What Vaccinations Does My Adult Dog Need?

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Dog Checkups & Preventive Care | Veterinary science, in conjunction with industry, has done a great job developing vaccines that are very safe and effective preventive measures. Vaccines keep your dog protected from serious infectious diseases. Diseases that, just a few years ago, were epidemics are now less common. It's not just a matter of more vaccines but also better vaccines that are more specific, provide longer protection, and allow your veterinarian to make recommendations appropriate for your pet.

Not all dogs need to be vaccinated for all diseases all the time. There are two general groupings of vaccinations: those that target “core” diseases and those that target “non-core” diseases.

Core vaccinations

Core vaccinations prevent diseases that are extremely widespread in their distribution and are easily transmitted. These diseases are commonly fatal or extremely difficult to treat effectively. One core disease—rabies, can be transmitted to humans with potentially deadly results. In summary, core diseases are the more contagious and severe diseases.

Core vaccines provide long term immunity, making yearly vaccination unnecessary.

Core vaccines include:

  • Canine distemper

  • Canine parvovirus

  • Canine adenovirus 1 infection

  • Rabies

Historically, these vaccines were recommended yearly but this is no longer the case. Duration of immunity from these vaccines have been proven to be at least 3 years. Rabies vaccines are sometimes administered more often based on state and provincial regulations. While not all vaccines carry a label that indicates they are effective for 3 years, current recommendations for core vaccines are that after the completion of an initial series, adult dogs should be revaccinated every 3 years.

Non-core vaccinations

Non-core vaccines protect against diseases that do not meet the core vaccine description. While all dogs are at risk for core diseases and must be vaccinated--risk of exposure, likelihood of infection, and severity of disease should be evaluated when making non-core vaccine recommendations. The indication for these vaccines should be based on a risk assessment that looks at local and regional incidence of the disease. The risk assessment should also take your pet’s lifestyle into consideration.

Non-core vaccinations may include:

  • Leptospirosis

  • Lyme disease

  • Canine cough complex

  • Canine influenza

These vaccines generally provide a shorter length of protective immunity, and dogs that are at risk for infection should be vaccinated every year.

How can you determine your dog’s risk of infection?

  • Having a conversation with your veterinarian is the number one way you can determine your dog's risk factors and which vaccines are recommended.

  • Lyme disease is no longer limited to the Northeastern United States. It is transmitted by deer ticks associated with white tail deer. The populations of deer are expanding and with them the incidence of exposure. While exposure and infection do not always result in disease, dogs considered at risk should be vaccinated and tested annually.

  • Vaccination against leptospirosis should be considered for dogs who are exposed to wildlife environments like ponds, or when urban and rural wildlife share the environment with your dog.

  • Vaccination against canine cough includes bordetella and parainfluenza vaccines. These diseases are respiratory infections and as such are transmitted from dog to dog. Boarding facilities, dog shows, dog classes, and parks where dogs play are all potential risks. Dogs exposed to these environments should be vaccinated yearly.

  • Canine influenza is a relatively recently described disease and a relatively new vaccine. It should be administered yearly for dogs considered by your veterinarian to be at risk.

All dogs should be examined by a veterinarian at least yearly and a complete history and risk assessment should be performed. This will assure that your dog remains healthy and is appropriately vaccinated.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


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5 Low-Maintenance Pet Bird Species

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Birds are easier to care for than any four-legged pet. And while there is no such thing as a no-maintenance bird, some species are easier to care for than others. From doves to finches, canaries to parakeets, there are many cute, charming pet birds that won't put great demands on an owner's time but will still prove to be good companions.

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Plenty of Bird Species Make Good Pets and Are Easy to Care For

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FINCHES

As long as finches are provided with a proper flight cage and two or three flock-mates to interact with, they require zero handling and out-of-cage playtime. Finches tend to keep to themselves and would rather socialize with other finches than their human caretakers, so those who have little spare time can enjoy the company of birds in their home while only having to feed, water, and clean up after them.

However, a small flock of finches can be quite messy, so keep in mind the balance between allowing them to socialize with each other and having to clean up a big mess.

