Preventive Medicine

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Canine Vaccines

 

Core Vaccines: DHP: Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvo & Rabies (3 year duration)
Optional Vaccines: Leptospirosis & Bordetella (1 year duration)

*Vaccines require a minimum of 2 weeks to provide protective immunity.

 Typical Vaccine Schedule:

 

8 weeks – DHP
12 weeks – DHP booster (+/- Lepto, Bordetella)
16 weeks – DHP booster + Rabies (+/- Lepto booster)
1 year later – DHP booster + Rabies booster (+/- Lepto booster, Bordetella)
Then, every 3 years for DHP/Rabies and every year for Lepto/Bordetella

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    Distemper virus

    Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease affecting carnivores (canines, raccoons, ferrets & weasels, bears, and even some cat species). Domestic dogs are the largest reservoir. It is characterized by systemic illness affecting the neurological system primarily, as well as gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin tissues, among others. Animals can shed the virus for months after infection.

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    Adenovirus

    Infectious Canine Hepatitis is caused by this virus, a contagious disease seen in many carnivore and marine mammal species. Disease can present as a mild fever or progress to severe and result in death. Thanks to routine vaccination, this disease is rarely encountered anymore.

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    Parvovirus

    A highly contagious and potentially fatal gastrointestinal disease, this is the most common viral disease encountered in unvaccinated puppies. Disease usually presents as severe vomiting and diarrhea requiring hospitalization, isolation and decontamination.

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    Rabies

    Rabies is a viral neurologic disease primarily affecting carnivores and bats, and is always fatal once signs appear. Any mammal can contract the disease. Certain municipalities require rabies vaccinations for all domestic pets, so be sure to check your local requirements (Northumberland county does not). If you are travelling to the United States, you need to have an up to date rabies certificate to prove your pet is protected against rabies. If your pet is not up to date, or a new puppy, the US requires rabies vaccines within a MINIMUM of 30 days prior to travel.

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    Leptospirosis

    Leptospira is a bacteria that can cause acute kidney and/or liver failure in dogs. There are many different variants of the leptospira bacteria and the vaccines typically protect against the 4 most common. Wildlife and dogs are the most prevalent reservoirs and the disease is usually transmitted through urine. Most veterinarians will recommend any dogs with access to small bodies of water or wildlife be vaccinated. The disease is more prevalent in southwestern Ontario than in Northumberland.

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    Bordetella

    Otherwise known as kennel cough, canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a contagious bacterial disease transmitted through cough droplets in air. The cough usually develops 5-10 days after exposure to other dogs (at kennels, dog parks, groomers, etc). While kennel cough can be induced by viruses such as parainfluenza or adenovirus, the bordetella bacteria is a common primary cause as well. Secondary infection with bordetella and other respiratory bacteria are common causes of coughing.

    The disease usually clears itself without treatment in 5-20 days, but may require antibiotics to lessen the severity. There is an intranasal, oral and injectable vaccine available. Vaccine immunity is 1 year (and typically lessens the severity of the disease when contracted), but for dogs that are frequently exposed to kennels and dog parks, it is recommended every 6 months.

    The oral and intranasal vaccines are effective within 5 to 7 days of administration.

Feline Vaccines

 

Core Vaccines: FVRCPC: Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydophila + Rabies (3 year duration)

*Vaccines require a minimum of 2 weeks to provide protective immunity.

Typical Vaccine Schedule:

 

8 weeks – FVRCPC
12 weeks – FVRCPC booster
16 weeks – FVRCPC booster + Rabies
1 year later – FVRCPC booster + Rabies booster
Then, every 3 years for both FVRCPC + Rabies. Strictly indoor cats (with no new cats introduced into the household) are less likely to contract any of these diseases. However, any cat coming into the clinic for surgery is required to be vaccinated.

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    Feline panleukopenia virus

    Panleukopenia is a severe potentially fatal disease common among unvaccinated kittens. It is present in some wildlife but does not harm dogs. Disease usually presents as fever, depression, vomiting and diarrhea. Affected kittens usually require hospitalization with a guarded prognosis.

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    Feline rhinotracheitis virus (Feline Herpesvirus-1)

    A highly contagious virus responsible for the majority of upper respiratory infections in cats, especially in multi-cat environments such as shelters. Often found in combination with calicivirus and chlamydophila. Herpesviruses are carried for life and often recur in times of physical or environmental stress. Signs include fever, sneezing, coughing, ocular/nasal discharge, conjunctivitis and mouth sores. This can persist from 1-6 weeks and usually result in secondary bacterial infections. This condition may require chronic antibiotic +/- antiviral therapy.

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    Calicivirus

    Calicivirus is often implicated in the feline upper respiratory complex. There are many strains, and signs range from mild mouth sores to severe pneumonia. Systemic virulent fatal forms do exist as well. Without specific testing, it is impossible to differentiate between herpesvirus and calicivirus.

