It's August, which means that National Immunization Month is here. Just like people, animals need vaccines to protect them from the devastating effects of several contagious diseases. Keeping up with your pet's regularly scheduled vaccines is one of the most important things you can do to ensure her long-term good health. This is true even if she mostly stays inside. Many serious animal illnesses are spread through airborne contact, which means your pet could pick up a virus through an open window. Germs can also spread quickly among unvaccinated pets in places such as grooming salons, boarding kennels, and dog parks.
Essential and Optional Vaccines for Cats and Dogs
The feline distemper shot, also called the FVRCP, protects cats against the serious and highly contagious diseases of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. The canine distemper shot, also called the DHPP, protects your dog from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Most states also enforce mandatory rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs.
For cats, Dr. Pace may recommend a vaccine for Bordetella, Chlamydia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Leukemia based on your cat's lifestyle, breed, and other factors. For dogs, he may advise you to get a vaccine for Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Canine Virus, Leptospirosis, or Lyme Disease.
We also recommend the Rattlesnake Toxoid Vaccine due to our location. Each year, nearly 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten by venemous snakes and experience swelling, pain, tissue damage, disfigurement, and even death. Dr. Pace always takes your feedback into consideration when making these recommendations.
Kittens and puppies should start their FVRCP or DHPP series between six and eight weeks of age. This involves getting the original dose followed by several boosters to ensure strong immunity. If your adult cat or dog is behind on his shots, we can get him caught up at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital. We are happy to discuss your pet's vaccination schedule at his next well visit exam, by phone, or through electronic messaging.
Unlike people, animals don’t sweat to relieve excess body heat. They only eliminate heat from their bodies through the pads of their feet and by panting. Because of this, up to half of all pets who develop heat stroke will die from it. By knowing how to prevent heat stroke and recognize it when it does occur, you could be saving your dog or cat’s life.
Heat Stroke Symptoms in Companion Animals
Please seek treatment at [Clinic Name] immediately if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet:
- 103 degrees or greater body temperature
- Excessive panting
- Sticky saliva
- Tongue is bright red
Keep in mind that some pets are at higher risk of heat stroke than others. Puppies, kittens, senior pets, obese pets, and those with respiratory disease or who have been conditioned for long periods of strenuous exercise are especially vulnerable.
Before you reach our clinic, get your dog or cat out of the heat and use a damp cloth to cool down her skin. If she’s responsive, offer her cold water to drink or allow her to lick ice cubes without eating them.
Heat Stroke Prevention Tips
Pets who are well hydrated are less prone to heat stroke than those who have limited access to water during the day. If your dog will be outside for more than a few minutes, make sure it’s in a shady area and that plenty of fresh water is available to him. During periods of intense heat, keep cats indoors entirely and only let dogs out to relieve themselves if possible.
Should your dog’s behavior become unmanageable because she’s kept indoors, let her out in the early morning or later evening hours when the sun’s rays are less intense. Also, please don’t leave your pet in a hot car for even one minute. The temperature in the interior of your vehicle can climb to 160 degrees in a short time, which can cause severe illness or instant death. It’s better to leave your pet at home when the temperature and humidity reach the high points of the summer.
It only takes a few seconds for your pet to be lost forever, like when you're busy with other things and she slips out the front door to take off after a squirrel. The experience is so common that the American Humane Society estimates one in three pets will get lost at some point in her lifetime. That's over 10 million pets every year who can't find their way home. In many cases, it's because the pet didn't have proper identification. Even a collar with current contact information on it can catch on a fence or come off by the pet's own force.
What is a Pet Microchip?
Even though June is National Microchip Month, people often have misconceptions about what a microchip is and what it can do. A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice. When a veterinarian or someone from your local Animal Control scans your pet, the information contained on the microchip appears on a computer screen. This typically includes the pet's name, your name, and your current contact information. This makes it possible to contact you to let you know that your pet has been located.
A microchip is not the same thing as a Global Positioning System (GPS). That means you can't rely on it to let you know where your pet is if he gets away from you. It's also essential to register your microchip and keep your contact information updated. There is nothing sadder than discovering a pet has a microchip and then not being able to reach the owner due to it containing invalid details.
Schedule Your Pet's Microchip Appointment Today
The procedure to get a microchip is fast, inexpensive, and painless at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Pace inserts the tiny device in a flap of skin under your dog or cat's shoulder blade. It's over in seconds and your pet won't feel any more discomfort than she does with a typical shot. Although a microchip isn't an absolute guarantee you will be reunited with your lost pet, it increases the odds dramatically. It's the least you can do for your best friend.