“Vaccinations are still the foundation of preventive medicine for dogs and cats,” said Dr. Al Paredes.
Dr. Kevin Adney agrees; “Vaccinating a pet is considered to be a beneficial medical procedure by most veterinarians trained in the science of canine and feline medicine. Vaccinations, in fact, carry very little risk of adverse reactions in your pet. However, as with any medical protocol, the rare instance of an adverse reaction always exists.”
A large majority of the United States’ 90 million cats and 74.8 million dogs make at least a twice-yearly visit to the veterinarian. Those visits often include at least some vaccinations to keep the family pets from suffering from serious infectious diseases. We asked Dr. Al Paredes and Dr. Kevin Adney, Veterinarians in Palm Harbor, Florida about vaccines and protecting pets against the risk of disease.
Pet Vaccinations – How They Work
“Dog and cat vaccines protect your pets against disease by allowing pets to build up a protective immune response before exposure to the disease the vaccine protects against. There are a few different ways which vaccines function,” Dr. Paredes reported. “They typically provide
1) a killed form of the infectious agent which cannot cause the disease, or
2) a tiny portion of the infectious agent which, by itself, cannot cause the disease, or
3) a live, but modified form of the infectious agent which has been custom-made so that it does not produce disease.
All three of these types of vaccines allow the animal to react mildly to the vaccine in such a way that it provides protection to the pet against the actual disease itself. Some vaccines (such as the Bordetella vaccine) can cause mild symptoms of the disease in the pet for a short time, but also produce immunity against a much more serious case of the disease.”
Normal Pet Vaccinations Reactions
Dr. Adney stated, “An overwhelming majority of pets have no ill effects from the vaccinations at all, but it is not a cause for alarm if your pet has mild symptoms after vaccination. Symptoms may include:
lethargy and listlessness for a short time,
very mild fever,
mild swelling or discomfort at the site of the injection.”
Abnormal Pet Vaccinations Reactions
Dr. Richard B. Ford, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVPM (Hon) said at the 2008 ACVIM Forum* “Vaccination is, in fact, a medical procedure. Despite a relatively good safety record, there is always some degree of risk in administering biological agents in a dog or cat.”
Dr. Paredes and Dr. Adney concurred, saying, “In rare instances, a pet may suffer from an abnormal, allergic reaction after vaccination. Symptoms that warrant a return trip to the veterinarian pet clinic that administered the vaccine are:
itching or developing a rash or “hives”,
swelling of the face and/or eyelids
the formation of a specific type of tumor, known as a sarcoma (especially in cats.)”
Sarcomas are known to be extremely locally invasive and aggressive in nature. However, vaccination sarcomas are rare. The current estimate of vaccination caused sarcoma is less than 1 in 10,000 cats according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association by Drs. GE Moore et al (Vol. 231, 2007).
Good Reasons for Vaccinating Your Pets
Despite the fact that vaccinations can cause adverse reactions in some pets, many of the diseases routinely vaccinated against can, and do, cause serious and life-threatening disease in dogs and cats. Moreover, some of these diseases also pose a serious health risk to people. Protecting family pets against these diseases can also help to protect the pet owner themselves as well as the general public. “In some cases,” Dr. Paredes cautioned, “vaccines are mandated by law, as with vaccination against rabies.”
We offer very reasonably priced vaccination packages for dogs and cats. Call us at 727-785-7200 for pricing or visit our prices and special offers page at http://dayandeveningpetclinic.com/price-list/
Get our special offer discount coupons for vaccinations and spay neuter service at www.spaVet.com
People living in Florida, especially along the coastal areas, usually have a list of things to do and protect during hurricane season. Most important is the contents of a hurricane kit, but equally important is to prepare early for protecting your pets.
“A good practice is to start with,” said Dr. Adney at Day and Evening Pet Hospital, “is by calling our veterinarian clinic to make sure that your dogs’ and cats’ vaccines are up to date. Also, in case of an evacuation order, having a plan for boarding pets that you cannot take with you is essential. We can recommend such a place, as most emergency shelters will not accept pets.”
If an evacuation is called for, never leave your pet at home or in a vehicle alone. Even thunderstorms can traumatize your pet, and the risks of flooding, wind damage, and flying debris can threaten your pets. Like humans, your pets need their own storm preparedness kits. This can include:
1 – A comfortable carrier that will allow your pet to stand up, turn around and lay down for extended periods of time. Mark the carrier with your pet’s name and your contact information. Make sure the carrier is large enough so that being confined to the carrier for a few days is not too uncomfortable for your pet.
2 – A blanket or bed for the bottom of the carrier that is not so thick that it restricts air flow through the vents in the carrier..
3 – Medical records, medicines and other emergency supplies. For more information on this see our article on Handling Pet Emergencies.
4 – Food and water to last several days or a couple of weeks, stored in airtight containers. And dishes for both the food and water. Plastic milkl jugs that have been washed well are perfect for carrying water for your pet, and are easy to mark with your pet’s name.
5 – Collars, leashes and harnesses tagged with your pet’s name and your contact information.
6 – A microchip locator on each pet. We do inexpensive and painless insertions of a microchip at our pet clinic in Palm Harbor, and we are offering a special price for this at our clinic for the next several weeks. Call us at 727-785-7200 for pricing and mention you saw this article on our website blog on the internet.
7 – A favorite toy or chew bone to make your pet feel more at home in their carrier.
8 – A list of hotels/motels that you have called ahead of time to see if they accept pets in carriers in the rooms with hotel guests. Many of the privately owned hotels may make allowances for storm evacuation emergencies if you have a carrier that can confine your pet while in the guest room.
