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Vaccinating to Build Strong Defenses

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Vaccines are products designed to trigger protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines stimulate the immune system’s production of antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing organisms that enter the body. Vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity or prevent certain diseases altogether. Experts agree that widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and can improve your pet’s overall quality of life. Most vaccinations should be repeated again in 3-4 weeks if it is the first time a dog has been vaccinated against a particular disease, and given up to 21 days to build the fullest immunity. Optimally a dog should be titer tested before vaccinating to determine if it needs help to build a stronger defense, and if so, it should be vaccinated again towards that particular disease to stimulate the immune system to build a stronger defense towards it.

For most pets, vaccination is effective in preventing future disease and only rarely will a vaccinated pet have insufficient immunity to fight off the disease. The first dose of a vaccine serves to prime the animal’s immune system against the virus or bacteria while subsequent doses help further stimulate the immune system to produce the important antibodies needed to protect an animal from diseases. Many vaccinations provide adequate immunity when administered every few years, while others require more frequent schedules to maintain an acceptable level of immunity that will continually protect your pet. Bordetella is one of these. Many factors are taken into consideration when establishing a pet’s vaccination plan. You and your veterinarian should discuss and tailor a program of vaccinations and preventive health care that will help your pet maintain a lifetime of infectious disease protection. You can discuss and encourage with your veterinarian to vaccinate your dog optimally throughout its life from puppyhood to build a strong immunity.

Brief Overview of Canine Cough

Infectious tracheobronchitis is an inflammation of the mucus membrane of the trachea and bronchi, which causes canine cough, an upper-respiratory illness that is similar to a chest cold in humans. There are at least forty agents that are capable of causing canine cough. The most common organisms associated with Canine Cough are the bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and two viruses called Parainfluenza virus and Adenovirus. Bordetella or any combination thereof is most often passed on through the air. The incubation period of the disease is roughly 3-10 days and an infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness and up to 2 weeks before showing any clinical symptoms. The main symptom is a hacking cough that can sound like a goose honk, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last from a few days to several weeks. Although the cough is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious; however, just as a common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making it susceptible to secondary infections, so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications. Canine cough can be an especially serious problem for puppies and geriatric dogs whose immune systems may be weaker.

Just as in the case of the common cold, canine cough is not “cured” but must run its course; however, any dog displaying signs of a secondary infection should see a veterinarian. Many times an antibiotic will be prescribed as a precaution and sometimes cough suppressants will be used to reduce excessive coughing. Canine cough, just like flu and cold season, is often seasonal. It usually occurs in spring and late fall.

How is it Transmitted?

Airborne organisms are carried in the air by microscopic water vapor and dust particles. The particles, if inhaled, by a susceptible dog, may attach to the lining of the trachea and upper airways. These organisms are easily spread when infected dogs sneeze, bark, cough, or even drool. Some dogs are carriers and can spread the infection for months while not showing any signs. These “carriers” are a source of infection to other dogs. Contact can also occur through hands and clothing. This virus can be present at dog shows, pet stores, your veterinarians office, and even in your own backyard.

Why are the Chances of Catching it Greater in a Kennel?

A dog encounters two conditions in boarding facilities that do not typically occur at home: 1) they are with a number of potentially contagious dogs 2) the stress and excitement of a less familiar environment, both of which can result in lowered resistance to disease. The more frequently a dog visits the kennel, the greater the chance the dog will gain immunity to the disease. Even during a widespread outbreak, only a small percentage of exposed dogs are affected.

How is it Treated?

Many dogs that contract canine cough will display minor signs of coughing that may last 7-10 days and will not require any medication. The majority of dogs will continue to eat and play except for the annoying, dry, non-productive cough.

