Your Dog’s Basic Health Care
Vaccinations and the appropriate boosters are one of the most important components of your dog’s health care. More frequent boosters may be recommended if you board or groom your dog on a recurrent basis. As with humans, boosters do not guarantee total immunity against disease. But most canine diseases are preventable if the dog is kept current on vaccinations.
Vaccination schedules vary depending on the type of vaccine being used.
Recommended Vaccinations for Dogs
Puppies should be vaccinated at approximately 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age for distemper, hepatitis, adenovirus, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus (DHLPP).
Adult dogs should receive booster vaccinations annually. Always follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.
Prevention is the Best Health Solution
In addition to an annual exam (twice yearly for seniors), your dog should be seen by a vet if you notice any of the following:
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
- Difficulty eating
- Excessive drinking and or urination
- Lethargy or other changes in activity level
- Behavior changes
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Skin lumps, bumps or irritations
- Dry, thin or otherwise poor hair coat
- Bad breath, plaque on teeth, missing teeth or bleeding gums
- Drooling or excessive salivation
- Ear odors, residue in ear or redness
- Irritated or weeping eyes
- Lameness in a leg or pain in any area of the body
Rabies The rabies virus attacks the brain and is always fatal. Most pets are exposed to rabies by bites from wild animals. This disease may be transmitted through the bite of an infected pet to a human. The rabies vaccination is required by law and is the most effective means of control.
Canine Parvovirus (CPV). Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease which can affect dogs of all ages but is especially deadly in puppies. Parvo is contracted through contact with the feces of an infected dog. The first signs are often depression, loss of appetite and energy, and vomiting followed by diarrhea and dehydration.
Canine Distemper. Distemper is an airborne virus transmitted through close contact; however, direct contact is not always necessary. Distemper is more prevalent in warm weather when numerous animals are outdoors and in urban areas where there are a large number of dogs. Dogs in rural areas can also contract distemper through contact with foxes, wolves, coyotes, skunks, raccoons and similar animals. Cats cannot contract or transmit canine distemper.
Most often dogs will display cold-like symptoms including any of the following: cough, watery, green discharge from nose and/or eyes, fever, diarrhea and vomiting, lack of interest in food, skin lesions and hardened paw pads.
In some cases, distemper may attack the dog’s central nervous system causing seizures and convulsions about 30 days after exposure. Dogs rarely recover from this state. Since it has many different symptoms and each dog responds differently, distemper is difficult to diagnose.
Once this viral disease has attacked an unprotected animal, there is no specific or uniformly effective treatment that can assure a full recovery. Young puppies most often do not recover from this disease while older puppies and adults stand a better chance. However, today’s methods and vaccines are so effective at prevention that a properly immunized dog stands little chance of contracting distemper.
Canine Bordetella (Kennel Cough). Kennel cough in dogs is similar to the common cold in humans. Kennel cough occurs more commonly in puppies and young adult dogs and in dogs that have recently been in shelters or exposed to many dogs. Although this disease is rarely fatal, it can lead to other diseases such as pneumonia. Since kennel cough is caused by an airborne virus, normal cleaning and surface disinfecting cannot eliminate the cause. To help prevent pneumonia and further transmission of any disease, dogs with kennel cough should be kept in a warm, dry environment and away from other dogs.
Kennel cough can occur with Distemper, Adenovirus Type Two, Parainfluenza and other respiratory infections. It is characterized by a dry, hacking cough or bouts of deep, harsh coughing
often followed by gagging motions that sometimes produce foamy mucus. When external pressure is applied to the dog’s throat, the dog usually coughs. Most infected dogs do not have a fever, eat well and are alert. Like the common cold, kennel cough cannot be cured but has to run its course. Antibiotics can prevent or cure secondary infections.
Since most dogs bark while sheltered, don’t assume that every cough is kennel cough. Barking can lead to a sore throat or upper respiratory infection (URI). If your dog has a fever, is less active than normal, has a decreased appetite, has discharge from the eyes or nose, has difficulty breathing or is older than three years, the above-mentioned symptoms may be signs of a more serious problem and you should consult with your veterinarian immediately.
Canine Coronavirus (CCV). Coronavirus and Parvovirus have many of the same symptoms and are difficult to diagnose without laboratory tests. Dogs can contract both diseases simultaneously which sharply reduces their chances for recovery.
Canine Adenovirus. Canine Adenovirus Type One infection causes infectious hepatitis which can lead to severe kidney damage. Type Two can be a complicating factor in kennel cough. Vaccines are typically found in the Distemper vaccination.
Canine Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease carried by many wild animals. A dog can contract the disease from an infected animal or by drinking contaminated water.
Heartworms. Canine heartworm disease is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito. Larvae travel slowly through the dog’s bloodstream until they arrive in the heart or lungs. This process takes approximately six months causing serious damage to the blood vessels and organs as they pass through them. Dogs should be tested annually for heartworms even if they have been on medication. Talk with your veterinarian about the best heartworm preventatives for your dog.
Intestinal Parasites. Veterinarians typically agree that testing for worms and following a good deworming program is essential for puppies. After your dog has been dewormed, do not be alarmed at the stool immediately following the medication. Worms are expelled over a 24-48 hour basis and the stool may be full of worms. This is normal.
Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in dental plaque and often begins with discoloration on the teeth. Without regular dental cleanings, this plaque builds up and turns into tartar. Tartar can spread into the gums where bacteria become trapped and cause infections. If left unchecked, periodontal disease can lead to serious pain, infection, and tooth loss. The infection can also result in bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging other organ or body systems in your dog. It can also complicate any underlying diseases such as diabetes or chronic sinusitis. While the damage caused by periodontal disease is sometimes irreversible, it can be halted with antibiotics and regular cleaning.
Dog and Cat Adoption in Dallas Fort Worth
We also partner with Willowbend Mall and Stonebriar Mall in the summer for monthly adoption events.
Our pets available for adoption consist of dogs and cats extracted from shelters, from breeder releases and owner surrenders. These elements make up about 42-60% of our adoption rates.
We showcase our adoptable dogs and cats on our page at petfinder.com.