Author Archives: lakewood

Has your new puppy had all of it’s “puppy shots?”

What does it mean when we ask if your dog/puppy has had all of its vaccines?

Puppies are initially protected by antibodies passed to them by their mother. Over time these antibodies diminish in their ability to prevent disease. Therefore, we vaccinate puppies at a time when their mother’s protection is decreasing and their own immune system is strong enough to start producing antibodies of its own. In general, the best time to start vaccinations is at 8 weeks of age. Puppies require a series of boosters a month apart after its initial vaccine to adequately develop immunity. We often find that some breeders do vaccines at a very early age, such as 5 to 6 weeks old. We recommend a follow up booster two weeks after those are given to begin the puppy’s complete series of vaccinations.  

The recommended schedule for puppy vaccines are as follows:

  • 8 Weeks of age1st DHPPC (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus)
  • 12 Weeks of age2nd DHLPP +/- Lyme (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, leptospirosis) Lyme is an optional vaccination that can be added at this time                        Rabies (1st rabies is good for one year)
  • 16 Weeks of age3rd DHLPP +/- Lyme booster
  • 20 Weeks of age4th DHLPP (rottweilers only)

Dogs over 16 weeks of age that have never been vaccinated still need a Rabies and 2 DHLPP vaccines a month apart.

Please be mindful when someone/breeder says that a puppy/dog “has had it’s puppy shots,” that may NOT mean that it’s adequately vaccinated against all the diseases it needs protected from. It may have only had ONE at a very young age and it still may be susceptible to very serious illnesses. 

We do require all vaccines before admission to the hospital for a spay/neuter, since this is protection for your pet as well as other that may be hospitalized that day. 

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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It is National Pet Dental Health Month, but your pet’s dental health should be addressed every day of the year, not just in February. If your pet has bad breath, that odor might signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but the internal organs as well.

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It is estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums. These infections have been linked to diabetes, heart problems, blood clots, kidney disease, and other life threatening disorders. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by having a regular dental regime for your pet coupled with regular oral exams by your veterinarian. Unfortunately once a large amount of tarter has developed on a pets teeth, a routine dental cleaning is often necessary. Once the tarter has been removed and the teeth cleaned and polished it is important to start an at home program to help prevent tarter and gingivitis from reoccurring.

At home dental care for your pet

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  • Brushing your pets teeth is still considered the best way to prevent dental disease. Special pet toothpaste should always be used to brush your pets teeth as human toothpaste has to high a fluoride content if your pet swallows it. If your pet has not had its teeth brushed before, it may require some time to teach your pet to allow you to brush their teeth.
  • Special dental diets are available to help prevent tarter buildup. Many of these diets have enzymes that work against tarter and are a larger, coarser nugget of food which works similar to a toothbrush on the tooth when chewed.
  • Special dental chews are available to help prevent tarter buildup. Enzymes in these chews work against tarter buildup .
  • There are also water additives and dental gels which aid in the prevention of tarter.

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Bring your pet in for a dental examination and we can help you decided the best oral health regime for you and your pet. Sometimes a combination of different oral health products will work the best for your pet.

Vaccines and Your Horse

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A “standard” vaccination program for all horses does not exist. The American Association of Equine Practitioners has developed a list of Core or recommended vaccines for each horse. Other vaccines are administered on a case by case basis depending on the risk of exposure to theses diseases.

Core Vaccines

  • Tetanus – an often fatal disease caused by a potent neurotoxin  from the anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium, Clostridium tetani.
  • Eastern/Western Equine Encephalitisa neurologic disease caused by a virus which can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Typically 90% of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases die from the disease.
  • Rabiesan infrequently encountered neurologic disease of horses.  While the incidence of rabies in horses is low, the disease is fatal and has considerable public health significance.
  • West Nile VirusA neurologic disease of horses typically spread from one infected animal to another by biting flies or mosquitos. Horses represent 96.9% of all non-human mammalian cases of WNV disease.