The dog should be kept warm in an isolated area with good ventilation. It should be free of drafts. The dog can also be put in a steam filled room or use a cold mist vaporizer several times a day. It is important to keep the dog quiet; any excessive barking may irritate the trachea even more. In some cases the dog may develop a secondary infection. The dog may run a fever, not eat, will have a thick yellow or green nasal discharge, and wheezing. The dog with a weak or a compromised immune system may develop secondary health problems like pneumonia which will require immediate veterinary care.

How Can I Protect My Dog?

There are three types of vaccines for canine cough; intranasal, injectable, and oral. Some dogs will develop mild symptoms similar to canine cough when given this vaccine. The symptoms will last for several days and the dog will not require medical treatment, but they can also spread it to other dogs. This is the main reason your dog should not be around other dogs after receiving the vaccine. The downfall with these vaccines is that they have a short duration. High risk dogs should be vaccinated twice a year. A high risk dog would be one that goes to the kennel, grooming shop, daycare, dog park, or is involved in group training classes. Dogs that have been properly vaccinated with Bordetella, Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus can still contract the disease, but the symptoms are usually not as severe and do not last as long. If you plan to board your dog or protect it from exposure, remember to vaccinate at least 10 days, and optimally 21 days to potential exposure to allow full protective immunity to build up. Five days prior just gives a dog a start and only a base line of immunity.

The Importance of Vaccinations and Why Does Misty Pines Require Bordetella every 6 Months?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, for complete canine cough protection, they recommend Intranasal Intra-Trac ll ADT for dogs that are going to be boarded. Some dogs have very compromised immune systems, most notably under the stressors of being in a novelty environment with numbers of dogs. Immunity of Bordetella vaccine has a short duration and has not been scientifically proven to be effective for a full year. The efficacy of the vaccine is anywhere from six to nine months based on various researches. Since we have implemented this policy in 2007, we have seen a substantial decrease in dogs that have developed canine cough while at our facility. Those that have developed it have seemed to have had a shorter duration with milder symptoms and have recovered quickly.

DA2PPC or DHLPP is a multivalent vaccine for dogs that protects against the viruses indicated: D for Distemper, A2 for canine adenovirus Type 2 which offers cross protection to adenovirus type 1, P for canine parvovirus, P for parainfluenza, and L for leptospirosis, H for infectious canine hepatitis which is another name for adenovirus type 1. H is sometimes uses instead of A. In DA2PPC, the C indicates canine coronavirus.

This vaccine is given to puppies at 8 weeks of age, followed by 12 weeks of age, and then 16 weeks of age. This vaccine is given again at 1 year of age and then annually, or every 3 years. Some veterinarians recommended vaccine schedules that may differ from this. DA2PPC does not include Bordetella, but the combination of Bordetella with the DA2PPC helps to prevent canine cough by minimizing the contraction of adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and Bordetella.
Be aware that vaccinating with just the bordetella vaccine alone (contains only the Bordetella agent) may not be fully protective because of the other infectious agents that are involved with producing the disease. Some of the other agents such as Parainfluenza and Adenovirus are part of the routine multivalent vaccinations generally given yearly to dogs.

The intra-nasal Bordetella vaccine may produce immunity slightly faster than the injectable vaccine if the dog has never been previously vaccinated for bordetella.

It is generally assumed that the intranasal route of inoculation works the fastest in getting protective levels of immunity established. However, studies have indicated that in dogs that have been previously immunized by either the intranasal or injectable route and that have some level of immunity already present, vaccination by the injectable route actually boosts immunity faster than the intranasal route.

When the injectable vaccine is given as an annual booster (to boost any immune levels already present) the maximum effects of the vaccine will be achieved after five days of the vaccination.

So when should the intranasal route be utilized? Some veterinarians suggest that it be used only in unvaccinated dogs and in young pups receiving their first vaccination. In these unvaccinated animals the first immunization would be via the intranasal route and then an additional inoculation by the injectable route are given. Then yearly injectable inoculations are given to enhance the protective levels of immunity.

Intranasal vaccines create localized immunity that greatly reduces the incidence of clinical signs and illness.

