Tiffany Hills Animal Hospital

veterinary medicine

Vaccinations for Dogs and Cats

Vaccines have been around for a long time. The term “vaccine” comes from the Latin word “vacca” which means cow. It was discovered that cowpox virus protected people from small pox infections. The first experimental vaccine was taking cowpox pustules and rubbing them onto people to prevent small pox.Boy have we come a long way in preventing diseases. When it comes to vaccinating our pets, there has to be several considerations taken into account.

  1. Is the disease endemic or epidemic in the pet’s area? Is the disease prevalent?
  2. How is the disease transmitted?
  3. Is the vaccine safe? Are there any side effects?
  4. What is the efficacy of the vaccine? Are most vaccinated pets protected after the vaccine?
  5. How dangerous is the disease?
  6. How is the vaccine administered?
  7. What is the frequency for boosters?

This is basically called a risk assessment. Each pet has their own unique environment and considerations. There is a big difference between a pet that lives completely indoors versus a pet that lives outdoors all the time. There is a difference between the multi-pet households and the single pet households. The pets that go to grooming, boarding, day care, or shows have a higher exposure to diseases. Pets in shelters probably have the highest risk of all. All the circumstances must be taken into consideration.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitioners have vaccine recommendations. The vaccines are broken down into core and noncore.

Dog core vaccinations are canine distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. The noncore canine vaccines are leptospirosis, giardia, cornavirus, bordetella, and Lyme’s.

Cat core vaccinations are panleukopenia (distemper), feline viral respiratory disease complex (rhinotracheitis and calicivirus), and rabies. The noncore vaccines for cats are feline leukemia, feline immunodificiency virus, chlamydia, and bordetella,

The core vaccinations are for all pets, no matter their living circomstances. The noncore vaccines require a risk assessment. For example, canine bordetella vaccine is highly recommend for grooming, boarding, show, and/or shelters situations. Feline leukemia vaccine is highly recommended for outside cats and catteries.

In summary, pet vaccines have been around for many years. I have vaccinated many pets since 1979. And I have had some reactions with vaccines. I have also seen a lot of disease during that time that could have been prevented. I’ll take the low probability of a vaccine problems versus the diseases they prevent anytime. Talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s risk.


Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob

The patient behind my left shoulder is on an extreme diet.

Vomiting and/or Diarrhea in Dogs

What a glamorous first blog article, but this time a year I daily talk to at least 10 people concerning this symptom. Dogs are scavengers, constantly searching for that next tasty morsel. Their motto, ” Eat first, question later”. Luckily dogs have a safety valve, a hair-trigger vomit/diarrhea reaction. If that consumed substance does not belong down there, then the gut’s reaction is to get it out and either end will do. Nearly 100% of all vomiting and/or diarrhea cases involves ingestion of something that did not react well with the pet’s digestive system.

 Why this time of year for so many cases of gastroenteritis? The temperatures are getting warmer, the plants are growing, varmints are scurrying about, why it is a food pantry out there.

The are numerous symptoms to be on the lookout. The dog’s appetite is off or gone. The owner may here the pet’s intestines gurgling. The pet may have excessive gas. And, the obvious signs are vomiting and/or diarrhea. Vomiting is the worse symptom, it can lead to dehydration.

What to do with your sick pet?

  1. Take off all food for a minimum of 24 hours, your pet will not want to eat if he/she feels sick and nauseated. Trying to feed them makes the problem worse.
  2. Give your pet liquid Pepto-bismol or Kaopectate. 1 teaspoon per 10lbs every 4-6 hours. Continue for two to three days.
  3. After the fasting period, try a small amount of cooked rice or pasta. If your pet eats the meal, hold off for 12 hours before trying a little more.
  4. Feed the rice/pasta for 5 days.
  5. After 5 days mix the pet’s regular food in with the rice/pasta.

This is a general treatment for most pet’s gastroenteritis. Here are the exceptions:

  1. Older compromised patients, take them to your veterinarian the first day.
  2. Very young small breed puppies, take them to your veterinarian the first day.
  3. If the vomiting persists more than 36 hours, take them to your veterinarian.
  4. Known ingestion of large object that could obstruct your pet’s bowels.
  5. If in doubt, take your pet to their veterinarian.

Lastly, try to figure out what caused the gastroenteritis and eliminate it. Dogs are very intelligent, but for some reason that do not learn from their gastric conquests and will become repeat offenders.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Bob