Rabies: By Pennsylvania law, the Rabies vaccine is required. Rabies is a virus that affects the brain, causing mental disorientation, aggression, and death. Rabies affects all mammals, including humans, and is always fatal. This vaccine must be given by a veterinarian at 12 weeks of age or older with a yearly booster every 1-3 years thereafter.
DHPP or DA2PP: This is a combination vaccine that protects against Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. These viruses are extremely contagious. Distemper affects the respiratory tract, GI tract and/or nervous system. Adenovirus Type 1 causes hepatitis. Adenovirus Type 2 and parainfluenza cause upper respiratory infections. Parvovirus causes a severe intestinal infection. The vaccine is initially given at 8 weeks until the puppy is 16-18 weeks of age. A booster is given every year thereafter.
Lyme CR: This vaccine is strongly recommended for this geographical area. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, that is transmitted to dogs via a bite from what is commonly known as the deer tick. Lyme disease is prevalent in the Northeastern United States but has been found in other areas of the United States as well. It most commonly causes fever and joint pain and damage. In rare cases it can cause a rapidly progressive and fatal kidney infection. The vaccine is given at 9 weeks of age or older and followed by a booster 3-4 weeks later, then a booster is given every year thereafter.
Leptospirosis 4w: This vaccine is strongly recommended for this region, based on recent studies for all breeds of dogs. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection carried in wildlife urine, such as deer, raccoons, foxes and rodents, which are found in every backyard around this area. Your dog can be exposed to this by sniffing around in the backyard, drinking out of puddles, or even being exposed to a rodent population indoors. The bacteria can cause infection in many body systems, but most commonly it causes simultaneous liver and kidney infection and failure. Leptospirosis can also be contracted by people. The vaccine is started at 8 weeks of age or older, followed by a booster 3-4 weeks later, and a booster given every year thereafter.
Bordetella: This vaccine is often recommended and required by boarding, grooming and day -care facilities. Bordetella is a bacterium that causes an upper respiratory infection known as tracheobronchitis, commonly called "kennel cough". While tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) can be caused by several different bacteria, Bordetella is the most common of these strains. This infection is highly contagious and causes a honking-type of cough. The vaccine greatly reduces the risk of contracting tracheobronchitis, and veterinarians recommend this vaccine be started at 8 weeks of age or older via an intranasal spray. This is followed by an injectable booster 3-4 weeks later and repeated in another 2-4 weeks. A booster is recommended every year, although some kennels or doggie day-cares require a 6-month booster.
The following are the most common toxins ingested or exposed to our curious canine companions. For more information we encourage you to check out the Pet Poison Control website.
1. Chocolate/Caffeine - Toxicity level is dependent on type of chocolate and size of dog. Always check with a veterinarian if your pet ingests chocolate!
2. Mouse & rat poisons
3. Anti-inflammatory medications - ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)
4. Xylitol - this ingredient is found in sugarless gum, Mentos, and certain peanut butters and fish oils.
5. Grapes, Raisins, and Currants
6. Antidepressant Medications
7. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
8. Vitamin D Overdose
9. Stimulant drugs such as used for ADD/ADHD
11. Other - Garlic, Onions, Cherry pits, macadamia nuts, etc.
Fleas and ticks are not only creepy and annoying but can transmit various diseases to not only your pet but your family, such as Lyme, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and bartonellosis. These parasites, despite widespread belief, can be found in the environment and contracted by your dog all year-round, and do not die when the ground freezes. Fleas especially love the warmth of your home and a free meal from your pet! Ticks are hardy and lie in wait for the perfect moment to attach to your pet and you!
The most important tip for flea & tick preventatives is that the most effective and reliable products are provided to you by your veterinarian by prescription. While internet retailers do carry prescription products, you can trust that your veterinarian will carry trusted, true, and tested products. Below is more interesting information about preventatives:
- Over-the-counter products range from ineffective to down-right dangerous to your pet.
- Beware of counterfeit products from third-party sellers on websites such as E-bay.
- Online sources do not always store and transfer the products properly, making them less effective.
