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Posts Tagged ‘vaccination’

Veterinary Wellness Exams Lower Overall Pet Costs According to Nationwide Data

One of the costliest aspects of being a pet owner is providing proper veterinary care when medical issues arise. A great way to take a bite out of veterinary expenses without shortchanging your pet’s health is to provide preventive care with annual comprehensive wellness examinations. To show the potential savings that wellness care can provide, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted through its database of more than 600,000 insured pets to determine cost savings associated with the most common preventive dog and cat conditions. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive veterinary care:

Dental Diseases:

Examples: Tooth infection or cavity; periodontal disease.

Average cost per pet to treat: $391

Average cost per pet to prevent: $180

Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing your pet’s teeth, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is having your pet’s teeth cleaned by a veterinary professional. This annual cleaning will remove plaque buildup and tartar before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. It’s recommended that pets have their teeth checked by a veterinarian every six to 12 months.

 

External Parasites:

Examples: Lyme disease transmitted by ticks; and allergic dermatitis caused by fleas.

Average cost per pet to treat: $244

Average cost per pet to prevent: $121

Prevention tips: Use preventive flea and tick medications as recommended by your veterinarian. Keep your pet and home environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and contact your veterinarian if fleas and ticks are spotted.

 

Internal Parasites:

Examples: Heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms and Giardia.

Average cost per pet to treat: $207

Average cost per pet to prevent: $35

Prevention tips: Annual fecal exams and preventive medications, can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation. Keep your pet and your home environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet’s feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet ventures outside your home. 

 

Infectious Diseases:

Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus.

Average cost per pet to treat: $841

Average cost per dog to prevent using core vaccines: $94

Average cost per cat to prevent using core vaccines: $81

Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol recommended by your veterinarian may include additional vaccines based on your pet’s exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc.). 

 

Reproductive Organ Diseases:

Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia.

Average cost per pet to treat: $609

Average cost per pet to prevent: $323

Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.

 

Respiratory Infections:

Examples: Tracheobronchitis or kennel cough; feline upper respiratory virus

Average cost per pet to treat: $190

Average cost per dog to prevent: $24

Average cost per cat to prevent: $21

Prevention tips: The Bordatella vaccination as recommended by your veterinarian.

“Seeking a veterinarian’s recommendation for wellness care not only saves pet owners money, but also helps prevent our pets from unnecessary, painful ailments,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “The cornerstone of good veterinary care has always been catching diseases early. I strongly recommend that pet owners schedule routine wellness examinations with their local veterinarian. Being proactive is in your pet’s best interest.”

Nationwide’s newest and most popular pet health insurance plan, Whole Pet with Wellness®, is the only pet insurance plan in the United States that includes wellness care in its base plan, with coverage for procedures such as spay/neuter, vaccinations, dental cleanings, flea/tick medications, heartworm medication and prescription pet food.*

*Whole Pet with Wellness will cover 90% of eligible veterinary expenses after the annual deductible is met. To learn more about pet health insurance plans and coverage, go to www.petinsurance.com

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 600,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

 

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April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is an illness caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which are carried in the midgut of deer ticks and transmitted to dogs through a tick bite. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include lameness that shifts from leg to leg, swollen joints, lack of appetite, depression, fever, difficulty breathing. As the disease progresses, it can cause serious injury to the dog’s kidneys.

How do dogs get Lyme Disease? When a deer tick carrying B. burgdorferi feeds on a dog for at least 48 hours, the bacteria are “awakened” and travel out of the tick’s midgut, into the dog’s bloodstream, through the site of the tick bite. 

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

This is not a deer tick, but it is a well-fed tick.

Here’s where it gets a little technical: While the bacteria, B. burgdorferi, resides in the tick’s gut, they are protected by a special coating called Outer Surface Protein A (OspA).  A dog that is vaccinated for Lyme Disease has — circulating in its blood — antibodies to OspA. When the tick ingests the blood, the OspA antibodies travel to the tick’s midgut and attack the B. burgdorferi there — before they’ve had a chance to awaken and mobilize.

So, rather than the vaccine-induced antibodies attacking an organism that has already entered the dog’s body, they instead attack the organisms outside the dog’s body, while still in the host. That is why we — cheekily — refer to it as “vaccinating the tick.”