We can’t stop Mother Nature, but we can prepare for her worst by getting ready ahead of time, so when a violent storm does occur we are prepared to handle it and keep ourselves and our pets out of harm’s way. Having your hurricane kit as well as one for each pet will help keep trauma to a minimum and better ensure everyone’s safety.
“Many pets suffer from ear problems”, said Dr. Al Paredes, Veterinarian at Day And Evening Pet Clinic. The most common problems include ear tissue infection, ear mites, and chronic ear infections from a lack of regular cleaning.
Signs of Pet Ear Diseases
“The signs of ear diseases are easy to spot,” said Dr. Paredes. “If your pet’s ears have a bad odor, if they are scratching or rubbing their ears, shaking their head or tilting it to one side, check the ears for signs of discharge, swelling or redness in the ear canal, or painful areas around their ears.”
The Causes of Pet Ear Problems
Parasites are a common problem, but ear mites are generally seen in cats who will scratch at their ears. Mites are not generally seen in dogs’ ears.
Both dogs and cats can have problems due to allergies from something they inhaled, ate or touched. Allergies create changes inside the ear and we often see secondary infections in the ear caused by the initial allergy.
Yeast and bacteria can also cause infection, and they are often seen along with allergies, hormonal changes, or moisture in the ears. Ear cleaning alone may not take care of these, so a good antibiotic is sometimes recommended.
General ear cleaning on a regular basis can keep ear problems at bay. Have your pet’s ears checked when they are at the vet clinic for an exam, and ask us about ear cleaning solutions for your dog or cat to keep their ear problems to a minimum.
“A cat spraying problem is not typically a litter box issue,” says veterinarian Dr. Al Paredes. “Rather, it is usually a marking behavior which is a dominant nonverbal communication among cats.” Spraying [urine marking] can signal several different things; commonly to attract a mate or mark territories and boundaries. A cat’s urine contains pheromones, a substance produced by animals that is used for communication and identifies the cat.
While neutered male cats might spray when aroused, intact males have the greatest motivation to mark because of their mating and territorial agendas.
Intact female cats that are in heat can spray to signal potential mates, but they urine-mark more commonly from the squatting position.
Cats do not spray or mark things to irritate their owners. Cat spraying is instinctive genetic behavior that has helped cats survive and reproduce in the wild, and it cannot be bred out of domestic cats.
Many times, adjustments can be made in the home that can solve the problem, especially if you can recognize the purpose that the cat is spraying for – attracting a mate, marking a territory. If your cat is frequently and consistently spraying, here are some things that you can do:
Get an Exam from your veterinarian to eliminate the possibility of a medical problem.
Spay and Neuter – Talk with your vet about the advantages to you and about the health advantages to your cat. Many time the operation will stop the spraying behavior.
Eliminate the Cause If It Is Stress – If your pet is in a situation that puts it in conflict with other cats, or causes separation anxiety, attempt to identify and eliminate the cause of the stress to control the spraying behavior.
Clean up the spray marks – There are specially designed products available that neutralize the odor of the animals urine and clean off the stains. Avoid using household products that contain or smell like ammonia as the smell of ammonia simulates the smell of urine and can cause the cat to remark that same spot.
Use Pheromonal Sprays: They contain substances which discourage spraying behavior when it is applied to the areas the pet has sprayed.
Litter Boxes – Have an adequate number of litter boxes around the home and keep them clean
Restrict the view of other cats outside: It is natural response is to mark its territory when your cat sees another cat. If you can cover up the view of the outdoor area where other cats frequently can be seen by covering windows with blinds or shades and moving furniture away from the window to deny easy access to the view it can help cut down on the spraying behavior.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Cats can suffer from medical conditions that make them urinate outside the litter box. These medical conditions can be life threatening, so if you encounter this problem, call us at 727-785-7200 and bring your cat Day And Evening Pet Clinic right away to get an exam. Better to know for sure that it is just a typical cat spraying problem, especially when your beloved cat’s health is at stake.
Pet health care tip. The holidays are here, and festive Christmas tinsel, ribbons and strings of lights are up, or going up, in homes across the city. What do these items have in common?
“To your dogs and cats, these things are toys, and your pets don’t know that they are dangerous,” said Dr. Al Paredes, veterinarian at Day and Evening Pet Clinic in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Ingesting tinsel and ribbon can cause choking, and a string of lights that is plugged in can cause electrocution if your pet chews on them, and is a choking hazard as well with small plastic holders and light bulbs on the wires.
Likewise, ornaments of glass, metal, plastic, or paper with glitter or paint can be toxic, even deadly, if chewed and swallowed, and choking can occur on small sharp edged pieces.
Don’t tie ribbons around dog or cat treats and leave them under the tree. They will be found easily by your pet, and the ribbon and packaging can cause choking. Also, don’t hang Christmas stockings within reach of your pets. The things inside those stockings, like chocolate or candies containing Xylitol artificial sweeteners can be toxic to your pets, and the small gifts inside the stocking can be a choking or poison hazard to both dogs and cats.
Take precautions to watch your pet when they are around areas where decorations and gifts tied with ribbon can be easily reached. We want your holiday, and your pet’s holiday to be joyous and happy. Keep them in an area where they cannot get to the decorations and gifts when you are away from home or not able to watch out for them when you are busy.
If you suspect that your dog or cat has ingested something that can harm it, call us at Day And Evening Pet Clinic at 727-785-7200 and bring your pet in right away for an examination. We are here to help you when you need us.
Happy Holidays to you all,
Dr. Al Paredes & Staff