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PARAKEETS (BUDGIES)

Some bird lovers want a bird that they can hold, train, and that can even learn to talk, but that they don't have to spend every minute of every day holding. A parakeet, or budgie, is the ideal option for that scenario.

While Budgies do bond strongly with their owners, as most parrots do, they are easier to keep occupied than many larger species. A budgie in a spacious cage well-stocked with plenty of safe and interesting bird toys can thrive as long as their owners can devote an hour or two per day of socialization time to them.

This is a big contrast to many other parrot species, some of which need a minimum of four to six hours outside of the cage each day. Consider a budgie if you'd like all the perks of owning a parrot without the huge time commitment.

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DOVES

Doves are hardy, medium-sized birds that enjoy interacting with their owners but are also content to spend a good part of the day entertaining themselves. Unlike a larger bird like a cockatoo or a macaw, a dove isn't constantly in need of attention. 

Because doves are a little smaller than parrots and other popular pet birds, cleaning up after them is much easier. Although it's still important to form a bond with your pet dove, these quiet, pretty birds won't demand much of your time. Keep their cages clean, and you'll have a content, satisfied bird most of the time. 

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CANARIES

Canaries are another excellent choice for bird lovers who prefers a pet to be seen and heard instead of taken out and handled. Much like finches, canaries don't do well with human handling and prefer to stay within the comforting walls of their cages.

There are different types of canaries to choose from, and each variety has different care requirements. However, overall, these little birds are a good fit for those who don't have a lot of spare time to spend with a pet.

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COCKATIELS

Another parrot species, cockatiels are the highest-maintenance bird species on this list. Like budgies, cockatiels require a certain amount of handling and out-of-cage playtime on a daily basis.

However, cockatiels are nowhere near as demanding as some of the larger parrot species. They normally don't talk, but cockatiels are highly intelligent and can be trained to follow commands.

Cockatiels are a great choice for those who have the time to devote two or three hours per day to playing with their pets. As long as it has a large enough cage and a bird-proof area for it to play in, a cockatiel will be a good fit for a would-be bird owner.


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Rescuing a Sick or Injured Wild Bird & Bird Safety While Fishing

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You may encounter wild birds displaced by the latest bout of blistery, wet weather. As an overview, here are a quick list of temporary care instructions:

Temporary Care Instructions

  • Find a medium/large-sized box and place a folded towel at the bottom.

  • Ensure there are holes in the box big enough for airflow.

  • Place the bird in the box and keep in a dark, quiet place.

  • Keep the bird warm.

  • Please don’t feed the bird.

  • Leave the bird alone; don’t handle or bother it and always keep children and pets away.


Pelican & Bird Safety While Fishing

Catch fish, not pelicans! With just a little extra attention to your surroundings, you and your pelican friends can both have a great day out on the water.

Brown Pelicans are now the most commonly sighted bird on the coasts. Pelicans eat smaller fish that are not preferred by recreational fishermen and that are not commercially important. Pelicans are protected by both federal and state laws.

With their keen eyesight, brown pelicans will spot a fish from high in the air and dive-in. It’s their specialty, after all. After surfacing, they drain the water from their pouch and swallow their catch.

Entanglement in fishing gear may be their number one enemy, leading to a slow death from dehydration and starvation. Bony fish scraps are also a killer, tearing the pouch or lodging in the throat. Feeding pelicans draws them to fishing areas and puts them in danger. Shorebirds, storks, herons, terns, and gulls are also casualties. We can all help keep our pelican friends alive and healthy.

Casting near any bird only increases the chances of hooking one.

Birds focus on the injured fish in a school, which is your lure or baited fish. Pelicans dive for fish on the surface of the water or just below it. When fishing, never cast towards any bird.

Don’t feed the filleted boney carcasses to the birds, even if they are begging for them.

Pelicans and other fish-eating birds such as herons and egrets easily digest the bones of small fish, but can be severely injured by the stronger, sharp bones of the bigger fish you have caught. Carcass bones may puncture the pouch, throat, or intestines, leading to infection and a slow, painful death.

