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Pet Questions? Ask 'em Here!


Jesi
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"Tails behind the tails" was a thread I created over a year ago to help hondonians with pet issues. It thrived for a while, but fell into hibernation through no fault of anyone but myself. It's been a year, and I have been working intensively in a small animal hospital here in Orlando, and I have learned more in the past year than I have in all my years in the industry put together. So, with this newfound knowledge, I wanted to start a new thread, a version two-point-oh, and put the old thread to rest. Any animal-related questions are welcome here, from the mundane to the complex. Nutrition, surgery, vaccinations, lab work, growth and devlopment all the way to the final days.

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian nor do I claim to have the education or credentials of a veterinarian. I will answer your questions to the best of my knowledge but nothing I state here or anywhere else should be considered a diagnosis or plan for treatment. Only your licenced, accredited veterinarian can make the final decisions for your pets health.

 

With that said, bring on the questions all you crazy cats and kittens.

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how often does a dog need to be vacinated, after they had their initial injections as pups?

 

I don't know how the vet community handles things outside the US but ideally all dogs and cats should have an annual visit for a routine check-up, booster whatever vaccines it needs, plus any routine lab tests (stool check for intestinal parasites, urinalysis, blood sample for lyme or heartworm disease) your vet recommends to run. Depending on your region, and your veterinarian, vaccines can range in longevity from 6 months to 3-5 years. Here in the US, on a state-by-state basis, we have available a 3-year rabies vaccine, as well as a 3-year distemper/parvo combo for dogs. Three year vaccines are also available for cats, though the way that particular strain of vaccine is produced can and has caused cancerous tumors to develop at the injection site. This production process, called adjuventing, adds an agent (an "adjuvant", usually aluminum or some similar substance) to the vaccine that stimulates an increased immune response. An increased immune response means that when the vaccine is introduced into the body, the body recognizes the material and produces more antibodies than it normally would against the disease, which in theory causes the vaccine effect to last longer. Because of this intense response, in cats particularly, a nodule will often form at the injection site that, when left alone, will harden into scar tissue and often will turn into what's called a fibrosarcoma. This is a cancerous growth that does need to be surgically removed. Non-adjuvented vaccines will cause enough of a response to provide antibodies for up to 1 year, though the effect over time can last longer. The upside is no tumors. The downside is an annual needle stick. Some veterinarians will use 1 year vaccines though only every other or every third year in older patients who have had regular immunizations. The thought here is that over time the antibody quantity has built up enough that further stimulation of the immune system is not necessary to successfully fight off the disease the patient is being immunized for. This is probably a lot more information than is necessary, but understanding the way a vaccination works may help you understand why we recommend annual boosters.

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  • 1 month later...
A friend of mine used to give an ice cube to her dog as a treat. I was wondering, would that do any harm to a dog?

 

 

Not really. Ice cubes are probably the most innocuous treat you can give a dog. It's just water. And a dog's teeth, if kept healthy, are strong enough to go through bone and rock. Occasionally dogs will over-do the chewing on hard stuff that they wear down their teeth or even break teeth off (often called a "slab fracture") but ice, while hard and dense to us, is soft enough that dogs can go through it like butterr. So, If you wanna give your dog something crunchy to munch on that has zero calories, fat, sodium, and keeps them cool in the summer, give 'em ice!

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Thank you. ^_^

Dogs seem to like it, but I wasn't sure if the cold would damage their teeth.

 

Happy to oblige. Dogs -love- ice. And really, if people would feed their dogs handfulls of ice instead of high-fat and high-sodium treats like T-Bonz and Beggin Strips and the like, we'd have a lot less fat dogs in our existance.

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:::waving::: Hi Ruby'sAngel...I remember you from long ago...

 

Hope you don't mind...but when I see something else to add to your great and most appreciated advice, I'd love to participate. I have my own little zoo of aminals (as we call them here). Been involved with many rescues over the years and learned a lot along the way. Probably should just bite the bullet and attend vet tech school or just go for the big time...probably too old now though.

Anyhoo...if you've a problem with me participating, I understand. This thread is your deal and idea.

 

Having said that, to start, regarding vaccinations...