Think of Lyme Disease vaccine as the vaccine that stops an organism before it reaches your pet: like an invisible force field! Pretty cool, huh?

But remember: deer ticks and other ticks can transmit nasty diseases in addition to Lyme Disease. There is no vaccine (yet) for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis (and the list goes on.) For that reason, we recommend year-round tick control, like the Seresto collar. Stop those little pests cold!

Ready to vaccinate your dog against Lyme Disease? Contact Us to schedule an appointment.

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A Rabies vaccination is a lifesaver for your pet — and it’s the law. Life is unpredictable — add wild or stray animals into the mix, and it can become downright chaotic at times.  You can’t control what happens to your pet all the time, but you can work toward better outcomes. Keeping your dog and cat up-to-date on Rabies boosters is just one way to protect your pets from an unexpected, aggressive animal encounter.

It looks cute - but this raccoon could be harboring a deadly virus. Photo by Gaby Muller.

It looks cute – but this raccoon could be harboring a deadly virus.
Photo by Gaby Muller.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease. It is transmitted through saliva (i.e. through biting) and travels through the nerves to the brain. Keep in mind that a pet cannot be tested for Rabies while alive. The test is conducted on the brain tissue of a deceased animal, only. For this reason, once a pet is bitten by an animal suspected of carrying Rabies, the pet is either quarantined and monitored closely for signs of disease (if its vaccine is current) or euthanized and tested for the virus (if the vaccine is lapsed or was never given.) In other words, if your pet is kept current on its vaccination, it is more likely to be spared from automatic euthanasia.

Rabies is considered a zoonotic health risk, since it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The laws requiring Rabies vaccination for dogs and cats are meant to benefit humans, as well. Even if you consider your pet to be 100% indoors-only, it still must receive the vaccination, under the law. Presumably, your pet leaves the house at least once a year to visit the veterinarian. An animal encounter can occur in your yard or at the doctor’s office. Or your pet may unexpectedly escape from the house and tangle with another animal. Or perhaps a member of your household will bring a new pet home, without knowing its vaccine or disease-exposure history.

Check your pet’s Rabies vaccine status now. Notice when it is due — or if it is overdue, call your veterinarian to schedule a booster. Don’t wait: you never know when trouble is hiding just around the corner.

Rabies cases reported this year in:
Norfolk…………………raccoon
Suffolk………………….raccoon
Virginia Beach………otter, raccoon, raccoon

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Photo of raccoon by Gaby Müller, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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You might guess that visible injuries are the scariest result when two neighborhood cats have a tussle. But it may be something unseen — like a virus that attacks the immune system — that packs the nastiest punch.

IDEXX Laboratories reports that Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) “kill more cats than any other disease.” Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are at risk of developing one or both of these non-curable diseases. Even indoor cats can be exposed if they have physical contact with cats allowed to go outdoors.

     Check this list to see if your cat is at risk for either FeLV or FIV:

  • it is allowed outside the house
  • it is a male cat
  • it fights with other cats
  • it has not been neutered
  • it has not been vaccinated for FeLV
  • it lives in a multi-cat household
  • it is an indoor cat, but has contact with an outdoor cat
  • it has a fever, weight loss, gingivitis, or other symptoms
  • it has an unknown or untested mother
  • it is from a cattery, pet store, or breeder

How do the viruses make cats sick? Both FeLV and FIV attack the cat’s immune system, so it is less able to fight off other diseases. Illnesses that would otherwise be controlled by a healthy immune system can instead be fatal to a cat infected with immune-suppressing disease.

How are FeLV and FIV spread?
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) 
is often spread through contact with an infected cat’s saliva, such as through sharing food and water bowls, mutual grooming, or through a bite wound. It can also be spread through urine and feces deposited in the litter box.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) lives in the blood of the infected cat and is typically transmitted through bite or scratch wounds. That’s why cats that fight are at high risk for developing FIV.
800px-Gato_Barraña_Galicia_2

Can people get Feline Leukemia or FIV? People are not known to be at risk for these diseases. So far, only cats have been affected.

What are symptoms of FeLV or FIV?

