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Canine Wellness

It is so important to vaccinate your dog against Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus-2 and Parvovirus. Our hopsital treats about 500 parvovirus cases year round, with most cases being see in March and April. Vaccines should be started at 6-8 weeks of age and depending on the vaccine is continued every 3 weeks until the puppy is at least 16 weeks old. Thereafter, the vaccines are repeated every 1-3 years. 


The Canine parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus-2, and leptospirosis vaccine are all included in a single injection.




Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that affects the digestive system. It can also weaken the immune system and damage the heart. Signs include fever, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and loss of appetite. It can be fatal, especially in puppies born to un-vaccinated mothers. Vaccines are started at 6-8 weeks of age and continued every 3 weeks until the puppy is older than 16 weeks. Then your dog will be vaccinated every 1-3 years. We DO NOT recommend vaccinations from a feed store or pharmacy. Parvovirus treatment usually requires hospitalization and can be prevented if proper vaccination protocol is followed.




Canine Distemper is a serious, highly contagious disease. It weakens the immune system, leaving infected dogs vulnerable to other infections. Symptoms include fever, coughing, green nasal and eye discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, thickened toe pads, muscle twitching, seizures, and blindness. Puppies are most susceptible. Distemper is fatal in up to 90% of cases. For the dogs that recover from the disease, most have serious permanent neurologic problems. Fortunately, the vaccination is very effective if given prior to the dog’s exposure. 



There are two forms of Canine Adenovirus, CAV-1 and CAV-2. Vaccination with CAV-2 provides protection against both. CAV-1 is the cause of Infectious Canine Hepatitis, which damages the liver. CAV-2 is one of several organisms that can cause Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis, or Kennel Cough. Just as you would expect, the main sign is a persistent cough. Its spread mainly in places where large numbers of dogs are in close proximity, such as kennels, shelters, grooming facilities, or dog shows. 




Leptospirosis is a serious illness that damages the kidneys and liver and can be transmitted to people. Unfortunately, the vaccine provides only moderate protection and must be boostered annually. In the past it was believed Lepto vaccines were connected to a higher incidence of allergic reactions. Studies have now shown that the greatest risk of allergic reactions is seen in small breed dogs receiving multiple vaccines at once. We see very few allergic reactions with our vaccines. 



The rabies vaccination is given at 12 weeks of age and boostered again one year later. After that, the rabies vaccine is repeated every three years. Rabies is an incurable disease of the nervous system that is nearly always fatal. Worse yet, it is transmitted between most animal species, including humans. Although rabies transmission requires direct body fluid contact, even indoor pets can be at risk since sick wild animals may enter homes. Regular rabies vaccination is mandated by law in most states. 



Bordatella (Kennel Cough):


The Kennel Cough Complex, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a treatable respiratory illness.

We recommend the vaccine annually. It can be caused by CAV-2, Canine Parainfluenza, and Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma organisms and possibly other viruses. The combination vaccine normally given to dogs includes CAV-2 and Parainfluenza. Dogs at high risk of exposure to kennel cough can receive a more potent vaccine, given as nose drops or as an injection that protects against Bordetella as well. This is recommended for dogs that are boarded, groomed professionally, or taken to dog shows. 



Other Diseases:


Although we do live in this unbearable heat three months out of the entire year, pesky mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks find ways to get into our air-conditioned homes. Your cat and dog are the perfect free rides into the human world. But what you may not have known is that these creatures harbor life-threatening diseases that are easily prevented. The following will give you a basic overview of the common diseases associated with these pesky critters. 

Lyme Disease 


Lyme disease is a bacterial disease spread by ticks. While it is most prevalent in the Northeastern U.S., it has been found in all but a few states as well as other parts of the world. The name has nothing to do with fruit, but comes from the place where the disease was first reported, Lyme, Connecticut. Lyme disease affects people and dogs. It is rare in other domestic animals. Lyme disease is transmitted to people and dogs by the bite of ticks, most commonly the black-legged deer tick. Wooded, brushy areas outdoors are likely locations for these ticks. The tick lives by attaching to a host and feeding on blood. While attached, it can spread Lyme disease through its saliva. Research has shown that in most cases, the disease is not transmitted until the tick has been attached for 48 to 72 hours. Lyme disease is not spread directly from one person to another or from a dog to a person. 

Heartworm Disease 


Over the last couple of years, we have seen a significant rise in the number of heartworm cases diagnosed in Arizona. In 2014 alone our hospital has treated 3 dogs, which is more than we have treated in previous years. This is likely due to the increase in mosquitoes. Heartworm Disease is a potentially life-threatening parasitic infection and expensive to treat. Found worldwide, it infects wild and domestic dogs, sea lions, ferrets, and cats. 

Heartworm Disease is caused by a worm, Dirofilaria immitis, and spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito feeds on an infected animal, usually a dog, it ingests microscopic larvae in the blood. These microfilaria mature in the mosquito for about two weeks. When the mosquito bites a susceptible animal the infectious larvae are injected into its tissues. They migrate through the animal’s body, maturing into adult worms over a period of months. The adult worms live in the heart and major blood vessels where they reproduce to create new microfilaria. The time from infection to appearance of microfilaria is about six months. 

Dogs are highly susceptible to heartworm infection, while it is much less common in other domestic animals such as cats and ferrets. 

There are effective preventative medications available to protect dogs, cats, and ferrets. We carry a prevention called Heartgard and this is given as a treat once monthly. Pets started on preventive medications before six months of age are tested after they have been on the medication for 6-12 months. Pets that begin heartworm prevention after 6 months of age should be heartworm tested before the preventive is given. Annual heartworm testing is recommended. 


Ehrlichia Canis, Ehrlichiosis, Tick Fever 

Ehrlichiosis is a disease spread from the bite of a tick. The brown dog tick is the primary host of this serious disease, which was first seen in military dogs returning to the US from the Vietnam War. The organism that is carried by ticks and causes the Ehrlichiosis infection is called a rickettisa, which is similar to bacteria. This disease should be taken very seriously as untreated cases can result in death. 

There are three phases of the Ehrlichiosis infection. The acute phase occurs in the first two to four weeks of infection. Fever, weight loss, nervous system anomalies, respiratory distress, bleeding disorders and other symptoms can be seen during this initial stage. The second phase of the disease is referred to as the subclinical stage. The symptoms that are seen in the acute stage are normally not present in this stage and basically subside. Dogs that are infected may continue to shed the organism, they may totally eliminate the organism during this stage or they may progress to the chronic phase of the disease. Many of the symptoms present in the acute phase may return along with lameness, anemia, swollen limbs and blood clotting problems. Each progression from one phase to the next makes treating Ehrlichiosis more difficult and this is why early detection is very important for treatment to be successful. 

The number one key is prevention. Ask about flea and tick preventatives, mow your lawns often, decrease exposure time by keeping your pet indoors, be aware of any and all water sources in the area that may be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. 


We currently offer a blood test that test for these 3 diseases and is recommended for your pet annually. The cost of the test is less than $60 and results are available within 10 minutes. 

Fecal Testing 


Annual fecal testing is recommended for your pet. A fecal test checks for intestinal parasites, microscopic protozoa, and occult blood. Many parasites, particularly protozoan parasites, are not prevented through traditional "wormers" and most parasites can't be seen without the aid of the microscope. Parasites affect your pet's health, and can put your family at risk in some cases!

A fecal test is only $43. 


Dental Care


Pets have teeth too! The only difference with pets is that they are not able to brush and floss their own teeth. Good oral health is an important part of good general health for your pet. By the time most cats are 1 year old, they have some degree of gingivitis. Prevention is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 


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