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Fall 2018 Newsletter

Fall 2018 Newsletter

Fear Free Pet Visits

Congratulations to Erica Suarez, LVT who recently passed her Fear Free certification.  What is Fear Free you ask?

Fear Free is a program that educates and inspires animal caretakes to provide the most positive veterinary experience we can for each individual pet.  The program focuses not only on the physical well-being of our pets but the emotional well-being also.   When implemented, this program is used to alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in the pets we care for during the veterinary visit and at home.

We will be changing some of our protocols when dealing with all pets, but especially pets that get upset.  With many pets’ that are worried about veterinary visits the changes will start at home before they even leave the house.  When we are dealing with a fearful, anxiety filled, or stressed pet at Caring Animal Hospital it may take longer than you are expecting, or we may even choose to reschedule, depending on the level of distress your pet is experiencing. 

We will be offering several types of food, toys, and tactile rewards to your pet.  Feel free to bring any food, toy, blanket, etc. that makes your pet comfortable to appointments.  (Make sure you let us know if your pet or anyone in your family has food allergies as we will be using treats such as peanut butter, fish, chicken, canned cheese, and baby food.)  Our veterinary staff and pet owners will be working as a team to make veterinary visit more enjoyable. 

Thank you in advance for your help, as we strive to provide the most effective stress-free veterinary visit for you and your pet(s).  We truly believe that the more positive veterinary experience we provide allows all involved, two legged or four legged, to be happier and healthier.  Please stay tuned to our website, Facebook, and future newsletters for updates on our policies.

Comprehensive Oral and Radiograph Exam

In March of this year, Dr. Cotter and Erica attended the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, NV. While there, Erica went to a talk regarding the recent advancements in dental care.

Currently, we are calling dental cleanings, “dentals” or “dental prophylaxis”. We are changing that name to CORE, as it is more representative of the complicated work that goes into a “dental”.

CORE stands for Comprehensive Oral and Radiographic Examination.

During a CORE, we examine your pet’s mouth for any tooth fractures, ulcers, oral masses, inflammation, swelling or other abnormalities. We use an ultrasonic scaler to clean the calculus from the teeth, then measure the gumline for any hidden pockets. Pockets occur where the bone has receded away from the tooth due to the accumulation of bacteria.  We perform full mouth radiographs (x-rays) in order to examine the integrity of each tooth, and confirm the overall health of the tooth, above as well as below the gumline.  We can then make an educated decision on whether any tooth needs to be extracted. Finally, we polish the teeth to keep the surface of the tooth smooth, so calculus cannot form as easily. A routine CORE for a dog usually takes 40 minutes to 1 hour. With extractions the procedure can take up to 3 hours or more, depending on how many teeth are extracted.

If you have any questions regarding this name change, please call our office.

Canine Influenza Vaccine

Caring Animal Hospital now recommends Canine Influenza Vaccine to all dogs at risk for exposure.  This includes dogs that board, are groomed, attend day care, go to dog parks, show their dogs, go to classes, or go to pet stores.  Some facilities in the area are requiring Canine Influenza vaccines for the dogs that attend.  We carry the Canine Influenza Vaccine and are giving it to dogs now. Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine.

Unlike people who are exposed to human flu at very young ages and develop some immunity slowly as they age, canine populations have never been exposed to a type of flu that they are susceptible to.  This means that 80% of dogs that are exposed to the Canine Influenza virus(es) will get sick and the other 20% will shed the virus but not present with clinical signs of illness.  For most dogs, the clinical signs of canine flu are similar to other upper respiratory disease complexes.  They develop fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and eye discharge.  The dog’s immune system then kicks in thus fighting the virus and producing immunity to fight the disease and to protect against future exposure.  Ten percent of dogs develop much more serious symptoms that require hospitalization.  In this subset of dog’s clinical signs can include pneumonia and even death.  Depending on the strain of canine influenza virus your dog has been exposed, symptoms can last for 14-30 days, and they also shed the virus for 14-30 days infecting other dogs even if they don’t show clinical signs themselves.

When we think of influenza in people we think of it occurring in the winter months when we are closed up together indoors.  This is not the case in dogs.  Influenza occurs in the spring, summer, and fall months when dogs are most likely to be exposed to one another through boarding, grooming, dog parks, and daycares.  But all dogs are at risk of exposure.

This year (2018) in Michigan the first Canine Influenza case was reported July 13th.  As of August 3th, 2018, 70 cases of Canine Influenza were reported on the Department of Agriculture website, but one of the doctors at Caring Animal Hospital also works in Kent County (Grand Rapids, MI) at an emergency clinic and noted they had 6 confirmed cases of Canine Influenza the weekend of August 4th.  As of August 3rd, no cases of Canine Influenza have been reported in Ingham county or the surrounding counties.  We do not know how long it will take for the disease to get to us.  It could be 1 week or 1 year.

There are 2 strains of Canine Influenza, H3N8 & H3N2; therefore, dogs need to get the one vaccine that helps their body develop immunity against both strains.  Remember no vaccine is 100% effective and vaccines are most effective if most individuals in a population are vaccinated.  This vaccine is given in 2 doses.  Immunity from the first dose develops in the first 3-6 weeks and the booster given 3-4 weeks later lasts for 1 year.  A booster Canine Influenza vaccine then needs to be given yearly.


Our new service - VitusVet

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with VitusVet to offer a smartphone application & online communication tool! An email should have been sent to you the first week of June with instructions on how to download the app & set up your communication preferences. If you don’t have a smartphone, the online communication tool works in the same way, but from your PC.

With this app/online tool you can request appointments or refills on medication/food, you get reminders of services coming due, and you get reminded of upcoming appointments. You can keep track of medication schedules and set dosage alerts as well.

This service also gives you access to medical records like bloodwork results and vaccine history. With the app you can share records with your boarding or grooming facility. Also, if your pet goes to a specialist, you can have those records integrated for easy sharing.

If you haven’t signed up yet you can do so from your computer at:  my.vitusvet.com/account/loginpetowner or download the app to your smartphone from Google Play or the iPhone App Store.


Upcoming Holiday Hours:

Nov. 22  Closed

Nov. 23  Open 9-12

Dec. 24  Open 9-12

Dec. 25  Closed

Dec. 26  Open 9-12

Dec. 31  Open 9-4

Jan. 1  Closed


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