Non-Core Vaccines

Equine Influenza (Flu), Rhinopneumonitis (Rhino), Strangles, Potomac Horse Fever, Botulism

There are risks with vaccination and each individual situation requires evaluation based on the following criteria:

  • Risk of disease (anticipated exposure, environmental factors, geographic factors, age, breed, use, and sex of the horse)

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  • Consequences of the disease
  • Anticipated effectiveness of the selected product(s)
  • Potential for adverse reactions to a vaccine(s)
  • Cost of immunization (time, labor and vaccine costs) vs. potential cost of disease (time out of competition; impact of movement restrictions imposed in order to control  an outbreak of contagious disease; labor and medication if, or when, horses develop clinical disease and require treatment, or loss of life.)

A good vaccination program is always recommended, however, it is important to realize that:

  • Vaccination alone, in the absence of good management practices directed at infection control, is not sufficient for the prevention of infectious disease.
  • Vaccination serves to minimize the risks of infection but cannot prevent disease in all circumstances.
  • The primary series of vaccines and booster doses should be appropriately administered prior to likely exposure.
  • Each horse in a population is not protected to an equal degree nor for an equal duration following vaccination.
  • Protection is not immediately afforded the patient after administration of a vaccine that is designed to induce active immunity. In most instances, a  priming series of multiple doses of a vaccine must be administered initially for that vaccine to induce protective active immunity.
  • All horses in a herd should be vaccinated at intervals based on the professional opinion of the attending veterinarian

Lyme Disease and your Dog

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. It is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group. Dominant clinical feature in dogs is recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. There may also be a lack of appetite and depression. More serious complications include damage to the kidney, and rarely heart or nervous system disease.

Symptoms and Types

Many dogs with Lyme disease have recurrent lameness of the limbs due to inflammation of the joints. Others, meanwhile, may develop acute lameness, which lasts for only three to four days but recurs days to weeks later, with lameness in the same leg, or in other legs. Better known as “shifting-leg lameness,” this condition is characterized by lameness in one leg, with a return to normal function, and another leg is then involved; one or more joints may be swollen and warm; a pain response is elicited by feeling the joint; responds well to antibiotic treatment.Some dogs may also develop kidney problems. If left untreated, it may lead to glomerulonephritis, which causes inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney’s glomeruli (essentially, a blood filter). Eventually, total kidney failure sets in and the dog begins to exhibit such signs as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, fluid buildup in the abdomen and fluid buildup in the tissues, especially the legs and under the skin.

Other symptoms associated with Lyme disease include:

  • Stiff walk with an arched back
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever, lack of appetite, and depression may accompany inflammation of the joints
  • Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen
  • Heart abnormalities are reported, but rare; they include complete heart block
  • Nervous system complications (rare)

Treatment

If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient, unless its health condition is severe. There are a number of antibiotics from which to choose. It is important that you keep your dog warm and dry, and you will need to control its activity until the clinical signs have improved. The recommended period for treatment is four weeks. Your veterinarian is unlikely to recommend dietary changes. Do not use pain medications unless they have been recommended by your veterinarian. Unfortunately, symptoms do not always completely resolve in some animals. In fact, long-term joint pain may continue even after the bacteria has been fully eradicated from your dog’s system.

Prevention

A variety of sprays, collars, and spot-on topical products are available to kill and repel ticks. Such products should only be used according to the label’s directions. In addition there are vaccines available for dogs; talk to your veterinarian about its availability and whether it is right for your dog.

Dental tips for your Dog

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With rare exceptions, puppies are born without teeth. The first teeth to erupt are the incisors, at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Next are the canines and premolars. The last premolar erupts at about 8 to 12 weeks of age. As a rule, the teeth of larger breeds erupt sooner than those of smaller breeds. The average puppy has 28 deciduous (temporary or baby) teeth. The deciduous teeth remain for only three to seven months.  Starting at about 3 months the first permanent teeth start to come in. By 7 to 8 months of age, a puppy should have all the adult teeth.

