Archive for dog flu

Does My Dog Really Need a Yearly Vet Visit?


Q. My vet won’t refill my dog’s heartworm medication if I don’t bring my dog in at least once a year. He says it’s for the good of my dog. I say it’s for the good of his bank account. Who’s right?

A. I have to side with your veterinarian on this one. Your vet would be doing your dog a disservice if he prescribed a medication to a pet he never saw. Your veterinarian also needs to follow both the law and the guidelines of ethical practice, both of which demand that prescriptions be written only for animals actively under his care — which they cannot be if they’re never in his exam room.

Prevention Is the Key to Good Health

Annual examinations (or at least twice-yearly for some pets) are the cornerstone of a good preventive care regimen, and preventive care is critical for your pet’s health. You may even save money when you can work with your veterinarian to tweak your pet’s care in order to prevent health problems from occurring (changing his diet, for example, to help prevent or reverse obesity), or to catch and treat illness earlier – hopefully before it can adversely impact your pet’s quality of life. The approval of another year’s worth of heartworm medication, as well as a review of all other medications, is part of that process.

I know many people accept the need for that first heartworm test, but balk at subsequent ones. They argue that they’ve given the medications as prescribed and their pets should be heartworm-free. Problem is, we’re only human. Studies show that not all pets get all their heartworm preventive doses, leaving room for infection. Your veterinarian needs to make sure your pet isn’t carrying these parasites despite your best intentions. That means you’ll need to take him in for a heartworm test at regular intervals.

Finally, there’s the question of where you buy your medications. These days it’s relatively easy to buy prescription medications from questionable Internet suppliers. The temptation to do so can be very strong, especially when money is tight. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against such purchases, noting that these operations may be selling expired, counterfeit or contaminated drugs. Not good! Work with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is taking the right medications and that you’re getting them from a reliable supplier.

In the interests of your pet’s health and your bank account, may I suggest a compromise? Schedule that all-important wellness check, and then ask your veterinarian about cost-saving options, such as price matching (some vets do), or writing a prescription for a reputable local or online pharmacy. Even better, your veterinarian may offer competitive prices through an Internet shopping portal.

The bottom line is this: Don’t skip that yearly visit. You’ll be doing your dog — and your wallet — a favor.

Posted in: dog flu, Dog Health, Dogs, Uncategorized, Westminster Veterinary Group

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Dangerous strain of dog flu spreads concern across U.S.

From CBS News

A dangerous new strain of dog flu is spreading concern across the West. A dog in Montana recently tested positive for the highly contagious virus, and the Washington state health department is warning pet owners after possible exposure at a Seattle-area kennel.

In Chicago, the dog flu spread so quickly last year that some shelters were forced to close their doors to prevent further contamination, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

At Paws Chicago, they’ve treated around 300 sick dogs at their hospital and helped find them temporary homes while they recover. Vets understand the difficulty of containing this highly contagious virus.

Ashley Leise walks dogs in the Seattle area. She’s paying extra close attention to her four-legged friends after warnings about the new strain of dog flu.

“They can get sick just like us, and I know how much I hate being sick,” Leise said.

King County public health officials say up to 90 dogs staying at a kennel outside of Seattle may have been exposed to the virus. Two have tested positive for flu, but further tests are needed to confirm it’s the new strain.

“None of the dogs have immunity to fight it off, so you see large numbers of dogs getting ill when the virus starts to circulate,” said Beth Lipton, vet for Public Health Seattle and King County. “When dogs are going to day care or dog parks or boarding overnight in kennel facilities, it can spread very rapidly.”

Cases first showed up last March in Chicago and spread quickly. Around 2,000 dogs in 24 states have been infected. A vaccine was made available in November.

Vets say the disease is rarely fatal, but owners should see a vet right away if their dog shows symptoms.

“So if your dog doesn’t eat well, misses a meal, if you see coughing, if you see lethargy, just being tired, moping around, it could be a sign of a fever,” vet Rob McMonigle said. “If you see that, give your local vet a call and schedule an appointment because they’ll need to get on some special medications for it.”

The Seattle and King County health department says their Facebook post outlining the symptoms has been viewed 189,000 times since Tuesday. Local vets are now stocking up on the vaccine.

And while the virus is no laughing matter, a viral video features a Chicago pup named Herbert who’s putting on a brave face while recovering from the flu.

“Dogs are household members and often times they’re like kids in the family,” Lipton said. “People want to take care of their pets and do the right thing and keep them safe.”

Humans can’t contract the virus, but they could spread it to healthy dogs after close contact with an infected dog.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in: dog flu, Dog Health, News, Pet Health

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