Dogs that are vaccinated can also shed the virus and cause other dogs to become mildly infected and show mild signs. This shedding usually lasts less than 72 hours. In addition, it takes up to four days after vaccination for dogs to develop protection. When you combine these facts, you will see why it is strongly recommend that a dog not be given intranasal vaccine within 72 hours of coming into contact with other susceptible dogs. Do not give the vaccine the day before a dog show, boarding, etc. Try to give at least four days before contact with other dogs and preferably seven days. This way you will help to protect your dog from becoming infected by other dogs, and help protect those dogs from becoming infected by yours. Discuss and encourage your veterinarian to vaccinate your dog optimally throughout its life to build the strongest immunity to this common canine cough.

An End Note…

It is impossible for us to tell when there might be a dog at Misty Pines that has been exposed to canine cough prior to their arrival. An infected dog may not show visible signs of infection until up to 10 days after being exposed. We are continually making strong efforts to avoid an outbreak in our facility by requiring biannual Bordetella vaccinations, extensive cleaning and disinfecting procedures in our facility, and public awareness about the causes of Canine Cough. While we make every effort to prevent the occurrence of Canine Cough in our kennel, we are unable to give 100% assurance that someone’s dog will not bring it to our facility. This is the same assurance that a teacher can’t give you when your child goes to school and catches a cold or the flu from another student. If Misty Pines detects a coughing dog that is boarding we immediately isolate it into our quarantine room and inform your emergency contact. Misty Pines has dogs that live in our facility 24/7. These dogs are vaccinated to our Misty Pines protocols and they have never been ill with canine cough due to their strong immune system against it.

References:

Journal of The American Veterinary Medical Association
Dr. Foster and Smith Educational Staff
The Merck Veterinary Manual


Dog Food Ingredient Basics

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Shopping for pet foods can be a very frustrating process, especially when there are numerous aisles of variety. There are also the claims of how their food will benefit your pet. However taking the time to read and understand the ingredients list in your dog food purchase will help you to purchase the best diet possible for your pet. Here are some tips.

Take a look at the actual ingredients and you will be surprised at what you find. Take a look at the word “real”, since when has chicken or beef not been “real?” Flavoring can be made from a natural or a chemical substance and the manufacturer may or may not list more detailed information about it. Flavoring agents can also be made from animal digest which is a cooked down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. The animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. These animals can include “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying), road kill, or even euthanized animals.

Most of the grocery store brands have a high economic value (cheap) and contain a large amount of grain or starchy vegetables to provide texture. These high carbohydrate plant products also provide a cheap source of “energy” which also means “calories”. Gluten meals are high protein extracts from which most of the carbohydrate has been removed. They are often used to increase protein percentages without using expensive animal source ingredients. Corn gluten meal is most commonly used for this purpose and offers very little nutritional value and serves mainly to bind food together. In most cases, the foods containing vegetable proteins are the low quality foods.          

Meat by-product meals are inexpensive and less digestible than muscle meat. The ingredients of each batch can vary drastically such as head, feet, bones, etc. This in turn means that the nutritional value is not always consistent. By-products consist of parts of the animal other than meat.

Animal fat is obtained from the tissue of mammals and/or poultry.  Note that the animal source does not have to be specified and is not required to originate from “slaughtered animals.” The rendered animals can be from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. These animals again can be “4-D animals”, road kill, and euthanized animals. Another thing to be aware of is what the animal fat is preserved with.

Preservatives that can be found in pet food are BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, propylene glycol and Propyl Gallate.      

BHA and BHT have been banned from human use in many countries, but are still permitted for use in the United States. There are certain oxidative characteristics and metabolites that may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigencity. Ethoxyquin was originally developed as a stabilizer for rubber and later used as a pesticide for fruit and a color preservative for spices. It has never been proven to be safe for the lifespan of an animal. It has been linked to thyroid, kidney, reproductive, immune related illnesses, and cancer. Propyl Gallate is used as an antioxidant to stabilize cosmetics, food packaging materials, and foods containing fats. It is suspected of causing liver disease and cancer. The preservatives that you want to see in dog food are mixed tocopherols, citric acid, and rosemary extract.