We all know bad breath—also known as halitosis—when we smell it. Bad breath is the result of a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs or gut. Persistent bad breath can indicate that your dog needs better dental care or that something is wrong in his gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. In all cases, halitosis is a red flag that should be investigated. Most often, bad breath is caused by dental or gum disease, and certain dogs—particularly small ones—are especially prone to plaque and tartar. However, persistent bad breath can also indicate larger medical problems in the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract or organs.

Taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:

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  • First get your dog used to the idea of having the teeth brushed. Massage the lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to the teeth and gums.
  • When your pet seems comfortable with just having your fingers massaging the teeth and gums, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste on the lips to get them used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs-it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to the teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog’s gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt the gums.

Ask us about a specially formulated dry food, treats, or dental chews that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.

Merry Christmas…

When Christmas time approaches it’s easy (and fun sometimes) to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. But before you do, it’s a good idea to consider your pets at this time of year, and make sure you’re doing all you can to give them a happy—and a safe—holiday season. We want the holidays to be a happy time for you and your pet, not a time for an emergency visit to your veterinarian.

  • If you plan on having a Christmas tree in your home there are a few things that you should remember. For instance, tinsel should be avoided because your pet may think that it is a toy to play with and they may accidentally swallow and choke on the tiny strings. In addition, do not decorate your tree with popcorn or other food items and remove all edible gifts from under the tree.You should also try to hang small and breakable ornaments out of your pet’s reach. Do not place chemicals in your tree’s water. It may keep your tree fresh longer, but it can prove very harmful to your pets. Do not allow your pet to drink the tree’s water because it can get dirty very quickly  and many pine needles fall into the water dish. A tight-fitting tree skirt over the tree stand may help to prevent this. Always make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water in his/her own dish at all times.
  • Electric window displays and lights are very inviting, not only to you and your neighborhood, but to your curious pets as well. Make sure that all of your electrical connections and outlets are secured and concealed. Tape electrical cords to the walls or floors to ensure that your pet will not chew on them.
  • Holiday plants, such as poinsettias, amaryllis, mistletoe, and holly may add beauty to your home, but they are very poisonous to your pets. If these plants are ingested, they may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even more serious problems. If you purchase these items for your home, please make sure that they are out of your pet’s reach.
  • After you have had your fill of holiday turkey, ham, chicken, and/or roast beef make sure you throw those bones away – do not give them to your pet! You might think that you are giving them a treat, but actually you may be threatening their health. Bones can splinter easily and cause damage to your pet’s throat and intestines. Bones can also become lodged in your pet’s throat, which may result in your pet not being able to breathe.
  • You should also avoid feeding your pet chocolate, candy, and cookies, which can be toxic to their health. Feeding your pet these products can result in extreme vomiting and can make your pet very sick. If you want to give your pet a special treat then try changing the way you feed them their regular pet food. Adding water or broth to dry food or mixing in canned food makes a great treat and it is much healthier for your pet. Do not feed your pet high-fat foods, such as gravy and dressing, which can cause serious stomach upsets. You should make sure that your guests know not to feed your pet as well.
  • After your gifts are opened, quickly dispose of all plastic wrappings, ribbons, and bows that can be easily swallowed by curious pets.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving With Your Pet

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We hope you have a happy holiday season with your pets! ‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Everyone wants to make sure their pets feel included in the holiday along with everyone else. However pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink. Eating to many treats or table scraps can make your pet seriously ill as well.

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer them raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving them raw bread dough. When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

* Information courtesy of the ASPCA Website: http://www.aspca.org

Cold Weather Tips

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Brr….. It is supposed to be cold outside as winter has arrived in our area. We want to wish you a fun filled time as you bundle up and head out to play in the snow with your pets. Don’t forget your pet can be affected by the cold as well, frostbite doesn’t just happen to people.  Some pets remain outdoors all year round.  Make sure these animals have a draft free shelter with clean, dry bedding they can make a nest in.  The water supply should be checked regularly to ensure it is not frozen and they may need an increase in their food ration when it is really cold outside.

