Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vaccine Update

Our vet appointment to discuss our core vaccine schedule went well.  I am very pleased.  I was listened to and we had a useful, detailed conversation.  My vet was comfortable with me choosing to reduce how often we vaccinate for distemper and parvo.  Murray is now 6, and I feel he has been WELL vaccinated at this point.  My vet was open to simply vaccinating every few years or I could choose to titer every few years.  At this point we have not titered.  He was very open and comfortable with how I wanted to proceed.  He didn't think anything I was suggesting was unsafe.  We decided for Piper, he will likely not ever need a core vaccine again.  He will be 10 in a few weeks.  We did do the lymes vaccine because ticks are a very serious problem in our area.  While nothing provides 100% protection from lymes, we agreed as much protection as possible is a good idea.

He did explain why he vaccinates annually as a rule of thumb.  He feels with the clientele he has, he only feels completely comfortable when he's keeping his pet clients covered with their vaccines.  He cannot always be guaranteed he will see a dog or cat on a yearly basis or that they are all being cared for as he feels they should be, so to insure their proper protection, he vaccinates annually.  I was happy he felt reassured in my care for my dogs and therefor entrusted me with my vaccine decisions.  I, in turn, respect that HE is the professional and I thoroughly appreciated his candid thoughts and advice. Seems we have a good doctor patient relationship after-all :)

I hope all of you have veterinarians you can have such informative and helpful conversations with.  I'm grateful I do!

**If you have any specific questions I can answer, please leave a comment below.  There were far too many details from our meeting to include in this update** 


Friday, October 25, 2013

Clicker Practice

In this clip we practice "touch the cup".  Murray must, in some way, touch the red cup on the floor to receive a click and a treat.  My treats should be delivered faster, but clicker and camera in hand was tough.  I think he's got this one down!  :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Some Tasty Treats- Etta Says

We wanted to share a company we have recently taken notice of.  We LOVE the chews and treats from "fairly" new to us "Etta Says".  We have received several items from this company in our monthly BarkBox, and each one has been a hit.  Most recently we enjoyed the Etta Says Deer Chew, but we have had their bite size treats and other chews as well.  I am pretty picky with what I allow the boys to eat, and I am pleased that their products are made in the USA and natural.  The prices are reasonable too, considering you are getting above average quality treats.  Both Murray and Piper have suffered with allergies over the years.  We feed predominantly grain free and these chews do not cause any flare ups.  We used to feed plain Milk Bones as treats, but since switching from those, their weight, coats and overall health seems improved.  Their energy levels are up as well.  I couldn't be happier!  We highly recommend Etta Says products.   

Etta Says

Friday, October 4, 2013

Vaccines Vaccines Vaccines-OMG!!!

I have been a bit upset recently regarding vaccines.  I have been upset with myself for not doing the proper research (because after all I am my dog's advocate), and also upset with my vet because I'm concerned he's not giving me the best advice.  Over the years I have slowly looked into raising and handling my dogs in the best possible manner.  From choosing high quality food that suits their needs, to leaning into more natural products for bathing and grooming...I have been doing my due diligence trying to keep my boys happy and healthy for as long as possible.  It's terrible enough our pups have such short lifespans, I certainly don't want to be doing anything to make them even shorter!  This is why I am currently on a crusade (as I have called it) to now make adjustments in my vaccinating schedule.  They say when you know better you do better... well that's me in this very moment.  About a year ago in conversation with a fellow dog lover and rescue worker (my cousin), it was mentioned to me that core dog vaccines "should" be given every three years.  A little bell went off in my head.  Three years??  I didn't think that's what my vet was doing.  I was fairly sure I was going in for those core shots far more often than every three years.  So, when I met with my vet this past spring (not to get any vaccines for Murray but to get them for Piper) I asked what schedule he had Murray on as far as his vaccines and I mentioned I was growing concerned do to his lifelong skin issues pointing to an auto-immune disorder and I didn't want any more stress to his system, and he told me every two years was Murray's schedule.  So, off to research some more I went!  Two years didn't jive with what I heard but it was better then yearly!  Now, today my eyes are pretty wide open...or I might say bugging out in shock!  The American Animal Hospital Association (aka AAHA) changed over their core vaccine schedule guidelines in 2006 from annual administration to every three years.  WHAT?!?!  2006?!?!  How had I missed the boat the past 7 years?  Worse, how was my vet missing the boat???  After calming myself down, I called my vet to discuss.  I spoke to one of his assistants. I explained I was calling to make my wellness appointment  but I had a few questions first.  I asked them to specifically check Murray's vaccine schedule.  I was told he received DHP-PV (distemper,hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvo) annually.  Always had.  Then I asked if I could refuse that vaccine.  I was told yes, if I titer him annually.  I then questioned why I couldn't titer him every three years if in fact the AAHA's own guidelines don't even recommend vaccines until three years have passed.  I was again told titers must be done annually.  So, I thanked her for her help, set up the appointment with my vet but explained I would have to discuss this at the appointment further and I wanted no shots and no titers at that point.  I will go on October 26 to see where this all ends up.  In the meantime I have also found out the two other local vets in my area are also vaccinating yearly.  I have, however, found a very reputable vet a little further away who does follow the AAHA guidelines.  If my current vet (whom I like a great deal) refuses to be flexible, I might have to switch.  I, of course want my dogs fully protected through their vaccines, but I do think there are serious risks to over vaccination as well.  I also realize where I live a current rabies vaccine is required by law.  I am strictly referring to the distemper/parvovirus combo shots.  So, my questions for anyone reading this is...Am I making sense?  Do you vaccinate every three years?  Do you titer?  Were you in the dark and totally trusting your vet like me?  So very frustrated!!!

She Deserves Better