CANINE INFLUENZA VIRUS/VACCINE-
Recently, CBS and several local stations mentioned an “outbreak” of Canine Influenza and immediately we were inundated with phone calls from concerned owners seeking to have their dogs vaccinated for it. Here is my take on it: a) ONE dog in Montana was diagnosed with the “new” virus and TWO dogs were possibly infected with some form (“old” or “new”?) of influenza virus. NONE of any type are known to have occurred in California. (b) I found it it highly coincidental that I received a brochure advertising a vaccine for the “new” influenza (which actually may not protect against the “old” influenza) in the very same week the TV announcements were released. I wonder who provided the press release? (c) The actual influenza disease is seldom fatal- we are not talking Ebola here. (d) MY POSITION IS THIS: In the past few years we have been trying to decrease the number and frequency of vaccines. Until I can be convinced the Canine Influenza is a serious threat to our pets AND the vaccines are proven to be both safe and effective, I will not recommend the vaccines (yes, there are TWO different vaccines available for the “old” and “new” influenzas so far). The easiest and least expensive way to protect your dog is to avoid high-risk areas such as shelters, dog parks, etc..
WHAT IS HEARTWORM?
HEARTWORM is a parasitic worm (8-10″ long) that inhabits the heart chambers and lungs of infected animals. It is transmitted from one infected animal to another via the bite of the mosquito. A microscopic heartworm larva is passed from the mosquito into the tissue of the pet when the mosquito draws a blood meal. The larvae then develop further, finally migrating to the heart and lungs where they become the large adults. The infestation can be fatal to the animal host due to heart failure and/or embolism (clot) formation in critical vessels. PREVENTION can be achieved through the use of any of several prescription medications which kill the larvae before they can mature. At El Norte Veterinary Clinic we prescribeHEARTGUARD PLUS, which is administered as a chewable medicated treat once a month. There is one catch: dogs over 4 months of age must have a HEARTWORM TEST performed to ensure the dog does not already have heartworm. Otherwise there is a possibility that administering a preventative medication could suddenly kill off a large number of adult worms, which could cause severe thrombus formation in the vessels. The inexpensive test is done on a small amount of blood. Also, if the dog misses more than two consecutive monthly preventative treatments it should be retested before resuming the medication.
WHAT ARE CONSIDERED CORE VACCINES?
CORE VACCINES are vaccines which are administered to your pets in order to protect them from being infected with various diseases which they have good chance of being exposed to and which are generally a serious threat to the animal. These vaccines are also considered to be effective and safe for the vast majority of patients.
DOG (CANINE) VACCINES: DAPP (Canine Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza):
1st Dose at 5-6 weeks; boost 2 weeks later, then boost every 3 weeks until reaches 16 weeks of age.
CANINE BORDETELLA (“Kennel Cough”): Nose drop vaccine given at 8 weeks, boosted annually, though many boarding facilities require boosters every 6 months.
RABIES (“Hydrophobia”): Single first dose at 16 weeks old (minimum in California), followed by booster one year later, then boosters every 3 years thereafter.
CANINE LYME DISEASE (NOT CORE): Recommended for “outdoorsy” dogs likely to be exposed to ticks which are the host organisms) First dose at 9 weeks old, 2nd dose 3 weeks later, Annual boosters.
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND GIARDIA OR RATTLESNAKE VACCINES AT THIS TIME
INDOOR CAT (FELINE) VACCINES: (Totally indoors with no chance of exposure to strange cats)
FRCCP : (Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus,Panleukopenia/”distemper”, Chlamydia Psittici )
First dose at 6 weeks, 2nd dose in 2 weeks, then boost every 3 weeks until 16 weeks old.
RABIES: Generally recommended due to human risk (almost 100% fatal). If unvaccinated cat bites person, prolonged quarantine required. First dose at 16 weeks (minimum), boost 1 year later then every 3 years.
OUTDOOR CAT VACCINES: Follow protocols for FRCCP and Rabies above PLUS FELV(Feline Leukemia)VACCINE:
Note: Cat should be tested for Feline Leukemia virus prior to vaccination (cats may harbor virus for long time without symptoms before becoming ill.If already infected, vaccine will not protect).
First dose at 10 weeks old, 2nd dose 3-4 weeks later. Annual boosters.
WE DO NOT CURRENTLY RECOMMEND VACCINATING FOR FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency/”AIDS” virus) BECAUSE OF DEBATE OVER ITS EFFECTIVENESS PLUS THE FACT THAT VACCINATION WILL CAUSE POSITIVE FIV/AIDS TESTS FOR THE REST OF THE CAT’S LIFE.