Posts Tagged ‘vaccination’

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.

Why are we talking about Lyme Disease in April? In spring and summer, a stage of deer tick called the nymph [between larval stage and adult stage] is feeding on blood and is able to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.
Nymphs are tiny — about the size of a poppy seed — and are fast-moving and difficult to detect. For this reason, they tend to go unnoticed longer and are able to attach to your pet [or you] long enough to transmit disease.

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, Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends year-round tick control, like the Seresto collar or Nexgard chewables. 

 Contact Us with your questions about Lyme Disease.

Bonus Content: How to safely remove ticks from your pet


Originally posted on April 26, 2016. [Links and information updated.]

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Warmer days are on the way, and you’ll soon be spending more time outdoors with your pets. That means protecting your dogs and cats from ticks — a little pest that can cause big problems.

Remember: you can protect your dog inside and out with tick preventatives and the Lyme Disease vaccine. (Cats do not receive the Lyme vaccine.)

If your dog is not up-to-date on the Lyme Disease vaccine, Contact Us to schedule a visit.

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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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