Monthly Archives: September 2013

Are Yearly Vaccinations For Pets A Necessity or Excessive? Let Me Hear Your Opinions…



Before I begin, I need to preface I respect the Pet Healthcare Professionals such as Veterinarians, R & D , and pharmaceuticals company for all the advancement in medical prevention and treatment that help save our pet kids’ lives as well as improve the quality of their lives. This issue , however,has become a controversial one in recent years.
Speaking as a pet parent with multiple pets, these vaccinations can and do become expensive. And as a pet professional, my clients are required to have updated medical records of their pet kids .

What I will present are the vaccinations and their purposes. And I would love to hear from my readers and clients their opinions on the issue.

I have 5 pets. So you can imagine what yearly vet medical bills I have. And YES, it’s expensive. Think about it. We have yearly vaccinations, heartworm prevention , dental health and not to mention the unexpected illnesses and accidents. I don’t complain because I love them with everything I have and will go to the end of the earth to make sure they are healthy and happy. But one can’t help wonder if we are doing more harm than good with our protective strategies.

What many pet owners are not aware of is the increase in information that says yearly vaccinations are a waste of time, money and may put your pets’ health at risk. Recent Research says that veterinarians are charging owners $36 million for vaccinations that are unnecessary. And owners may want to adopt a reduced vaccinations schedule.

Reduced Vaccination Schedules are based on the belief that just as humans don’t need  measles shot every year, neither do dogs or cats need annual injections for illnesses such as parvo, distemper or kennel cough. Even rabies shots are effective for at least three years.

The news has been slow to reach consumers, partly because few veterinarians outside academic settings are embracing the concept. Vaccine makers haven’t done the studies needed to change vaccine labels. Vets, who charge $30 to $60 for yearly shots, are loath to defy vaccine label instructions and lose an important source of revenue. In addition, they worry their patients won’t fare as well without yearly exams.

Logically, some may conclude that some vets would feel threatened because they may think, `People won’t come back to my office if I don’t have the vaccine as a carrot,’ Realistically, a yearly exam is very important . So I don’t feel they would see a reduction in clientele as long as their ethics are high and customer service is tremendous .

The reasons vaccinations became top priority for pets is because 1) rabies shots became common for pets in the 1950s, no one questioned the value of annual vaccination. 2) Distemper, which kills 50 percent of victims, could be warded off with a shot. 3) Parvovirus, which kills swiftly and gruesomely by causing a toxic proliferation of bacteria in the digestive system, was vanquished with a vaccine. Then eventually over the years, more and more shots were added to the schedule, preventing costly and potentially deadly disease in furry family members.

Lets breakdown the vaccinations for dogs and cats .

Rabies is a mandatory vaccine in most areas of North America because it not only protects the pet, but also the people in the pet’s environment. The most likely source for people to contract rabies is through their pet.

Leptospirosis can also be transferred from pet to human. In fact, people are more likely to get leptospirosis from a pet than any other source. It can cause chronic kidney disease and death.

Here are the protocols for felines and canines.

Feline Vaccinations

With a kitten there are three stages to the vaccination process:
A) At 6 to 8 weeks they are vaccinated for feline viral rhinotrachetitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and chlamydia.

B) At 12 to 14 weeks they are given a booster for the vaccine given above, as well as a vaccine for leukemia.

C) At 16 to 20 weeks a booster is given for set 1 and set 2 as well as a rabies vaccination.

D) 1 year from the last set of vaccines, and yearly for the rest of the cat’s life, it should be given the full set of vaccinations.

Adult Cats

If a full grown cat is adopted, and its medical history is unknown, then the following process is followed:

1) The cat is vaccinated for feline viral rhinotrachetitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, chlamydia, leukemia and rabies.

2) 1 month after step 1 the cat is given a booster for all the vaccinations except rabies.

3) 1 year from the last set of vaccines, and yearly for the rest of the cat’s life, it should be given the full set of vaccinations.

Canine Vaccinations

With a puppy there are four stages to the vaccination process:

1) At 8 weeks they are vaccinated for distemper, adenovirus 2 (hepatitis), parainfluenza and parvo virus.

2) At week 12 they are given a booster for the vaccines given in stage 1 as well as the vaccines for leptospirosis.

3) At week 16 they are given a booster for stage 1 vaccines and the vaccine for lyme disease.

4) At week 20 they are given a booster for leptospirosis, lyme and the rabies vaccine.

