Wild Child

Nov 1, 2017 | Pet Health, Pets


“Trip to the vet with our new harnesses and leashes followed by a trip to Walmart.  Maggie ate Mommy’s Jeep manual and I watched”.  Love, Jake

“Road trip from West Virginia to Missouri!  Mom and Dad said we were good boys and girls”. “Back home on Friday!  We miss our big yard!”  Love Maggie

Big week so far for Jake and Maggie!  

Sunday was a big day for Jake and Maggie.  They made their first 8 1/2 hour drive to Missouri.  Thomas had meetings and we needed to check on the house, tidy up, and close it for the winter.  I was a little apprehensive about shlepping two puppies that far in the car but they were champs the whole way!  I thought Maggie would chew the car apart and Jake would sit and watch her.  To our relief, they both slept the whole way except for pottie brakes.  (Jake’s face is a bit blurry.  Sorry about that)

On Monday, I took Jake and Maggie to their new vet,  My Vet Animal Clinic, in our little town of Eureka, MO to get their first rabies shot.   I crossed my fingers and said a prayer that they would behave.  You just never know with these two little monsters.  I never thought that I would have another Bella on my hands but Maggie has taken her place ten fold and is truly my wild child.  I had asked for a check up, toe nail trim, rabies shot, flea and tick and heartworm prevention.  All was calm until they went for Maggie’s little paw’s first. It took 2 vet techs to hold her down to cut her nails.  While Maggie whaled and stuffed her legs under her body, Jake patiently waited for the vet to give him his shot and to cut his nails.  I apologized as I watched the annoyance on their faces.  But…good news…Jake and Maggie are healthy, happy, puppies with bright eyes, pretty toenails, and shiny coats.  They are running around like banshees and Jake lost a tooth last Friday.  

We got them at 8 weeks old and over the last few months, they have learned many commands and words but it’s clear we still need to work on nail trimming!  I guess the trips to PetSmart Grooming and attempts at home did nothing to alleviate her anxiety.  If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!  

As I left the vets, I asked for training tips, good trainer recommendations, and how long of a walk puppies at 4 1/2 months should be taking.  I was told a good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown, i.e. 15 minutes (up to twice a day) when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once they are fully grown, they can go out for much longer.  Good to know!!!  We have options to either have a trainer come into our home to train the dogs or take them to the training facility, leave them and pick them up when they are ready.  Thomas and I both agree…we can’t leave them!  Looks like the trainer will be coming to the house if they are trained in Missouri.  Or it’s home for training with Rick Smith in Pennsylvania using the “silent command system”.  When we decided, I’ll let you know! 

What to ask your veterinarian before getting your new fur baby.

I think it’s very important to get your animal their shots and keep good records of it.  Bringing a new pet home can be overwhelming.  It can also be expensive as well. Some vets disagree with the amount and type of vaccinations an adult dog should get.  Your adult dog may not need annual vaccinations and can instead have titer tests (http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-simple-guide-to-titer-testing-dogs/​)— tests that check a dog’s immunity levels — to determine exactly which vaccinations are needed. One exception is the rabies vaccine, which is regulated by law and may be required every one to three years, depending on where you live and the type of rabies vaccine the vet uses.

How much vaccinations for your puppy will cost depends on several factors. Where you live is one: Veterinarians in popular and expensive urban areas will charge more than a rural vet in a small town. But no matter what the range in costs, some vaccines, such as the “core vaccines,” and for rabies, are necessary.

Vet Info has a helpful guideline for the approximate cost of puppy vaccinations for her first year.  

  • The average cost will be around $75–100. These will include the core vaccines, which are administered in a series of three: at 6-, 12-, and 16 weeks old.
  • The core vaccines include the DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza). Your puppy will also need a rabies vaccinations, which is usually around $15–20. (Some clinics include the cost of the rabies vaccination.)
  • Often animal shelters charge less for vaccines—around $20—or are even free. If you acquired your dog from a shelter, he will most likely have been vaccinated, up until the age when you got him.  Make sure the shelter has up to date records on the pet you are adopting.  This will help your vet in the long run.  

The American Kennel Club has broken down shots, schedule, and cost.  I also wanted to highlight each vaccine whether it be recommended or optional.  