- The companies that make the preventatives sold by your vet usually carry guarantees and offer money-saving rebates or rewards programs!
Heartworm is a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. These worms migrate to your dog's heart and cause direct damage to the heart muscle. This damage can lead to chronic changes to the shape of the heart and eventually congestive heart failure. As little as one worm has been shown to cause significant damage. While a heartworm infection can be treated, the process is expensive, often painful, and not without its own risks. Also, the damage already done to the heart is irreversible. Prevention on the other hand is far cheaper, incredibly safe, and totally pain free!! The other benefit to year-round heartworm prevention is that the medications also treat common intestinal worms.
A dog could eat a year's worth of Heartgard in one sitting and not get sick!
Our veterinarians still recommend that your dog is tested every other year for Lyme, Heartworm, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia, if your dog is consistently on preventatives every month. Testing may be indicated more often depending on your use of preventatives, and exposure to parasites.
Puppies should be weaned, as naturally as possible, between three to seven weeks old. When your puppy is completely weaned, they should get all the nutrients they need from a specially formulated puppy food.
Selecting a puppy food can be VERY confusing. So here are a few tips to help!
- Pick a food that meets AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standards, which is a non-profit that investigates ingredients, provides food label standardization & offers a proficiency testing program.
- Look for a brand that performs its own food trials. Don't be too wary of brands that have made recalls in the past. These recalls could be a result of diligent testing that protects both your dog and you! More research will help determine the cause of the recalls.
- Don't be fooled by marketing buzzwords like grain-fee, all-natural, no by-products, etc. These brands seem to be more worried about selling food than nurturing your growing puppy.
- By-products in a pet food are defined as any non-muscle portion of an animal. These non-muscle parts, like the liver, of an animal can be very beneficial to a growing puppy and provide them with a whole host of beneficial nutrients.
- Grains are a good source of nutrition and very few dogs have grain allergies. In fact, the majority of food allergies originate from the exposure of the meat protein within the food that your pet has been on most of its life.
- Grain-free diets as well as boutique diets and diets containing exotic ingredients, such as kangaroo meat have recently been correlated to a form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). For more information ask your veterinarian or look on our website under our veterinary articles.
- Food allergies are quite uncommon, and if suspected, your veterinarian will walk you through the process of food allergy detection.
- Our doctors are a great source of information and generally recommend, and personally use, these three brands:
- Hill's Science Diet
- Purina Pro Plan
- Royal Canin
When it comes to food, the healthiest thing you will do for your dog is keep them from overeating and becoming overweight. Pet obesity is the number one health problem for our pets. Therefore, we recommend measured feedings, and not free feeding.
Puppies tend to explore their world with their mouths, much like human babies do! As your puppy grows, especially when they are teething around 4-6 months of age, they will start looking for things to chew on. Instead of letting your puppy find their own chew toys, like your shoes, provide them with different options of toys they can use instead. However, not all toys in the pet store are made safe for every pup. Some toys are chewing/swallowing hazards, and some are so hard they literally break teeth! We discourage giving your dog of any age or breed, soup bones, deer antlers, or Nylabones to chew on. Use the following tips to help you pick out the perfect toy for your pup!
1. Bend the toy. Does it bend back and forth, even a small amount?
2. Press your thumb nail into the toy. Are you able to leave a depression in the material, again even a small amount?
3. Can you crush the chew or toy up into tiny pieces?
4. Would you let your child chew on something this hard?
5. Ask yourself when looking at the toy: If my dog rips this toy up are the pieces small enough that he could easily swallow. Is the material something they can digest safely or something that can cause a blockage?
6. Is this toy an appropriate size for my dog? For example, if my dog is 100lbs, is a rubber ball the size of a golf ball too small for his mouth, which may result in a choking hazard? You want the toy to look cartoonishly large for your dog's mouth.
After putting the toy in question through this little test you can pick the perfect toy out for your dog, while preventing any future veterinary visits!
We can't wait to see you and your new puppy for their first veterinarian appointment! We will be excited to assist you with any questions and concerns you may have ranging from puppy behavior to preventative care! Our staff will especially be happy to provide lots of cuddles too!