rinderpest, the cattle morbillivirus, has been eradicated by a global vaccination protocol, similar to what we did with the Smallpox virus in humans, and almost did with the Polio virus until the Taliban in the tribal areas of Pakistan started shooting the vaccinators.  The canine morbillivirus causes a disease called distemper, which most veterinarians in practice today will never see because enough people continue to give their dogs the vaccine to keep herd immunity up and individuals protected by a highly safe and effective vaccine.

Rabies

Written by Dr. Bob Baker Dr. Baker

Rabies is a viral infection that targets the central nervous system of warm blooded animals. Rabies is worldwide in distribution and causes about 55,000 human deaths each year. Tragically, most of these deaths could be prevented if domestic animal vaccination programs were in place. We are fortunate in the United States in that we see very little rabies in our pets, and subsequently in humans because we have very effective vaccines that are readily available. Rabies does exist in the United States, primarily in wildlife. Exposure risks become evident when wildlife interacts with humans or our pets. In our area, the most common vector or carrier of rabies is the bat. Skunks, skunk_710_600x450racoons, and foxes are also vectors in out area. Unfortunately we cannot be with our pets 24-7 and sometimes then find dead things to play with or eat, or in some situations may predate on bats and this is a risk for exposure. There are documented events of rabid bats getting into peoples homes as well.
What can we do to protect our pets and families? First of all, there are extremely effective vaccines against rabies for dogs and cats. ALL dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor cats that do not go outside have the potential for rabies exposure should a rabid bat gain entry to the home. Dogs are vaccinated as puppies as young as 12 weeks of age. They need another vaccination at a year of age, and then every three years after that. Cats follow the same protocol, except that there are two different vaccines used to booster the older cat, one is labeled for every year and another is labeled for every three years.DSC_0854 Your veterinarian can help you decide which product is right for your pet. Rabies vaccinations are also required by Nevada law. NAC 441A.435
If you or a family member do come across a sick or dead bat, or for that matter any animal, do not approach or handle them. If the animal is a potential rabies vector, and there is any human or animal exposure you should contact Washoe County Vector Control to have the animal tested for rabies.

LEPTOSPIROSIS IN DOGS
Bob Baker, DVM   

Dr. Baker

Leptospirosis is a potentially life-threatening bacterial disease that can affect animals, as well as humans. In northern Nevada, we have not typically vaccinated against this disease, but it is increasing in frequency.  Northern California is now considered a leptospirosis “hotspot.”
The Leptospira bacteria is typically spread through the urine of infected wildlife or domestic animals.  The bacteria pass into water and soil, where they can survive for months.  When animals come in contact with this contaminated environment, the bacteria can enter the body through broken skin and mucus membranes.  Drinking contaminated water is another source of infection.
Leptospirosis is a very serious disease that can cause liver problems, kidney failure, and death.  It can also be difficult to diagnose.  There is no one perfect test to confirm the disease, although some of the newer polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are much better than the older (titer) tests.  The incubation period for leptospirosis is usually between 5 to 14 days.
Early treatment is much more successful than delayed intervention.  Treatment involves antibiotics, fluid therapy, and, in some instances, referral for dialysis.
318619_166854683394618_1910788172_n Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and humans.  The infected animal’s urine, blood, and tissues are contagious, and humans get lepto if the bacteria enters cuts or broken skin, or if they drink contaminated water.
Leptospirosis is rare here in northern Nevada, but, as mentioned above, northern California is considered a hotspot for the disease, so dogs that travel there definitely run a higher risk of contracting leptospirosis.  To minimize your dog’s risk of exposure:


Avoid exposure to standing water, especially where wildlife or livestock congregate.  Bring your own source of water for your dog to drink.  Vaccinate your dog.  The leptospirosis vaccine is not a core or required vaccine, but we strongly recommend it for dogs that have an exposure risk.  A small dog that lives in an apartment in northern

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Nevada does not need to be vaccinated for lepto.  A dog that hunts or has exposure to cattle farms would be at risk and should be vaccinated.  Leptospirosis vaccines have been available for years, but they were not very effective and ran a high risk of side effects, so they became unpopular. With newer technologies, the vaccine is highly effective with less risk of allergic reactions. We recommend the Merial RECOMBITEK 4 vaccine for the best available protection while having a high margin of safety. Initial vaccination requires a booster in 3-4 weeks, followed by annual vaccination to afford the best protection.  Again, not all dogs need to be vaccinated for leptospirosis.  It is a non-core vaccine for a specific population of at-risk dogs. Our doctors are happy to answer any questions you may have.

I’m a Survivor

I Survived Parvo

Hi my name is Jake and I am a parvo survivor ! I was brought into Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital for not eating or drinking, vomiting, and lethargy. I had no history of vaccines. After spending 3 days in the hospital with intense fluid therapy and medication I was able to go home. Here I am 5 weeks after I finished my treatment for my vaccines and am as healthy as a pup 🙂

Why Does Your Pet Need a Physical Examination Before Vaccinations?

By: Dr. Carrie Wright 

Why not just go to a low cost vaccine clinic you ask? Well, vaccines are important – there are many preventable illnesses that can be avoided with a proper vaccine schedule (such as the rampant Parvo epidemic here in Reno/Sparks area, or Rabies

which can be passed to humans). But there may be even more conditions and disease processes that can be picked up with a simple physical exam.   Not to mention, early detection often translates into financial savings for you in the long run. And finally, according to the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medicine, a licensed veterinarian must perform a physical examination on your pet before administering vaccinations.A physical examination usually starts with obtaining a detailed history of your pet.    We typically ask you about your pet’s lifestyle, any changes in behavior, appetite and eliminations, and any other concerns you may have. Even before we first touch your pet, we observe his mentation (level of alertness and how he responds to us), and watch him move around the room (which can tell us about possible gait abnormalitits or arthritic pain). We quantify vital signs, such as heart rate (listening for any arrhythmias or murmurs) , respiratory rate (in case we hear increased or decreased sounds), and body temperature, and obtain your pet’s weight (which we can compare to previous visits).

Next, we check your pet’s mucous membranes (which can tell us things like hydration status, and oxygenation, and help rule out anemia and certain bleeding disorders).  A thorough oral examination can help us find dental disease (gingivitis, tooth infections, broken teeth, and oral growths).  We palpate your cat or dog’s abdomen for discomfort or changes in organ size or potential masses.  Palpating for lymph node enlargement can help us detect infections and certain cancers. Looking in your pet’s eyes help us rule out infection, cataracts, or other abnormalities.  We can check the ears for inflammation, debris, or foreign bodies (we have a lot of pets with foxtails in their ears this time of year!).  Ear infections are very common in our pets and we may obtain an ear swab to determine what is growing in there!  Examining your pet’s fur and skin helps us detect problems, such as allergies, infections, parasites, and growths (which we can often check with a simple fine needle aspirate and look at the cells under the microscope).

Considering all the things that can be found on the physical exam, it’s easy to see why the vaccinations are often considered secondary to the examination.  These results may affect our decision to vaccinate at all, or  we may elect to change vaccine schedules according to their particular issues. It is ALL about the preventative medicine! Our goal is to keep your pet healthy and happy for a very long time!