Age: 6-8 – Recommended Vaccinations – Distemper, measles, parainfluenza – Optional Vaccinations – Bordetella

Age:  10-12 – Recommended Vaccinations – DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus) – Optional Vaccinations – Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Age:  12-24 – Recommended Vaccinations – Rabies – Optional Vaccinations – None

Age:  14 – 16 – Recommended Vaccinations – DHPP – Optional Vaccinations – Coronavirus, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis

Age:  12-16 – Recommended Vaccinations – Rabies, DHPP – Optional Vaccinations – Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Every 1 – 2 years: – Recommended Vaccinations – DHPP – Optional Vaccinations – Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Every 1 – 3 years:  – Recommended Vaccinations – Rabies (as required by law) – Optional Vaccinations – None

Bordetella Bronchiseptica
This highly communicable bacterium causes severe fits of coughing, whooping, vomiting, and, in rare cases, seizures and death. It is the primary cause of kennel cough. There are injectable and nasal spray vaccines available.

Canine Distemper 
A serious and contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and nervous systems of dogs, raccoons, skunks, and other animals, distemper spreads through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing) from an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment. It causes discharges from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and, often, death. This disease used to be known as “hardpad” because it causes the footpad to thicken and harden.

There is no cure for distemper. Treatment consists of supportive care and efforts to prevent secondary infections, control symptoms of vomiting, seizures and more. If the animal survives the symptoms it is hoped that the dog’s immune system will have a chance to fight it off. Infected dogs can shed the virus for months.

Canine Hepatitis
Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and the eyes of the affected dog. This disease of the liver is caused by a virus that is unrelated to the human form of hepatitis. Symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can overcome the mild form of the disease, but the severe form can kill. There is no cure, but doctors can treat the symptoms.

Canine Parainfluenza
One of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough (see above).

Corona Virus
This is a virus that usually affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, though it can also cause respiratory infections. Signs include most GI symptoms, including loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doctors can keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable, and help alleviate nausea, but there is no drug that kills coronaviruses.

When your puppy is around 12-to-16 weeks, talk to your vet about starting her on a heartworm preventative. Though there is no vaccine for this condition, it is preventable with regular medication. The name is descriptive—these worms lodge in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (that send blood to the lungs), though they can travel through the rest of the body and sometimes invade the liver and kidneys. The worms can grow to 14 inches long and, if clumped together, block and injure organs. A new infection often causes no symptoms, though dogs in later stages of the disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite or have difficulty breathing. Infected dogs may tire after mild exercise. Unlike most of the diseases listed here, which are passed by urine, feces, and other body fluids, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Therefore, diagnosis is made via a blood test and not a fecal exam. The FDA has more information about heartworm.

Kennel Cough
Also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough results from inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, or other infections, such as Bordetella and canine parainfluenza, and often involves multiple infections simultaneously. Usually, the disease is mild, causing bouts of harsh, dry coughing; sometimes it’s severe enough to spur retching and gagging, along with a loss of appetite. In rare cases it can be deadly. It is easily spread between dogs kept close together, which is why it passes quickly through kennels. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, except in severe, chronic cases. Cough suppressants can make a dog more comfortable.

Unlike most diseases on this list, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria, and some dogs may show no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis can be found worldwide in soil and water. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be spread from animals to people. When symptoms do appear, they can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, kidney failure (with or without liver failure). Antibiotics are effective, and the sooner they are given, the better.

Lyme Disease
Unlike the famous “bull’s-eye” rash that people exposed to Lyme disease often spot, no such telltale symptom occurs in dogs. Lyme disease (or borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Transmitted via ticks, an infected dog often starts limping, his lymph nodes swell, his temperature rises, and he stops eating. The disease can affect his heart, kidney, and joints, among other things, or lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. If diagnosed quickly, a course of antibiotics is extremely helpful, though relapses can occur months or even years later.

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the most risk to contract it. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates the loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea. Extreme dehydration can come on rapidly and kill a dog within 48-to-72 hours, so prompt veterinary attention is crucial. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling the secondary symptoms can keep him going until his immune system beats the illness.

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Treatment within hours of infection is essential, otherwise, death is highly likely. Most states require rabies vaccination. Check with your vet about rabies vaccination laws in your area.


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