Don’t feed your extra bait fish to the birds.

Feeding attracts birds to fishing areas, where they are more likely to become hooked. It is also illegal to feed wildlife in all state parks.

Always discard your old or tangled fishing line in recycling bins or covered trash cans.

Birds and other wildlife become entangled leading to entrapment, strangulation, starvation, loss of limb, or subject to easy predation.

Lead or zinc weighted jigs, lures, and tackle are deadly toxic.

Instead, opt for stainless steel, tin, tungsten, copper, pewter, or brass, porcelain, or stone fishing gear.


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Common Illnesses Found in Pet Turtles

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What are some of the common diseases of pet turtles?

Common conditions of pet turtles include Vitamin A deficiency, respiratory diseases, abscesses, shell infections and fractures, and parasites.


What are the signs of these diseases?

Vitamin A deficiency occurs as a result of feeding turtles an inappropriate diet. The all-meat diet, or the "cricket and fruit cocktail" diet, or the "lettuce and carrots" diets are all deficient. Lack of Vitamin A produces signs seen with changes in the epidermis (outer layer of skin and mucus membranes), including lack of appetite, lethargy, swelling of the eyes and eyelids (often with a pus-type discharge), swelling of the ear (actually an ear abscess), and respiratory infections.

Most respiratory infections are caused by bacteria, and in turtles are often secondary to Vitamin A deficiency. Turtles with respiratory infections may have excess mucus in their oral cavities, nasal discharges, lethargy and loss of appetite, and possibly open-mouth breathing and wheezing.

Abscesses, commonly seen in pet turtles, appear as hard tumor-like swellings anywhere on the pet's body. Abscesses often are located on the opening of the ear in turtles. Abscesses in turtles are often related to Vitamin A deficiency.

Shell problems are often encountered in turtles. These can be infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses, or more commonly are the result of fractures of the shells. Fractured shells can result from trauma from vehicles (being run over by a motor vehicle) or from dog bites (turtle housing should be constructed to prevent access from predators such as dogs.)

Parasites, such as roundworms, are common in pet turtles. They often cause no clinical signs and are detected on an annual fecal examination. They may, however, cause diarrhea or weight loss.

How can I tell if my turtle is sick?

Signs of disease in turtles may be specific for a certain disease, such as nasal discharge in the case of a respiratory infection, or non-specific, such as a turtle with anorexia (lack of appetite) and lethargy, which can be seen with many diseases. Any deviation from normal should be a cause for concern and requires immediate evaluation by your veterinarian.

How are turtle diseases treated?

Vitamin A deficiency is treated with either oral or injectable Vitamin A. Treatment should only be done under veterinary supervision, as hypervitaminosis A, a condition resulting from the incorrect usage and over-dosage of Vitamin A, can occur. Speak with your veterinarian on how to further prevent vitamin A deficiency.

Respiratory infections are most often caused by bacteria; many of these turtles also have Vitamin A deficiency that requires treatment as well. Your veterinarian may want to do radiographs (X-rays), blood tests, and cultures to determine the cause of the infection. Occasionally, allergies can cause nasal discharge as well. Treatment for true infections involves antibiotics given orally or as injections, and possibly nose drops. Sick turtles require intensive care, including fluid therapy and force feeding, in the hospital.

Abscesses are treated surgically; the abscess is opened and flushed with a medicated solution. A culture of the abscess may be needed to determine the type of infection that caused the abscess. Topical medication and injectable antibiotics may also be used.

Shell fractures can usually be repaired by your veterinarian. Severe shell fractures may not be able to be repaired. Infections are more difficult to treat but usually involve identifying what type of organism (virus, bacterium, or fungus) is causing the problem, thoroughly cleaning the shell, and using appropriate anti-microbial therapy.

Parasites are treated with the appropriate deworming medication. The type of parasite identified on the microscopic fecal examination will determine which drug is needed.

Any disease in turtles can be severe enough to cause a loss of appetite and lethargy. When seen, these signs indicate a guarded prognosis and the need for hospitalization and intensive care, which can include fluid therapy and force-feeding.


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