5) 1 year from the last set of vaccines, and yearly for the rest of the dog’s life, it should be given the full set of vaccinations. NOTE: Rabies is supposed to be only given every other year after the first year vaccinations as it is a two year vaccine. But I do know some veterinarian offices will require it yearly , if your pets are their patients. So that in itself is a debatable issue.

Adult Dogs

If a full grown dog is adopted and its medical history is unknown then the following process is followed:

1) The dog is vaccinated for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, leptospirosis, lyme and rabies.

2) 1 month after step 1 the dog is given a booster for all the vaccinations except rabies.

3) 1 year from the last set of vaccines, and yearly for the rest of the dog’s life, it should be given the full set of vaccinations. NOTE: Rabies is only given every other year after the first year vaccinations as it is a two year vaccine. But I do know some veterinarian offices will require it yearly , if your pets are their patients. So that in itself is a debatable issue.

Bordetella, better known as the “kennel cough” vaccine, some experts believe it should be given to all dogs who are in close contact with other dogs. If you take your dog to any of the below places they should be given the bordetella vaccine:
Dog boarding kennels
Dog parks
Obedience classes
Dog shows

And in regards to Bordetella, this is one of the vaccinations many holistic vets believe is not necessary yearly. Holistic veterinarians adopt the reduced vaccination schedule.

The movement to extend vaccine intervals is gaining ground because of growing evidence that vaccines themselves can trigger a fatal cancer in cats and a deadly blood disorder in dogs. Many zealous holistic vets conduct public seminars aggressively because they believe the vaccination schedule is ” theft by deception’ and they want the proper channels to research and inform the public on this issue.

So I ask my readers , speak up and give me your intelligent opinions on this topic. Are we causing more harm to our pets with such an aggressive schedule or do you believe the schedule stands on its own merits?

I’m listening….


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My Pets Have Outlived Me, What Happens Next??


Anyone that knows me, knows that my pets are the loves of my life. From my very first dog to the five pets I own now. I will and do go out of my way to make sure their healthy, happy and very much loved. I ponder so many of life’s issues. And the many things I see happening in this world sometimes scare me. And when I contemplate about how our world is constantly changing, and seeing incidences like what happened in Washington D.C. On September 16, 2013, a lot of times My mind wonders what if that was me that was randomly shot and killed . Or what if I died in a flood similar to what’s happening in Colorado and my pets lived ? What would happen to them? I understand that many people in my circle don’t understand the feelings I have for my pets. They are my children. And if I passed on , unexpectantly ,will my pets continue to be loved and taken care of ?

I’m still young but it won’t be long before I hit middle age and I,like many pet parents have always assumed I will outlive my pets. One of my babies, LoLa Bella( a shih tzu) , was adopted by me when she was a puppy because the older lady had passed on. I can tell from what little time she had , my LoLa was spoiled. I’m sure the lady wanted to make sure she would be ok and I wish I could tell her she is. So now I ponder what if I died? Will my husband take care of the pets , or my friends or family? Would they end on the street or euthanized by a shelter ? The thought scares me and I recognized I need to make plans now for my pets.

I am going to venture out and say this issue is one many pet parents haven’t thought about or planned. Well I’ve read many articles on this topic and I’m going to provide a list of things we as pet parents must do. Because wiith no prior arrangements you take a risk that your pets may become abused, neglected or homeless.


That lack of knowledge sends an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 pets to shelters each year after their owners die or become incapacitated.

Estate Planning for Pets 101


We’ve all heard about the ‘pet’ that inherits everything. This is truly an option but also illicits the most protest from relatives who think you must have lost your mind. Well one option that is viable is a ‘Pets Trust.’ This is much like a trust you make for children where the Trust is funded with assets and a Trustee is appointed to watch over the pet’s caregiver. has a Pet Care Trust Agreement form that can be found on their website.

While trusts can be relatively expensive to administer and maintain, they add a layer of oversight: The trustee pays the money to your appointed caregiver and may regularly inspect your pet’s health and living conditions. Having the person with the money be someone different from the person with custody of your animal creates a system of checks and balances.

If thats not a suitable option , another option is to include your pet in your ‘Last Will & Testament,’ appointing a caregiver and making a financial gift to that person.

Find Your Replacement ( Who will be listed in The Pet’s Trust?)

Identifying a committed caregiver is the most important step in planning for your pet’s future. Talk with everyone from your veterinarian to family members and pet-sitters about becoming your pet’s designated caregiver. “A lot of people just assume, ‘Oh, my son’s going to take the dog, or my daughter’s going to take the cat,’ and then what happens is they don’t want to take the pets,” To avoid misunderstandings, I recommend getting commitments in writing.