  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • poor coat condition
  • loss of appetite755px-Hannibal_Poenaru_-_Nasty_cat_!_(by-sa)
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration
  • mouth sores

Is there a test for FeLV or FIV? Yes, cats can be tested for both diseases. If the tests are negative, we recommend vaccinating against Leukemia and limiting your cat’s potential exposure to disease by keeping it indoors.

What if my cat tests “positive”? Since cats with FeLV and FIV have weakened immune systems, it is important to avoid opportunities for exposure to illness. Keep your cat indoors and on a healthy diet with plenty of fresh water available. Try to provide a stress-free environment. Schedule yearly check-ups with the veterinarian and practice early intervention if you see signs of illness. Keeping your cat indoors will also limit its ability to spread the disease. If you have other cats in the household, have them tested and vaccinated accordingly.

The good news about Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is that they are preventable diseases. You can control your cat’s exposure level by keeping it indoors and vaccinated. Remember, though, each time a new cat is introduced to the household, it has the potential of bringing an illness with it. Ask your veterinarian about testing and prevention.

Some information from this article was borrowed from IDEXX Laboratories’ publications.

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Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image 1. Image 2.
This post originally appeared on December 20, 2010.

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     You may have brought your “outdoor” cats in for the winter, but have you considered keeping the cats indoors year-round?  IDEXX Laboratories reports that Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) “kill more cats than any other disease.”  Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are at risk of developing one or both of these non-curable diseases.  Even indoor cats can be exposed if they have physical contact with cats allowed to go outdoors.

     Check this list to see if your cat is at risk for either FeLV or FIV:

  • it is allowed outside the house
  • it is a male cat
  • it fights with other cats
  • it has not been neutered
  • it has not been vaccinated for FeLV
  • it lives in a multi-cat household
  • it is an indoor cat, but has contact with an outdoor cat
  • it has a fever, weight loss, gingivitis, or other symptoms
  • it has an unknown or untested mother
  • it is from a cattery, pet store, or breeder

How do the viruses make cats sick?     Both FeLV and FIV attack the cat’s immune system, so it is less able to fight off other diseases.  Illnesses that would otherwise be controlled by a healthy immune system can instead be fatal to a cat infected with immune-suppressing disease.

How are FeLV and FIV spread?     Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is often spread through contact with an infected cat’s saliva, such as through sharing food and water bowls, mutual grooming, or through a bite wound.  It can also be spread through urine and feces deposited in the litter box.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) lives in the blood of the infected cat and is typically transmitted through bite or scratch wounds.  That’s why cats that fight are at high risk for developing FIV.

Can people get Feline Leukemia or FIV?     People are not known to be at risk for these diseases.  So far, only cats have been affected.

What are symptoms of FeLV or FIV?    

  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • poor coat condition
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration
  • mouth sores

Is there a test for FeLV or FIV?     Yes, cats can be tested for both diseases.  If the tests are negative, we recommend vaccinating against Leukemia and limiting your cat’s potential exposure to disease by keeping it indoors.

What if my cat tests positive?     Since cats with FeLV and FIV have weakened immune systems, it is important to avoid opportunities for exposure to illness.  Keep your cat indoors and on a healthy diet with plenty of fresh water available.  Try to provide a stress-free environment.  Schedule yearly check-ups with the veterinarian and practice early intervention if you see signs of illness.  Keeping your cat indoors will also limit its ability to spread the disease.  If you have other cats in the household, have them tested and vaccinated accordingly.

     The good news about Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is that they are preventable diseases.  You can control your cat’s exposure level by keeping it indoors and vaccinated.  Remember, though, each time a new cat is introduced to the household, it has the potential of bringing an illness with it.  Ask your veterinarian about testing and prevention.  ~~  Jen

Some information from this article was borrowed from IDEXX Laboratories’ publications.

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So you’re going to visit Charlie, Linus, and the gang for the same old Thanksgiving dinner of buttered toast, jellybeans, and popcorn.  You do it every year.  And every year it’s dull as dishwater.  You decide to find a way to make this trip more exciting. Then it hits you:  what could be more exciting than driving 668 miles with a screaming cat in the car?

That’s right – this installment is all about Taking Your Pet With You (subtitle:  Great Idea or Medieval Form of Torture for You Both?)

Travel by Auto

Research rest stops and pet-friendly hotels along your route, if the drive is a long one. 