 

I usually have the titers of my animals tested prior to vaccinating. This can be costly, but I find it especially helpful when rescuing an animal that I obviously have no medical history for. As for my own pets, after the third or fourth time, it helps me establish a personal time frame for when each is generally due for their boosters and then I don't have to have their titers tested as often.

 

Now, you can tell me to shut up if you like and I won't even get mad or anything!LOL.

 

DISCLAIMER: I also am not a veterinarian nor do I claim to have the education or credentials of a veterinarian. I will answer your questions to the best of my knowledge but nothing I state here or anywhere else should be considered a diagnosis or plan for treatment. Only your licensed, accredited veterinarian can make the final decisions for your pets health.

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This thread is mainly for the purpose of question-and-answer, but if you have something you want to chime in on, it's an open forum, and you're welcome to do so. Just know that I am a professional and everything that is discussed here is done so after acquiring real-world knowledge from working in the veterinary profession. Don't be offended if I step in and extrapolate or correct.

 

 

Let me just explain for those playing the home game what antibody titration testing or "Titer" is. Vaccinations provide a challenge-and-response in the body. A vaccine, which is a modified version of a virus or bacterium, is introduced into a pet's body via subcutaneous injection or intranasal drops. The assumed response is that the vaccination process will cause the body to react and produce the proper level of antibodies to fight off the disease, should it ever become exposed. Over time, these antibodies that accumulate in the system have been known to linger, and while it generally is not harmful to continue with vaccination, your pet may or may not need to build more antibodies to the vaccine. The only way of knowing down to the letter, is through a simple but expensive blood test, called an Antibody Titer. The test counts how many antibodies can be assumed are in the total body of the pet, and that number corresponds with whether protection from the disease in question is adequate. If the number is adequate for protection, you then may discuss with your vet whether or not further vaccination is necessary. If you have legitimate concerns about vaccinations, express them to your vet and let him/her decide, based on the medical history, general health, and level of exposure your pet has. In many cases, vets are knowledgeable enough and care enough that they will recognize when it's time to back off of vaccines, especially in older dogs and cats, and small breeds of dogs. Vaccine protocols vary from county to county, state to state, so what we do here in Orlando may not be the same as in Miami, and what we do here in Florida may not be the same as South Carolina or Michigan or Montana. ANd they all are dependant upon legal requirements and recommendations from the local and national Veterinary Medical Associations (AVMA, etc) and local and federal Centers for Disease Control.

 

If you elect titeration over vaccination, that's your personal choice. But before you ask for it, talk to your vet. S/he may be willing to adjust your pet's personal vaccine schedule as a compromise. Know too that titer testing is a time-consuming, costly process and you may wind up needing to bring Fluffy and Precious back to the vet for shots anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

CANINE VACCINES:

Rabies (Killed virus), Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus II, Coronavirus, Leptospira, Bordetella Bronchiseptica ("The Kennel Cough"), Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme), and Giardia spp.

 

 

FELINE VACCINES:

Rabies (Killed virus [ft. dodge] or Modified canarypox virus [non-adjuvented, merial]), Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/Feline Herpes Virus I, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia, Feline Infections Peritonitis, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and Chlamydiaphila Felis. Additionally, a strain of Giardia and Bordetella are available for cats, however it is not widely stocked and not recommended for most cats unless under very specific situations.

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This thread is mainly for the purpose of question-and-answer, but if you have something you want to chime in on, it's an open forum, and you're welcome to do so. Just know that I am a professional and everything that is discussed here is done so after acquiring real-world knowledge from working in the veterinary profession. Don't be offended if I step in and extrapolate or correct.

 

Perhaps I didn't represent myself clearly. I've been (working) at my same vets office for twelve years now. I am self-studied, with the help of my vet, (I read anything and everything I can get my hands on) and real-world knowledge-experienced professional as well. It's just a little different up here in the sticks, in that not all vets require mandatory schooling as far as vet techs go. I've much expierence with domesticated animals and livestock as well. Rescue is what sucked me in.

I've a feeling that I may have stepped on some toes though. Forgive me. When it comes to animals, I cannot help myself. I always offer to help, it's just what I do and who I am. Not to worry, there are plenty of other forums for me to participate on. Again, my apologies. Poof. I'm gone:)

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What do you know about health insurance for pets?