Appoint an Understudy

You should also identify alternate caregivers. Suppose your designated caregiver might end up traveling frequently or living somewhere that doesn’t allow pets. Always have at least one or two backups. And if you are limited on the people you trust with responsibility for your pets , create a panel of friends or family members in charge of selecting a long-term caregiver and arranging temporary care for your animal until a permanent situation is worked out.


Another great solution is you can write a ‘Pets Letter of Wishes’ that can “provide a powerful moral statement telling the Probate Court exactly what you and your pet want.” This will protect your pet without taking the steps involved in making a ‘will.’ In this letter you can state who you would wish to care for your pets upon your death, what monetary funds should be used to help care for your pets, and list all contact information. Of course, it’s very important that you discuss this with the persons named prior to writing the letter. Again ,It’s also good to have an alternative person named in case circumstances have changed and your designee is unable to take the responsibility.

Establish Expectations

In addition to your Pets Letter OF WISHES, create an information packet that details your pet’s medical history and daily care needs, because “obviously, a cat or a dog can’t say, ‘Oh, well, here’s the food I eat, here’s how much I eat, here’s when I need my treats, here’s when I need my walk.’ ” Make sure the information is easily accessible and specifies the standard of living you want for your pet, including medical care and end-of-life decisions.


I also recently discovered an organization entitled ‘Safe Place For Pets.’ Safe Place for Pets is dedicated to working in partnership with terminally ill pet owners to find new homes for their animal companions. What an awesome idea . It’s also a great relief to those with a terminal diagnosis who want to be certain their pets are well placed and cared for. I also suggest checking your local area for organizations similar to this one.


Many types of wills and trusts exist, so it’s crucial to prepare carefully and seek legal advice. Before talking with a lawyer, you should have a plan in mind. It’s essentially “planning the same as you might if you were dealing with a young child.”

Til Next Time…..


What Should I do If My Dog Contracts Kennel Cough?

Scoop The Poop!



I recently took on a new daily client. We will call this puppy Mr. X. One of the main reasons Mr. X’s pet parent chose to hire Happy Walk Happy Dog as a pet sitter is because, this adorable new puppy contracted Kennel cough and it resulted in more bills for the pet parent.

Many new pet parents may not understand that keeping their adorable pets in the kennel may have some benefits but there are many illnesses  your pet could contract because of the exposure. The main one is Kennel Cough.


What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, which is also called infectious tracheobronchitis or Bordetella, is a very common upper respiratory infection in dogs.

The condition can be triggered by several different viruses and bacteria, but the most common trigger is the presence of both the parainfluenza virus and the bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica.


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Joey’s Jerky Brand Chicken Jerky Recalled Due To Salmonella Risk



The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing a voluntary recall of Joey’s Jerky brand Chicken Jerky due to possible Salmonella risk.

Joey’s Jerky brand Chicken Jerky

Joey’s Jerky is produced in New Hampshire and the manufacturer, Kritter’s Kitchen Kreations, LLC, has voluntarily recalled all of the product. Joey’s Jerky was sold at the following six stores: America’s Pet in Hudson, Blue Seal in Bow, K9 Kaos in Dover, Osborne’s Agway in Concord, Sandy’s Pet Food Center in Concord, and The Yellow Dogs Barn in Barrington.

Health officials say at least 21 people in Merrimack and Hillsborough Counties have been identified with the same strain of the illness, but no deaths have occurred.

Through investigation and interviewing the ill people, the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control determined that the jerky treats were implicated in spreading Salmonella. Confirmation through laboratory testing of the jerky is pending at the New Hampshire Public Health Labs.

“While uncommon, pet food and treats can sometimes be contaminated with Salmonella, which is why it is so important for pet owners to wash their hands after handling pet food and treats,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “I want to commend the manufacturer of Joey’s Jerky for their cooperation in this investigation and the epidemiologists here at Public Health for their excellent work. Salmonella can be a serious illness and the sooner the source of an outbreak is identified the sooner it can be stopped.”

Salmonella is a pathogen to both humans and animals. There is a risk for humans handling the contaminated dog food if poor hand washing techniques are not performed or surfaces in contact with the dog food are not properly cleaned.

In humans, Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Pets, including dogs, with Salmonella can become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. The clinical features of canine salmonellosis vary on strain, amount ingested and dog host factors.

Many dogs however are asymptomatic carriers of the bacteria and may shed Salmonella for up to 100 days after being infected. This can become a risk for family members and anyone with confirmed salmonellosis without a known risk of exposure, the family pet should be tested regardless of symptoms.