Stop every two hours to stretch, eat, and use the bathroom; it’s good for you and your pet.  This gets tricky if you’re traveling alone, because pets should not be left in cars in extreme temperatures.  So do you bring your pet with you into the restroom and use the handicapped stall for its roominess?  No one has ever told me what s/he does in this case.  If you have personal experience, please mention it in the Comments section.

Bring a sturdy harness and leash (this goes for cats, too) so you can exercise your pet at rest stops.

Identify your pet through ID tags and a microchip.  Add a cell phone number to the info, so you can be reached on the road if the worst should happen and your pet escapes.

Pack pet dishes, food and water, medications, and a favorite toy or blanket.

Remember to bring a litterbox for the cat and plastic bags to dispose of pet waste.

Also pack a crate if your crate-trained dog can’t sleep without one.

Transport your cat in a roomy hard-sided cat carrier.  Your cat should not be allowed to roam the car while you drive.  (For reference, see “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor.)

Invest in a canine seat belt/harness combo to protect your dog during the ride.

Use caution when tranquilizing a pet.  Some pets (especially cats) become more fractious when under the influence of tranquilizers.

Look into organic non-drug supplements to calm pets; many pet stores sell homeopathic remedies for anxiety and upset.

Make a copy of your pet’s vaccination records and any pertinent medical history and bring it along.

Crossing the border?  Canada and Mexico may require a health certificate and proof of Rabies vaccination, at the least.  Gather all necessary documents before you hit the road.

Information on bringing pets to Canada and Mexico can be found here.

Travel by Plane – Domestic Flight

You will need to bring:

Interstate Health Certificate*;

Proof of Rabies vaccination;

Crate or hard-sided carrier meeting airline size requirements, labeled with your contact information and a description of your pet;

Any needed medications in the original labeled vials;

ID tags;

Small supply of pet food for a long flight;

Any other item the airline requires.

*Hawaii also requires microchip ID, 2 Rabies vaccines and Rabies titer testing.  Pets that do not meet the qualifications are quarantined for 120 days.

(See http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/aqs-checklist-5.pdf)

Don’t bother with:

Tranquilizers – airlines today deny boarding to tranquilized pets due to the increased risk of death or injury.

Find out:

Whether your pet will fly in a climate-controlled bay;

Whether your pet will be left unattended at any time during a multi-leg flight.

For more on US state requirements for importing pets, click here.

Travel by Plane – International Flight

Contact the embassy or official website of your destination country to learn its import and quarantine regulations and to download travel forms.

Most items listed under Domestic Flight apply, with a few additions:

International Health Certificate, rather than Interstate Certificate;

Foreign-language Health Certificate, specific to the country to which your pet is traveling;

Microchip ID (bring a scanner if your pet’s chip cannot be universally scanned).

Some countries have highly specific and somewhat complicated terms for avoiding quarantine, including specific timing of Rabies vaccination and Rabies titer testing.

Some countries may also require proof of flea, tick, and tapeworm treatment prior to arrival.

Careful research and adequate preparation time will prevent your pet being quarantined or even denied entry at the border.

For more on bringing pets to foreign countries, click here.

Next:  Holiday Travel Series Part IV:  Vaccinations

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In Part 1 of the Holiday Travel Series, we explored the option of hiring a pet-sitter to provide in-home pet care, so that your dog or cat can remain in its preferred environment while you’re away.  Another option is to place your pet at a boarding kennel.  Many kennels offer a cozy home-away-from-home experience for their charges.

 A kennel might be right for your pet if

1)  your pet suffers separation anxiety (SA):  A pet with untreated SA can destroy a room or a whole house when left alone.

2)  your pet needs constant entertainment:  Even if your pet does not have SA, it still may prefer the stimulation of an active environment.

3)  your pet requires nursing care:  A veterinary hospital which offers on-site boarding is your best option.

4)  you are uncomfortable allowing unsupervised access to your home.

How do I pick the right kennel?

Recommendations  Ask your veterinarian, friends, family, and neighbors which kennels they recommend.  Then consider…

Location  Is it important to you that the kennel be nearest your house?  Nearest the airport?  Sometimes the kennel that impresses you most is out in the country.  Since your pet’s first boarding experience will require you to make at least three trips (inspection, drop-off, pick-up), determine whether you are happy to make the drive.  If the location is especially remote, you may not be able to retrieve your pet until the day after your return, which will generate an extra day’s boarding fee.

