Saturday, July 1, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Flu Vaccine, Variables of Vaccinations and Sedatives for Dogs

Is the Flu Vaccine a Smart Choice For Your Dog?

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

"News articles about the expanding canine flu “epidemic” are popping up everywhere, and they seem intent on creating fear and worry. Rest assured, there is no need for panic. The better response is to learn about this disease and then consider whether or not vaccine protection makes sense for your dog." ~Dr. Nancy Kay

There indeed has been a lot of talk about the "new" flu's (H3N2) return this year. This is a new virus which means that dogs do not carry any inherent immunity. There is no treatment for it, other than supportive care. There is now a vaccine. Should we vaccinate our dogs against this flu?

The disease can get serious and in rare cases deadly. Most dogs, however, come down only with mild symptoms.

The decision whether or not to vaccinate against H3N2 depends on your location, your dog's lifestyle and health.

Read Dr. Kay's thoughtful article on the subject.

Variables of Vaccinations in Dogs

Dr. Jean Dodds

Here is the thing about living creatures - one size doesn't fit all. It is true that vaccines are not always a hundred percent effective. But what are the potential factors at play?

There are dogs, so-called "non-responders," whose immune system is going to ignore the antigen. This is a heritable trait, and such dogs won't mount immunity no matter what you do. This is not overly common, but it can happen.

Timing, as with about everything, is key. As long as a puppy still has antibodies from their mom, they will not respond to the vaccine, and that's why the typical protocol involves repeat initial vaccines.

With vaccines against bacterial infections, such as leptospirosis, the timing is important because the effect of the vaccine only lasts up to a year and successfully vaccinating against bacterial infections is always trickier.

To learn more about what is involved in successful vaccination read Dr. Dodds' article.

Sedatives for Dogs: How and When to Use Them Safely

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

It wasn't until Cookie's iliopsoas injury when I first not only considered, but insisted on chemical help with keeping her calm during the period of strict exercise restrictions. That was when I discovered Trazodone. This drug has originally been used by behaviorists but is now increasingly employed by surgeons as well to facilitate post-op restrictions.

We never had to use sedatives for anxiety issues; the only thing we ever experimented with every now and then was Adaptil and Bach's remedy.

There are situations when sedatives can be an incredibly useful tool. Learn when it is appropriate to use them in Dr. Coate's article.


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