Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August is National Immunization Month




I’ll never forget the worried look on my brother-in-law’s face when he showed up at our house, very sick puppy in tow.  He had come over to help us celebrate our son, Jonah’s first birthday.  But he wasn’t able to stay long.  Jody, his six-week-old mutt, had contracted parvovirus and Christian was not sure he was going to make it.



Canine Parvovirus or CPV is a viral illness.  The most common form causes vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and weight loss.  The less common form attacks the heart muscles of young puppies and is typically more severe, often leading to death.  Christian’s dog, Jody, had the former version of CPV and was suffering from dehydration.


CPV is highly contagious, but it is also preventable through vaccination.  The canine parvovirus vaccine is a “core” vaccine, and should be given at six, nine, and twelve weeks of age (see Petfinder’s Puppy and Dog Vaccination Schedule).  Core vaccinations should be given to puppies, kittens, and pets having an unknown vaccination history (pets entering the shelter system).  Other core vaccines for dogs are the canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, and rabies.   For cats, core vaccines include feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), feline calicivirus (FCV), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), and rabies.  


Because there is no one size fits all protocol when it comes to vaccinating your dog or cat, it is important that you have conversations with your vet to determine a treatment plan.  PetPartners can come to your aid in this department through their Wellness Plans.  Their Defender and Defender Plus Coverage allow you to work with your veterinarian to choose the vaccinations that are best for your pet.  If your vet recommends vaccine titers instead of vaccinating, PPI will provide reimbursement for that.  Live in the southwest and need a rattlesnake vaccination for your pooch?  Check!  PPI has you covered.  Visit their Wellness and Preventative Care page for more information on coverage.


Jody is Christian’s right hand man.  He shares his bed, goes hiking and shopping with Christian, and is his all around buddy.  Seeing their relationship melts my heart and simply defines the old saying, dogs are man’s best friend.  Which is why when I think back to the day Christian told us his beloved pooch had parvo and they weren’t sure he was going to make it, it is particularly difficult to imagine what Christian would’ve missed out on, had things taken a turn for the worse.

Now Jonah is 12, and you guessed it, Jody is 11 and going strong.  Still hiking through the mountains of North Carolina, counter surfing for tasty treats, and tagging along playing the part of man’s best friend.  August is National Immunization Awareness Month.  Has your dog had his vaccines?  Given thoughtfully and correctly, vaccinations can save your pet’s life.  Make sure you are educated on which ones are important for your dog or cat.

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