Services  How often are the pets exercised?  Are dogs allowed outside?  Are pets kept separate from each other or will they have contact with other boarders?  Are pets groomed before going home?  Does a staff member stay overnight?  Is emergency veterinary care available?  Bonus – one local kennel offers a pet pick-up and delivery service while another sports a webcam so that pet owners can check in on their “babies” while out of town.

Policies  Visit the kennel’s website to research their requirements.  Some facilities want to meet your pet and evaluate its temperament first.  All kennels require up-to-date vaccinations.  Find out how much food to bring and whether to pack bedding, toys and food bowls.

Call early  Kennels have a finite number of cages and runs and they cannot just “double up” (i.e. put random pets together in cages.)  For this reason, you should start your search 1-2 months ahead of your trip.  “Reputable boarding facilities usually book for holidays typically 4 weeks in advance,” reports Jessica Molina, Manager at Bayside Kennels (www.baysidekennels.com).   In fact, Bayside has already filled its available indoor/outdoor runs as of November 1st.  Remember, many people leave town during the holidays and they’re competing against you for kennel reservations.  Don’t wait until the last minute to call.

Tour  Kennels offer tours for prospective clients.  See where your pet will be staying while you’re gone.  You won’t stay in a shady motel if you can help it, right?  Right.  So check out Fido’s “motel” before you hit the road.

How do I make the kennel’s job easier?

Familiarize yourself with the kennel’s policies, rates, and hours of operation (especially drop-off and pick-up hours) in order to head off misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Update your pet’s vaccinations as required by the kennel and furnish the records.

Provide food and medication in the amount and packaging required by the kennel.  Make sure all items are clearly labeled with your name and the pet’s name.  Consider adding your pet’s breed or some other identifier to the items, just in case another Mrs. Tom Jones is also boarding a cat named “Claws von Bulow.”

Also provide collar or harness, leash, and ID tags.

Leave as many contact numbers as you can muster (in case of emergencies) and take the kennel’s info with you (in case of travel delays.)

Notify your veterinarian that your pet will be staying at the kennel and ask whether a pre-boarding examination and fecal test are recommended.

Respect the kennel’s space limitations and rates.  It is unlikely that you’ll get a discount by requesting that your multiple pets share a cage.

Call the kennel if you must cancel or postpone your reservation, so they can give the spot to someone else’s pet.

Cancel the reservation if your pet develops a contagious illness, including skin disease such as mange or ringworm.

I followed all the rules and my pet still got sick after boarding.  What’s the deal???

Cough:  Dogs can develop a cough after boarding, even if vaccinated for Parainfluenza & Adenovirus (part of the Distemper combo vaccine), Bordetella (aka Kennel Cough) and Canine Flu. 

It is important to understand that the vaccine’s purpose is to prepare the body to fight disease; the vaccine itself does not fight the invading organism.  A pet must have a healthy immune system to respond to the vaccine as designed and then fend off viruses and bacteria.  Unfortunately, not all dogs will develop a high level of immunity in response to a vaccine. 

Also, vaccines are not available for every infectious microorganism in existence.  Your pet could be exposed to a strain of disease for which there is no protection.  So why vaccinate?  Vaccinations are proven to reduce the spread of disease and to lessen the severity of symptoms in pets exposed to infectious agents.

Diarrhea:  Animals can develop stress-induced diarrhea due to a change in their environment or diet.  Ask your veterinarian whether probiotics are indicated for your pet.

Have your pet examined by its regular veterinarian if you suspect an illness is in the works.  A respiratory illness is not likely to go away on its own; in fact, it will likely worsen and cause your pet much physical and emotional stress.  (More on vaccines and illness in Part 4.)

That last answer worries me.  Does that mean I should never board my pet?

No.  If your pet is immune-compromised, look into a pet-sitter service.  Otherwise, keep in mind that hundreds of pets are kenneled all over Hampton Roads every day, and few of them end up sick due to kenneling. 

Special thanks to Jessica Molina of Bayside Kennels for kenneling advice and information.  Learn more about Bayside Kennels here.

Next:  Holiday Travel Series Part III – Taking Your Pet With You

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