 

 

There are a few different companies that offer insurance for pets. Each company has different fee schedules for various levels of coverage depending on the needs of your pet. Many routine treatments such as annual vaccinations, heartworm and flea prevention, spay/neuter, teeth cleaning, lab tests and prescription medications are often covered in the most basic policies. More advanced policies cover emergencies, major orthopedic, neurologic, and cancer treatments, specialist consultations, holistic treatments, and more. You usually wind up spending anywhere between 20 and 60 bucks a month, though if your pet has any pre-existing conditions it may cost a little bit more.

 

Most veterinarians don't accept insurance directly. Some major franchise animal hospitals (VCA, Banfield) do, but for the most part, expect to bring a claim form and pay your bill in full because the claim process goes as such: You visit your vet, pay your bill, and your vet will fill out and sign a claim form. You then forward that claim form to your insurance company and within a few days they will send a check, paying anywhere between 50 and 80% of your original bill back.

 

I like the idea of insurance for pets and would recommend it for just about anyone who wants to take some proactive approaches to their pets health. The only time it wouldn't really be condusive to your pet's health and your financial health is if your pet is considerably older or has a considerable amount of health problems.

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Perhaps I didn't represent myself clearly. I've been (working) at my same vets office for twelve years now. I am self-studied, with the help of my vet, (I read anything and everything I can get my hands on) and real-world knowledge-experienced professional as well. It's just a little different up here in the sticks, in that not all vets require mandatory schooling as far as vet techs go. I've much expierence with domesticated animals and livestock as well. Rescue is what sucked me in.

I've a feeling that I may have stepped on some toes though. Forgive me. When it comes to animals, I cannot help myself. I always offer to help, it's just what I do and who I am. Not to worry, there are plenty of other forums for me to participate on. Again, my apologies. Poof. I'm gone:)

 

 

It's taken me a few days to get to this one and I apologize for leaving it hanging. I didn't intend to come off as condescending, however I think that's how it looks on paper. You did not specify that you were a professional in the field before, however being in the industry I would hope that you of all people can understand why I get defensive about what I do. It's a long, tough climb to the top. I've had to work hard and long to get where I am at in my career and the only direction for me is 'up'. As I'm sure you've experienced yourself, there is an alarming number of people in the world who, invariably, will hear some little snippet of information from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-relative who thought about going to vet school and read three paragraphs of an article on some backward-assed pet website about something and all the sudden they think they wrote The Book on the subject of things like nutrition, vaccination, and pharmaceuticals. God help me, I think I just got a grey hair thinking about THAT conversation. The bulk of my job involves communicating with my clients and trying to ensure that they get the most up-to-date and correct information that's available. People like those that i mentioned above make my job incredibly difficult because even though I'm the professional, a consumer is statistically more apt to believe what they hear from a friend, colleague, or family member who 'experienced it', whatever 'it' is. To the client, for the most part, I'm a stranger. So I have to work twice as hard to plead my case and make it convincing. Not necessarily because it's a game of who's right or who's wrong, no. Often times even the most outlandish bit of misinformation is spawned from a nugget of truth. This is not to say of course, that you were or are misinformed or that you were spreading bad information. It's just that the purpose of this thread is to help people understand the basics of the answer they're seeking, and to urge them to seek out their vet for more detailed information. Yes, I do have a habit of breaking down even the most basic answer. But the problem with our industry today is that there's too much information to absorb and not enough people who know how to explain it in a way that the layman can comprehend.

 

You mentioned above that this thread is my deal and idea, and you are absolutely 100% right in that. I created this corner of the board because I'm very proud of what I do and I want to help as many as I can. I completely respect and appreciate your will and want to help as well, so I can hardly fault you for jumping in feet-first. As I said before though, this area is dedicated to question and answer, and I have no issue with your participation as long as it's unbiased and has an abundance of real-world information and fact behind it. "Here's what I do" Just won't cut it. While I respect your preference, very rarely, if ever, will you see or hear me use the "Here's what I do" example in my responses. Mainly because it is a selling point even when you're not trying to sell something. "So-and-so does it, why shouldn't I?" tends to be the thought process. It's a leading statement, and I have an issue with that, and I will not hesitate to put my foot down about using it in my corner of the web here. "Here's what I do" is like I steak to a pack of hungry dogs.

