Archive for Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pet talk

Timely vaccinations save pets

October 1, 2008

On a recent Saturday, I was given cause to ponder why we vaccinate our pets. In these two clinical cases presented to us, both could have been prevented by routine vaccination of the pets. In both cases, the owner had either not vaccinated or allowed them to lapse.

Case No. 1 was seen early that Saturday morning and involved a young puppy who was vomiting round worms. As the week progressed, the owner gave a premium dewormer purchased at a local department store. The puppy didn’t improve through the week, stopped eating and grew lethargic. Upon exam, this puppy was tested for Parvo virus and was positive for the virus.

The outcome was surprising as there is no cure for Parvo virus gastroenteritis. After intravenous fluids, antibiotic and hospitalization over the weekend, the patient was released to the owners. Now, mind you, a routine vaccination and deworming of this puppy is critical at starting at 6 weeks of age and continuing every three weeks until 16 weeks. Deworming these of pups and purifying the intestines of worms is also important. The deworming and vaccinating of puppies costs a fraction of the cost of treatment in this case, much less the high risk of death which occurs often with Parvo virus.

Case No. 2 involves three apparently healthy, backyard dogs who live in town. That Saturday evening, my wife and I were at dinner with friends when I got a call. My client was very concerned as a bat had been cornered by her dogs. She didn’t know if any had been bitten, but most likely the bat had bitten one if not all the dogs as it was still alive.

We met Sunday morning, as the dogs were fine, but their immunity to rabies virus had lapsed. The dogs were vaccinated immediately. The still alive, but wounded bat was caught and frozen at the clinic freezer to preserve it for rabies testing at KSU Diagnostic Labs.

We will report later as to the results. It is our hope the bat is negative for the virus. In August, a bat was found to be carrying the rabies virus in Overland Park. That same month, a horse was found to be infected and euthanized in Cass County Folks. Rabies is a human health concern. We can get Rabies. We vaccinated our pets at this clinic once a year because of this eminent threat exists and has since we opened in 1985.

We need to keep all pets including cats, dogs, horses, ferrets, etc. vaccinated annually. When you see a bat, leave it and call the office or the county sheriff. We can come and remove the animal and have it tested. Better safe than sorry.

Why vaccinate? It is your duty as a pet owner, homeowner and a family member. We are our animal’s keeper. They cannot make appointments, so you must.

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