Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Question: Concerned about Canine Flu

Dr. Schaeberle,

Should I be concerned about the Canine Flu? I heard there is a vaccination, does it work?



Hi Jean,

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is a recently recognized respiratory infection for dogs. This influenza virus is labeled as subtype H3N8, which is not the same as the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus commonly known as the “swine flu.” CIV is highly contagious to dogs, but is not transmitted to people or cats. There have been some cases of CIV in Pennsylvania, but it is not common in the state at this time.

The most common signs seen with Canine Influenza Virus are a soft, gagging cough and sneezing with discharge from the nose. Dogs often have a persistent cough that lasts for 2-3 weeks. Most dogs recover from CIV without any complications, but approximately 10% of dogs will develop a bacterial pneumonia from the virus. If pneumonia develops, it usually happens within the first two weeks of infection. The common signs of a developing pneumonia are fever, trouble breathing, and an unwillingness to eat. Pneumonia is very serious, and can be fatal if not treated properly.

There is currently a new vaccine available to help prevent Canine Influenza. This vaccine helps to prevent the virus, but like all vaccines, does not completely eliminate the chance that your pet will contract the virus. However, if your dog does contract CIV, prior vaccination will help to decrease the severity of the disease and reduce the risk of pneumonia. The CIV vaccine is given as a two vaccine series. The initial two vaccines are given 2-4 weeks apart, and then given as a yearly vaccine thereafter. The vaccine series can be started as early as 6 weeks old.

Current vaccine guidelines from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommend vaccinating dogs that are at risk of exposure. This means that the vaccine should be given to animals whose lifestyles expose them to a large number of other dogs. For example, animals that are in shelters, taken to boarding facilities, doggie daycare, grooming shops, dog shows, and agility trials would all be at a higher risk of contracting CIV. If there is an outbreak of CIV in your area, your local veterinarian may also recommend the vaccine even if your dog does not routinely come into contact with other dogs. In order to best decide if your dog should be vaccinated against Canine Influenza Virus, speak to your local veterinarian.

Thomas Schaeberle, V.M.D.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Holidays from Shiloh Veterinary!

During this holiday season our staff would like to take a moment to remember all of the furry friends who have warmed our hearts over the past year.

We have been fortunate this year to rejoice with our clients in some amazingly happy moments, and we have been there to hold a hand and be a shoulder to cry on at times as well. Our thoughts go out to all of our clients who have lost a dear friend this year - we send you wishes of healing and joy for the New Year. We are happy to have served you this year and hope that you all share a wonderful and safe holiday season with your furry family members.

Shiloh Veterinary Hospital would like to thank all of those who became part of our “family” this year.

Happy Holidays from the Doctors, Technicians and Staff of Shiloh Veterinary Hospital

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Question: Holiday Hazards?

Dr. Schaeberle,

I have a dog. I was wondering what are the holiday hazards to him & other pets?

Taylor, age 12


Dear Taylor,

As the holiday seasons approach us, our homes may become hazardous places for our pets. With a little preparation and thinking ahead, we can keep our pets safe, and make fewer trips to the emergency room this year.

Let’s start with plants. First of all, some good news… Poinsettias’ toxicity has been highly over-rated. Severe illness is rare if ingested. The worst indication would be mouth irritation and/or mild nausea or vomiting. However, ingestion of holiday plants like lilies, mistletoe, and holly can cause more serious vomiting and diarrhea, and in the most severe cases, kidney and heart disease. So, if you have these in your home, protect them well from your pet.

Other not uncommon hazards, especially for cats, are ribbon and tinsel. For some strange reason, cats like to eat these, and they can cause life-threatening intestinal problems.

Chocolate is another danger, especially for dogs. Most of us already know how toxic it can be to our pets, so keep those red and green M&M’s up high or in an un-chewable container.

One of the most common problems that walk through the door of our veterinary hospital is vomiting and/or diarrhea from a condition known as pancreatitis, caused by our pets being fed too many holiday leftovers, or getting into the garbage to feast on bones, fat, and other scraps. This can easily be avoided by not feeding our pets the leftovers and storing the garbage in tight containers.

In Winter, the outdoors has its own hazards for our pets. If you like to change your own antifreeze, make sure you thoroughly clean up all spills, and immediately properly dispose of old product. Consumption of antifreeze can cause very painful kidney failure, and most times, ends in death. Consider using Pet Friends anti-freeze. If ice melt is necessary, again consider one of the Pets Friends products that are available. This will help prevent unpleasant irritation to pets’ feet or stomach, if ingested.

To be prepared, keep this number in a convenient place: SPCA Animal Poison Control Center 1-888-426-4435.

With a little planning, we can help our pets stay safe, happy and healthy this holiday season, so we can all enjoy the time together.

Thomas Schaeberle, V.M.D.

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