 

With all that said, I do appreciate that you want to contribute and welcome your input. I really don't mind a second voice here. If it's too late, I understand. Either way I apologize for the misunderstanding and hope that you'll at least keep reading.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dunno if this one's been answered or if this is a key thing I don't know about you(among many others), but what're your views on designer breeding? Been doing a bit of homework on expanding the menagerie(to waylay the need for pitterpattering little feet) and while Alana's in love with Beagles, I'm more looking toward the Puggle. And everything in between the pureblood breeders and designer breeders is thick and nasty hate worse than anything I've seen outside of fight club. Just wondering where someone like you stands on the issue?

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Dunno if this one's been answered or if this is a key thing I don't know about you(among many others), but what're your views on designer breeding? Been doing a bit of homework on expanding the menagerie(to waylay the need for pitterpattering little feet) and while Alana's in love with Beagles, I'm more looking toward the Puggle. And everything in between the pureblood breeders and designer breeders is thick and nasty hate worse than anything I've seen outside of fight club. Just wondering where someone like you stands on the issue?

 

 

I don't have any issue with anyone adopting a mixed-breed dog. However, I refuse to conform to calling mixed-breeds "designer". They're mutts by any other name. There are a lot of mixes that wind up being great dogs. However, the ratio of good, well-balanced, healthy dogs to dogs with every problem in the book is probably 1:5 or more. It bothers me that pet boutiques are boasting these mixes because they're carelessly combining dogs that might be really cute, but they may also have physical and behavioral problems that develop down the road, that may be exacerbated by bad breeding. It also bothers me that "Private" (read: backyard) breeders and pet stores alike are charging a king's ransom for a mixed breed dog that you could probably find for thirty bucks at Animal Control or the SPCA. If you insist on looking into a "designer" dog, just take into consideration the breed history of both breeds that make up the dog. Be prepared for your puppy to have the worst of all the traits both breeds might carry so that there are no surprises. "Hope for the best, expect the worst." in either case, give a good puppy a good home. Adopt if you can, from shelters and rescues.

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Can't remember if this has been asked either, but what do you think about making food for your pets. I'd heard a while back that this practice had been on the rise (in part due to the tainted dog food a while ago).

 

There's an increasing interest in making home-made food for your pets, and if you know how to do it right, it can be a good thing for your pets. The pros of course are that you would be feeding your pet home-made, preservative-free food that you have total control over. You would be able to closely monitor every ingredient and be able to eliminate one ingredient or another if it proves to be unfavorable to your pet or your budget. The cons are that you have to be willing to and be able to purchase fresh ingredients every few days, and spend the extra time to prepare meals. If you're considering making your pet's food at home, consult with a veterinarian to ensure you're feeding your pet the right balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and amino acids. Ask about potential allergies to foods and look into internet-based calorie calculators to watch your pets total caloric intake. A pet requires about 5-25 calories per pound of body weight, per -day-, depending on your pet's age, body size, and activity level. Feeding your pets a high-quality over-the-counter brand of food generally is a sufficient and time and cost effective way to keep your pet's health maintained, however if you decide to take on the task of becoming your pet's personal chef, just make sure you're well-informed. It's very easy to make your dogs get too fat, or cause common organ diseases to begin, or accelerate in progression if you don't approach home-made meals with an educated mind.

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  • 3 months later...

Case of the Week

 

So I was thinking... In a bid to be a bit more active and to resuscitate my favorite thread, I'm thinking of trying to start posting a "case of the week"... Cases from work that interest me, or that prove a good example for you pet owners. There's always something interesting going on where I work, so sometimes there might be more than one a week, other times I may recall cases from times past that I thought were story-worthy. EIther way, any thoughts?

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  • 1 month later...
Jes,

 

I've been considering getting a doggy...now I really, really, really want a teacup shih tzu. Any advice? Most people tell me not to because they are going to be too much maintenance.

 

Also, do you recommend males or females better?