Suggestions For The Cold…

  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

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  • Consider keeping your indoor/outdoor cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze and sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. More information can be found at ASPC Animal Poison Control Center.

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Fall Safety Tips

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The brisk fall weather is here and there has even been a touch of snow to warn us that winter weather is fast approaching. The cooler weather is a relief from the hot summer days, but as the days shorten and cold weather approaches don’t forget to help keep your pet safe and warm as well. This is still a great time to get outside and enjoy a walk with your pet or spend some quality time outdoors.

  • Rodent Watch!The use of rodenticides increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.
  • Back To School!It’s back-to-school time, and those of you with young children know that means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paw’s reach.
  • Car Coolant!Many people choose fall as the time to change their car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.
  • Mushroom Danger!Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.
  • Trick or Treat: No chocolate for dogs! There are several foods that you should never feed your dog. Number one on that list is chocolate, which is toxic and can lead to severe illness and sometimes death. Instruct your kids and any visitors that they are not to give chocolate to your dog. Keep the candy and goody bags out of reach of the dog.
  • Thanksgiving Feast! Holiday meals can pose a medical threat for your pet. Chicken and turkey bones can get stuck or can pierce holes in any portion of the digestive tract. Rich foods can cause sudden pancreatitis or bloat. Keep holiday meals, leftovers and table scraps out of reach of your pet.

Common Cat Myths

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Without whiskers, does a cat lose all sense of balance?
Cats use their whiskers as “feelers,” but not to maintain balance. How a cat positions its whiskers can also be an indication of mood. Whatever you do, don’t cut a cat’s whiskers or pull on them. Whiskers are rooted deep in the skin where nerve endings are abundant.

Cats should drink cows milk everyday.
We’ve all seen the cute image of a kitten lapping milk from a dish. Most cats do love the taste of dairy, but they certainly don’t need it to be healthy. Moreover, many cats are lactose intolerant, and giving them milk, cream or ice cream can result in gastric upset. It is better to feed a well-balanced nutrition formulated specifically for cats. Save the milk for your cereal.

Brushing a cat’s teeth is silly.

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Well actually, your cat will have the last laugh when his breath makes your eyes water. Routinely brushing your cat’s teeth not only freshens breath, it also limits the risk of oral disease and gives you a chance to notice anything unusual happening to teeth and gums. Seriously, don’t brush off brushing. It can make your cat more pleasant to be around and help prevent an array of serious health problems down the road. Ask your veterinarian for help getting started.

Cats always land on their feet.
Because cats have a flexible musculoskeletal system and a “righting reflex” that allows them to twist their bodies in the air, most cats who fall from high places are able to orient themselves to land on their feet. Shorter-distance falls, however, have a lower survival rate. In any case, even cats who land on their feet after a fall can suffer broken bones and serious injuries.

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Cats are happier and healthier when they are outdoors.
This is not necessarily true. Many cats are happy being outside at certain times, especially when the weather is good. However, during bad weather, they would prefer to be inside. Nevertheless, outdoor cats are definitely not healthier than those that remain indoors. The average lifespan of strictly outdoor cats is estimated to be approximately 1 year of age; indoor-outdoor cats about 3-6 years and indoor only cats have an average lifespan closer to 13-15 years.

Pregnant women shouldn’t own cats

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Some cats can be infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause a disease called toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women can get toxoplasmosis from handling cat waste, and babies born to mothers who become infected for the first time just before or during pregnancy can have serious health problems. It sounds scary; however, pregnant women can own cats if they take a few simple precautions. Ideally, someone else should clean the cat’s litter box. If that’s not possible, pregnant women should wear disposable gloves, clean the litter-box daily, and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water afterward.