Vaccinations and Routine Laboratory Tests
This page is designed to help you better understand why we vaccinate cats and dogs. Just like humans, it is highly recommended to vaccinate your pets against certain infections to help keep the population of companion animals healthy. Also, you will find information on routine laboratory tests that are recommended annually.
Rabies: An acute viral infection that is always fatal once clinical signs appear. It is caused by exposure to an infected animal through a scratch, cut or bite. It causes neurological dysfunction and is zoonotic, which means it can be transferred to humans. All cats, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor, are required by state law to be vaccinated against rabies.
FVRCP (Feline distemper vaccine):
-Rhinotracheitis: An upper respiratory disease caused by a type of herpes virus. It is spread between cats through direct contact or contaminated objects. This disease can cause sneezing, eye and nasal discharge and conjunctivitis.
-Calici Virus: This is also an upper respiratory disease with similar symptoms but is not caused by herpes virus.
-Panleukopenia: A highly contagious virus caused by the feline parvovirus. The name means "a decrease in the number of white blood cells." Because of the decrease in white blood cells, this can lead to gastrointestinal, immune system and nervous system disease.
Leukemia: A highly contagious disease which impairs the cat's immune system and causes certain types of cancer. A cat can contract this through direct contact and non-direct contact with an infected cat.
Rabies: An acute viral infection that is always fatal once clinical signs appear. It is caused by exposure to an infected animal through a scratch, cut or bite. It causes neurological dysfunction and is zoonotic, which means it can be transferred to humans. All dogs are required by state law to be vaccinated against rabies.
DHPP (Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza Virus):
-Distemper: A virus that is spread through aerosol droplets and through contact with nasal or eye discharge, feces and urine. This is a multisystem disease with progressive central nervous system involvement, causing neurologic dysfunction. The only treatment is supportive and survival rates are very low.
-Canine Hepatitis: A virus that spreads through bodily fluids of infected dogs. It affects the liver and kidneys and causes bleeding disorders.
-Canine Parvovirus: A highly contagious virus spread through direct contact or contaminated feces. It attacks the intestinal tract causing bloody diarrhea and leads to dehydration and sepsis.
-Canine Parainfluenza Virus: A highly contagious respiratory virus. It is usually transmitted through the air. Symptoms are similar to Canine Influenza but they are unrelated viruses and require different vaccinations.
Lyme: This is a bacterial infection transmitted by the Deer Tick. It can cause fever, swollen joints, pain, decreased appetite, lethargy, lameness and in rare instances kidney disease, heart disease and neurological disease.
Leptospirosis: Bacteria harbored by wildlife and passed to dogs via urine into water sources. A dog can be exposed by drinking, swimming in or walking through contaminated water. It can cause flu-like symptoms and can lead to kidney or liver failure. Leptospirosis can also infect humans, and causes similar symptoms and organ failure.
Bordetella (Kennel Cough): A highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a bacteria that causes dry, hacking cough, sneezing, and can lead to pneumonia.
Canine Influenza Virus: This is a contagious viral disease that can spread quickly among dogs. It is not a very popular disease in our area, but definitely discuss it with your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns.
Heartworm test (tests for Heartworm, Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis): It is highly recommended to have your dog tested for heartworm and tick borne diseases annually. There is no medication or vaccine that is one hundred percent guaranteed. By using preventatives, vaccinating and testing annually, we can appropriately diagnose your dog should the need arise.
Routine Laboratory Tests
Fecal Test: It is highly recommended to have a stool sample tested annually, even if you aren't actively seeing worms. The test looks for microscopic evidence of intestinal worms and parasites (Roundworms, Hookworms, Giardia and Coccidia). However, if you are seeing rice-like segments in your pet's stool, this is Tapeworms. We don't typically find microscopic evidence of this worm, just the worm itself. If you are seeing this on your pet, or in their stool, give us a call.
How much do you need to bring in and how old can it be? We only need about a tablespoon of a fresh sample. If you have a small pet, then a marble size is workable. The sample should not be over 12-24 hours old but there are some stipulations with that time frame. For dogs, it has to be picked up off of the ground right away. In the winter, a frozen stool sample cannot be tested and too much snow mixed in with it will dilute it. In the warmer months, a sample on the ground for too long can dry out or attract other bugs that will make it not viable. It's best to pick it up right away and put it in a plastic baggie to bring to us. For cats, if a stool sample sits in a lot of litter for too long, it will dry out. A sample with some litter on it is perfectly fine, as long as it is soft, it can be tested.
Some worms and parasites can be passed between other pets and humans in the household. We send our samples to an outside lab in order to get the most accurate results. Results typically come back to us within 24 business hours and we will contact you with the results.