 

 

Shih-tzus are great dogs, actually. They have tons of personality, are eager to pleasee, and are generally easy keepers. They're a small breed, obviously, so they don't eat much, and don't put much out. They have an average lifespan of about 12-14 years though I've seen healthy, well-kept Shih tzus live to 17. They're a little bit of maintenance with their hair coat, but daily brushing, and a 'puppy cut' groom every month or two usually keeps them in good shape. Early socialization will help to make a well-rounded, personable puppy. They are known to have some allergies, but keeping ahead of the game by feeding a premium-grade diet (Royal Canin, Purina ProPlan, Hill's Science Diet, Eukanuba/IAMS) along with supplementing with Omega 3 fatty acids will help a lot. Other problems include dental health (brush often and have them professionally cleaned yearly), and weight (again, proper diet, not too many treats). Puppies are often born with umbilical hernias, which sometimes remedy themselves, but often require a simple surgical procedure which you can schedule to be done during the spay/neuter procedure. Many also have luxating patellas, which isn't necessarily a major problem, but it can lead to early arthritis - Again, Omega 3 fatty acids help with this, to keep joints lubricated and act as a natural anti-inflammatory. "Patellar luxation" basically means that their kneecaps pop out due to the groove in the top of their tibia being too shallow. It sounds painful, but most dogs don't even notice it. In any case. With this breed, either gender is great to have, so it's your choice. Just find a puppy that fits you the best. I really don't recommend the "teacup" variety though - Teacup has become the fad lately and it's the result of breeding runts. Many times these "teacup" puppies come with the worst of the breed's known health problems and for the most part, they're problems you may not be willing to deal with. Many people think of getting a 'teacup' dog to take with them hither and to - Please, don't do this. Dogs are companion animals but they don't need to go everywhere you go. In most cases, this "go everywhere with mom and never be by myself" is a silent trigger for separation anxiety, which breeds fear aggression and other behavioral issues that are responsible for most of the dogs that can be found in rescue organizations today. As always, I recommend at least considering looking at rescues before purchasing, but if you decide to purchase a puppy, go through a reputable breeder with both parents on site, and if anything at the breeder's home seems out of whack, don't feel obligated to buy - Just walk away from the deal.

 

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

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  • 1 month later...

taken from Fight Club:

 

lolcat_terrorist.jpg

 

that's awesome, if soely for the face i gotta know what they have that cat on to keep it still long enough to get all of that onto it. every cat i ever had wouldve spazzed out around the hood.

 

It could be a very well trained cat, who knows, maybe its a question for our resident animal expert.

 

ive owned many a cat - largely outdoor, which is to say "didint live to 10" - but if there's a dark art to training them to do pretty much anything against their will, this is my first hearing of this. i thought id hit up the sorceress supreme to inquire.

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taken from Fight Club:

 

lolcat_terrorist.jpg

ive owned many a cat - largely outdoor, which is to say "didint live to 10" - but if there's a dark art to training them to do pretty much anything against their will, this is my first hearing of this. i thought id hit up the sorceress supreme to inquire.

 

 

It all has to do with conditioning and desensitization from an early, early age. SImple things like constantly handling feet, ears, face, tail, turning him on his back, bathing weekly, and other techniques are extremely useful in teaching your cat that it's okay to be handled and do silly things like take a bath once in a blue moon, or dress up like a terrorist for silly pictures and you aren't really trying to kill them. But you have to start them EARLY. Six weeks old! Younger the better. Not that I condone dressing your cat up like a terrorist, but if you feel the need to, having a cat that was raised from early kittenhood to accept and even appreciate what we do to/for them would make that process MUCH easier.

 

On a related note, I really wish more people used this thread. You all need to get pets so I have questions to answer.

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its an awesome thread, and you're a great resource for it. few things while we're at it:

 

1)

Not that I condone dressing your cat up like a terrorist

 

just wondering; sensibilities aside, any harm from this?

 

2) i keep going back & forth with sen. we'd both love a medium to large doggy but ive a small apt and personally believe, even if we walked it everyday, it'd still be cruel, and we should wait till we have an actual yard of some kind to stretch its legs. what say you?

 

3) do you think its kinda cruel to yell/scold a dog for barking when its playing its role as guardian of the home? dont get me wrong, id fuss/whomp them on the nose if it was incessant too, but just a few barks when someone approaches or passes by our door, and the dog gets yelled at for it, and i feel bad 'cause its what the dog's supposed to do. just looking for thoughts here.

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