NOTE: Some ingredients, usually fish products, may contain artificial preservatives that are not disclosed on the ingredient list; if they are not added by the manufacturer, they are not required to be listed. Look for assurances by manufacturers using ocean fish products that their foods do NOT contain any artificial preservatives.

Coloring agents have no nutritional value and do not need to be in pet food. They are added mainly to look good to us so in turn we think our dog will enjoy eating it. The reason is that the color of food speaks to humans’ innate perceptions about the value of food items. Coal tar and petrochemicals are the main sources of artificial colors. More than one artificial color has been banned and pulled off the market over the last several decades because it was ultimately found to cause cancer. The safety of those still allowed on the market is highly questionable. Artificial colors contribute to all sorts of health problems, the most notable of which are the symptoms diagnosed as (ADHD), a behavioral pattern often brought on by Yellow #5 food dye. Children are being fed these chemicals in such large quantities that they begin to have nervous system issues such as ADHD, learning disabilities, or violent behavior.

Makes you wonder when our pets are fed these chemicals, if it doesn’t contribute to some behavior problems such as aggression and hyperactivity.

Beef & bone meal and pork & bone meal are common protein sources found in low quality pet foods. They are a byproduct made from beef or pork parts that are unsuitable for human consumption. It can incorporate the entire cow or pigs, including bones, but the quality cut of meats have already been removed. These ingredients are an inexpensive and low quality way to boost the protein percentage in the food. Meat & bone meal can consist of animal parts obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. It can also include pus, cancerous tissue, and decomposed tissue.

Salt is a necessary mineral and is generally present in sufficient quantities in the ingredients pet foods include. Just like for us, too much salt intake is unhealthy for them. In low quality foods, it is often used in excessive amounts to make the food taste more flavorful.

Sweeteners may also be added to pet foods. Examples of them are molasses, corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol, sugar, and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate. Sugars and sweeteners are an unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. It can cause obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis, and allergies. Fructose when used in small quantities, serves as a nutrient for probiotics, specifically bifidobactera. It will eventually ferment it and produce beneficial enzymes.

Menadione Sodium Bisulfate complex is a source of synthetic Vitamin K3 in dog food. Menadione is added as an inexpensive vitamin K supplement in commercial foods. The common statement as to why it is added is “to help with blood clotting”, yet it is scientifically proven that the effectiveness of menadione on blood clotting is inferior. Veterinarians will administer vitamin K1 as an antidote to dogs who have for example ingested rat poison, which causes internal bleeding and serious clotting issues. The synthetic version of Vitamin K3 has not been specifically approved for long term use and has been linked to many serious health issues in humans. It has been banned from use in food and supplements for human use in many European countries due to serious side effects, including permanent damage and deaths. It can cause cytotoxicity in liver cells, has possible mutagen effects, damages the natural vitamin K cycle, causes hemolytic anemia and hyperbilirubinemia, irritation of skin and mucous membranes, allergic reactions and eczema are just some of the health issues associated with menadione.

Ingredients need to be labeled and listed in order according to their weight before processing on the food label along with the guaranteed analysis of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture. A pet food manufacturer could make a mock product that has an acceptable guaranteed analysis of 10% Protein, 6.5% fat, 2.4% fiber and 68% moisture, similar to what you `would see on many canned pet food labels. The only problem would be that the ingredients were old leather work boots, used motor oil, crushed coal, and water.

