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Ask The Vet: canine flu


Question: What ‘s the deal with doggie day care requiring Canine flu shots? Some places require it and I don’t know much about it. Any information would be helpful! Have a great day!
KAREN J.

Reply: Great question, Karen. Fortunately canine flu (H3N8) isn’t endemic in our area, so we don’t give the vaccine unless the dog is traveling to a dog show, an endemic area (Philadelphia, Long Island), etc. Some facilities require it because it helps decrease the risk that a dog will bring it into their facility. If H3N8 gets into a boarding/daycare facility, they’d have to close for multiple weeks and that would devastate their business. The vaccine is no more of a risk to give than any other vaccine, so we’re not concerned about giving it to dogs that are in good health. Canine flu only causes symptoms in a low percentage of dogs that contract it, and it only becomes a serious health risk in a small percentage of those dogs. Puppies, geriatric dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems are most at risk, similar to which people are at risk when exposed to strains of the human flu. We stock the canine H3N8 vaccine here, FYI. It’s a two shot series given 3-4 weeks apart, then once a year thereafter if you’re continuing it.

Dr. Cahill

(Photo from www.wormsandgermsblog.com)

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
April 6th, 2013

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What to do when you find an injured bird or mammal


Here at SeaPort Vet, it’s not unusual for clients or passers-by to bring in injured wildlife. We are able to save or place many of those animals with local rehabilitators. It’s a team effort helping with these critters, so knowing how to help is important.

Recommendations regarding the handling of injured wildlife vary depending on where you live. Good guidelines for residents of Massachusetts can be found on the Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Association of Massachusetts website at http://www.wraminc.org/index.html.

For birds, the guidelines are based on whether or not the bird is injured, and if it already has feathers. For mammals, the guidelines focus on the presence of injuries and the ability to identify the animal’s den.

Please remember that you can easily be injured by wild animals, so never put yourself in harms way. Birds can do a lot of damage with their beaks and feet, and mammals can bite or scratch. Many species of mammals can carry rabies which is fatal to humans, so always consider contacting the appropriate resources before intervening directly.

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
December 29th, 2012

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Some pets keep giving even after they’re gone


Discussing the “aftercare” of a beloved pet is a delicate topic. Fortunately there are many ways to honor them once they’re gone. When a pet dies, some owners take them home for burial while others elect to have them cremated so they can keep or spread the ashes. Sometimes we’re asked to do a post mortem first to find an explanation for the pet’s illness and provide better closure for the owners.

We are also occasionally asked if donating the deceased pet for educational purposes is an option. Here in Massachusetts, the veterinary school at Tufts has a well established client donation program to which we have referred several families. In fact, the vet school at Tufts has been using client donated pets since 1988 (see http://vet.tufts.edu/dvm/animal_use.html).

It’s never easy to say goodbye, and they always seem to leave us too soon. Our pets offer us quite a lot both while they’re here and after they’ve passed. Very generous indeed 🙂

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
October 12th, 2012

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Just for fun: What about that gift horse…?!


Have you ever heard or used a phrase and not known where it came from or what it meant? A classic example is the saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” We’ve all used it to convey gratitude when presented with a gift. “Hey, it’s free – just accept it and move along!”

The saying relates to how horses are evaluated at the time of purchase. Their teeth tell us how old they are and can provide insights into their general state of health. That said, inspecting the mouth of a horse that is given as a gift can be seen as ungrateful. Pretty neat, huh?!

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
August 23rd, 2012

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