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    Chlamydophila psittaci

    Chlamydophila is a bacterium implicated in the feline upper respiratory complex, primarily causing conjunctivitis/”pink eye”. It can also cause sneezing, ocular/nasal discharge +/- fever.

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    Rabies virus

    Rabies is a viral neurologic disease primarily affecting carnivores and bats, and is always fatal once signs appear. Any mammal can contract the disease. Certain municipalities require rabies vaccinations for all domestic pets, so be sure to check your local requirements (Northumberland county does not). If you are travelling to the United States, you need to have an up to date rabies certificate to prove your pet is protected against rabies. If your pet is not up to date, or a new puppy, the US requires rabies vaccines within a MINIMUM of 30 days prior to travel.

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    Ectoparasites (External)

    Fleas: Fleas are present year-round (they can overwinter indoors), but most commonly encountered in the warmer more humid months. They lead to severe itching, scabbing and flaking of the skin around the hind end. Populations are usually >50% microscopic flea eggs, so adults are often difficult to detect. A single flea can bite >400 times a day and lay >50 eggs per day. The flea life cycle can range from weeks to months depending on environmental conditions.

    Be sure to maintain your pet on flea control products during the warmer months of the year. Many products are not safe for cats so be sure to consult with a veterinarian. 

    Ticks: Ixodes scapularis, or the Blacklegged deer tick, is the only tick of concern in Eastern Ontario. Their populations peak in spring and fall with deer populations. While ticks carry many diseases that can affect you and your pets, Ixodes carries Borrelia burgdorferi, the  causative agent of Lyme disease. Prevalence rates in Ontario are around 5% in dogs, but there is a higher focal concentration of these ticks in Prince Edward County and specifically Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

    Be sure to have your animals on a tick prevention product from April to November. We carry K9 Advantix, Nexgard and Bravecto. There are no tick products licensed for cats. 

    Ear Mites: Ear mites are most prevalent in cats and rabbits that have been scratching at their ears or shaking their heads. Those coming from barn or shelter environments are more predisposed. Treatment with the appropriate antiparasitic can yield a complete resolution of this issue.

    Mange Mites: Demodex is a typically non-itchy skin mite than can cause focal disease (e.g. patches of hair loss) or generalized disease across the whole body ranging from mild to severe skin lesions. Sarcoptes is a severely itchy skin mite (scabies) that burrows under the skin. Both mites can affect many species. If your pet is exhibiting any signs of skin disease, they should be seen by a veterinarian for a dermatological examination and possible treatment with appropriate antiparasitics.

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    Endoparasites (Internal)

    Roundworms: Usually passed from mothers to young or through nursing or fecal contamination. Often no signs are present but can cause diarrhea +/- swollen abdomen. Adults resemble long strands of spaghetti while eggs are microscopic.

    Hookworms: Usually passed from mothers to young or through nursing, fecal contamination or skin penetration. Can cause no signs or anemia, poor growth and diarrhea. Adults and eggs are microscopic.

    Tapeworms: Often acquired through hunting or ingestion of Dipylidium fleas. Most infections have minimal effects, but can cause issues with nutrient absorption or diarrhea. Adult fragments resemble grains of rice or seeds and eggs are microscopic. Most deworming medications treat roundworms and hookworms, but NOT tapeworms.

    Giardia lamblia: An intestinal parasite only diagnosed via fecal sample, which can cause chronic (+/- bloody) diarrhea. It is acquired through fecal-oral contamination or contaminated water. The parasite is common among all domestic and wild animals, including people.

    Coccidia: A microscopic parasite of the intestinal tissue, many dogs and cats are healthy carriers of coccidia. However, coccidia can cause symptoms of diarrhea when other causes are not apparent. Good hygiene practices and limiting stress can be factors in coccidia prevention.

    LungwormCrenosoma vulpis, the fox lungworm is a disease mostly of the Atlantic provinces. Recent studies have shown that it is becoming more prevalent in Ontario. It typically presents as a chronic cough, in the absence of other medical issues that might cause such a cough.

Nutrition

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Nutrition is an integral part of your pet’s health, and one that is often overlooked. Our veterinarians are all trained to guide you in nutritional consultations for a diet that is best for your pet.

 

Kibble vs. Canned? Grocery store vs. Pet Store vs. Vet Diet? Raw vs. Cooked? 

There are hundreds of pet foods out there, and none of them are ‘the best food’. The best food is the one tailored to your pet’s individual needs, with high quality nutrient sources. Many people opt to make their own homecooked diets instead of feeding pet foods. We are happy to support you in this endeavour with recipes, which often require a balanced supplement to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral content.

Finally, certain medical conditions require prescription diets to control, which your veterinarian will indicate to you. Veterinary diets are the only diets clinically tested and proven to achieve the results they are labelled for.

A great resource for nutritional recommendations is provided by the

Tufts Cummings Clinical Nutrition Service found here.

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