Contrary to what many people believe, meat sources in “meal” form are not inferior to whole, fresh meats as long as they are from a specified type of animal. Meat meal consists of meat and skin with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. Meat meals have had most of the moisture removed, but meats in their original, “wet” form still contain up to 75% water. Once the food reaches its final moisture content of about 9-12%, the meat will have shrunk to sometimes as little as 1/4 of the original amount, while the already dehydrated meal form remains the same and you get more concentrated protein per pound of finished product. This means that the food may only be left with 4 ounces of actual meat content per pound of fresh meat. Many foods already contain less than one pound of meat per 2-3 pounds of grain to begin with. It is best to pick a food that contains quality meat meal as well as some fresh meat.

The food bag will have a nutritional adequacy statement listed on it. It may state either of the following statements: “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.” This means the product contains the proper amount of protein, calcium, and other recognized essential nutrients needed to meet the needs of the healthy animal. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition.” This means that the product, or “lead” member of a “family” of products, has been fed to dogs or cats under strict guidelines and found to provide proper nutrition. These two statements do not really tell you anything about the product, except that it contains the minimum of nutrients the AAFCO deems appropriate to keep your dog alive and that he will survive while eating it.

Pet food labels may also contain the words “premium”, “ultra”, “gourmet”, “natural”, “human grade”, “human quality”, “table quality”, etc. enticing us to believe that there are higher quality ingredients contained in it. They are not required to contain any different ingredients nor are they required to have higher nutritional standards than any other “complete and balanced” product. The word “natural” does not have an official definition either. “Natural” may be used when there is no use of artificial flavor, artificial color, or artificial preservatives. “Natural” is not the same as “organic.” The latter term refers to the conditions under which the plants were grown or animals were raised. While it is true that many terms used to market a pet food are not legally defined, the manufacturers of quality brands go out of their way to supply their customers with additional information, such as using hormone free animal products, pesticide free grains, providing the USDA grades of ingredients, avoiding genetically modified products and so on.

Manufacturers are not required to include substances in the ingredient list that they did not add to the product themselves. Products they obtain from their suppliers may still contain undesirable ingredients such as synthetic preservatives or other additives. An example is fish meal, which, according to US Coast Guard regulations, must be preserved with Ethoxyquin if it is not intended for human consumption.

Keep in mind that there is no “best” food for all dogs, as each dog is an individual. What works well for one dog may not work as well for another. In addition, it is better for a dog to eat a variety of foods, rather than just one food for its whole life.

Can you imagine as a human eating the same diet every day! When we humans try different kinds of foods, it keeps life interesting and lessens the boredom factor and gives us balanced nutrition. Feeding your dog different diets can help fill in nutritional gaps that a particular food or brand might have, as well as making it less likely that your dog will develop food allergies. The cliché “Variety is the spice of life” very much holds true to dogs also. Saving healthy human leftovers and   periodically mixing that healthy human food (see Ingredients to Avoid below) with your dog’s healthy dog food will help keep your pet healthy and happy.

 

Bibliography:

 

 


Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

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Having your dog come reliably to you is one of the most if not the most important behaviors for your dog to perform for you.

A good first step is to temporarily eliminate your dog’s food bowl for a few days and place what you feed your dog into your treat-training pouch not into their food bowl.  Walk around your home, start at a short distance then call your dog in a very happy voice and give them a piece of their kibble. Keep walking around all parts of your home and repeat calling and treating your dog until all the kibble is gone. Repeat this process daily for every meal until you have a reliable recall in your home, slowly add distractions and distance away from your dog during this process, starting with low level of distractions and distances then gradually building higher levels of distractions and distances as your dog succeeds. As the distractions increase it may be helpful to add a leash or long line to your dog’s collar to help guide them away from that distraction. Also remember that the higher the palatability of your treat the more incentive for your dog to come and the more power you have drawing your dog to you.

Once your recall is reliable in your home then try a different location, maybe your yard would be the next choice. Repeat this process at various locations and you will eventually have one of the best recalls in town.

 


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Sat 29

Nuisance Behaviors

April 29 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 29

Directed Jumping 101

April 29 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Sun 30

Dock Diving 101

April 30 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm