Canine Distemper Virus- what dog owners need to know

Our local news broke a sad story. Stray Rescue of St. Louis is experiencing an outbreak of distemper among their dogs, mainly puppies. Several have already died. Because this virus is highly contagious, the shelter is closed for the next 30 days. They cannot risk bringing in new dogs (who are, obviously, not vaccinated). This deadly virus is, […]

How many shots does my kitten or puppy need?

There seems to be so much confusion on this question – even people who work in vet clinics often do not understand! How many “distemper shots” should this puppy or kitten get? Once you know the science behind it, it is actually quite simple.  There is no set number of vaccinations a puppy or kitten […]

Which vaccines does your cat really need?

Years ago, veterinarians gave every shot to every cat, every year. No one asked about lifestyle. No one asked if this was actually helping the cat or harming the cat. No one asked if one shot was different from the next. Over the past 15 or so years, things have changed for the better! We’ve […]

Can I skip all vaccines if my cat NEVER goes outside?

I have many owners whose cats never set foot outside. They are not “flight risks” and have no interest in going outside. Ever. These owners often prefer not to continue vaccinating their adult cats. Some vets insist on it, every year. What to do? There are two main vaccines that are generally recommended for all […]

New, improved guidelines for Rabies exposure

This week we have a great example of policy catching up to science! Every year or so, a group of experts in the field convenes and updates the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control. They are the ones making recommendations on what action is required in terms of vaccination against rabies, as well as […]

Which vaccines does your dog actually need?

These days, there are lots of vaccines available for our dogs. When parvovirus  emerged in the 1970’s, thousands of dogs died from what was at the time a horrible “mystery virus.” Veterinarians and pet owners cheered when an effective vaccine against this deadly disease was produced! That vaccine alone has saved thousands of lives. As […]

Canine Influenza (AKA Dog Flu) – an update

Last spring the “new and deadly dog flu” was making headlines. Thankfully, the media hype has calmed down. I practice in St. Louis, and we just now had our first “official” case of canine influenza diagnosed. Thought now was a good time to re-visit the subject. Before everyone starts panicking, let’s get the facts and […]

Does your dog need a leptospirosis vaccine?

When I first started making house calls, I debated whether or not to offer the vaccine against Leptospirosis. I didn’t routinely carry it, but for the small number of dogs who needed it, I would order it and vaccinate them. Well, I decided to just start carrying it. There are many pros and cons to […]

Kennel Cough – Myths and Facts

During summer and the Christmas holidays, we sometimes see an increase in the number of dogs contracting “kennel cough,” which we in the vet field refer to as “Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex” (you know we can’t keep things simple!). I’ve answered a lot of questions about coughing dogs lately, and have found there are […]

Should we panic over the dog flu?

Nope. Wait, I guess I should write more than that. First, some perspective. Every year, between 5,000 and 25,000 people in this country die of influenza and/or related complications. This did not make the news. Recently 1,000 or more dogs in Chicago come down with influenza, 5 dogs died, and it’s making national headlines. To […]