Congratulations on your new puppy!
Thank you for choosing Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital for your puppy’s veterinary needs. We warmly welcome all new pets and encourage active client participation in their health care. Please take some time to review the following information so you can make informed decisions and play an active role in your puppy’s veterinary care. We look forward to meeting you and your new family member soon!
If you have questions or concerns, please write them down, call or email us and we will be happy to answer them for you.
During all routine wellness examinations, the veterinarian here at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital will ask you questions about your puppy’s diet, exercise, thirst, breathing, behavior, habits, elimination patterns (i.e., bowel movements and urination), lifestyle, and general health. The veterinarian will also perform a physical examination of your dog. Based on your pet’s history and physical examination, the veterinarian will then make recommendations for specific preventive medicine treatments such as vaccination, parasite control (including preventive treatments for fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites and heartworms), nutrition, skin and coat care, weight management or dental care. In addition, your veterinarian will discuss your pet’s individual circumstances and decide whether any other life-stage or lifestyle recommendations would be appropriate.
A physical examination involves observing the general appearance of the puppy, auscultation, or listening to the chest with a stethoscope and palpation, or feeling specific areas of the body. In puppies it is especially important to examine for an congenital or inherited traits or abnormalities, and to continue to monitor and observe them for proper growth and development.
The veterinarian at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital will observe or inspect:
- How your puppy walks and stands
- Whether your puppy is bright and alert
- Your puppy’s general body condition – whether your pet has an appropriate body weight and body condition (neither too fat nor too thin)
- The hair coat – looking for excessive dryness, excessive oiliness, evidence of dandruff, excessive shedding, or abnormal hair loss
- The skin – looking for oiliness, dryness, dandruff, lumps or bumps, areas of abnormal thickening, etc.
- The eyes – looking for redness, discharge, evidence of excessive tearing, abnormal lumps or bumps on the eyelids, how well the eyelids close, cloudiness, or any other abnormalities.
- The ears – looking for discharges, thickening, hair loss, or any other signs of problems.
- The nose and face – looking for symmetry, discharges, how well the pet breathes, whether there are any problems related to skin folds or other apparent problems.
- Mouth and teeth – looking for tartar build-up, periodontal disease, retained baby teeth, broken teeth, excessive salivation, staining around the lips, ulcers in or around the mouth, etc.
The veterinarian will auscultate:
- The heart – listening for abnormal heart rate, heart rhythm (“skipped beats” or “extra beats”), or heart murmurs
- The lungs – listening for evidence of increased or decreased breath sounds
The veterinarian will palpate:
- The pulse – depending on the results of auscultation, your veterinarian may simultaneously listen to the chest and palpate the pulse in the hind legs
- The lymph nodes in the region of the head, neck and hind legs – looking for swelling or pain
- The legs – looking for evidence of lameness, muscle problems, nerve problems, problems with the paws or toenails, etc.
- The abdomen – feeling in the areas of the bladder, kidneys, liver, intestines, spleen and stomach in order to assess whether these organs appear to be normal or abnormal, and whether there is any subtle evidence of discomfort
- In some cases, you may not even be aware that your veterinarian is conducting some parts of a routine physical examination, particularly if your veterinarian does not detect any abnormalities.
Vaccinations contain killed or modified-live forms of viruses and bacteria that stimulate the production of antibodies and cell mediated immunity in healthy animals. These antibodies can neutralize the virus or bacteria if the animal is later exposed. Some combination vaccines provide protection against more than one disease. Vaccination is important in preventing infectious diseases. It is more beneficial to your pet to prevent the disease before it occurs than treating the disease once it happens. All dogs are at risk of exposure to various infections, some of which can be life-threatening. Preventative vaccination is one of the most reliable methods of health care available to a pet owner.
All puppies regardless of age, body weight, breed, and gender are given the same vaccine dose. To administer a lesser vaccine amount than recommended will likely result in insufficient immunity. Vaccines do not stimulate immunity immediately after they are administered. Once a vaccine is administered, the antigens must be recognized, responded to, and remembered by the immune system. Full protection from a vaccine usually takes up to fourteen days. In some instances, two or more vaccinations several weeks apart must be given to achieve protection.
Puppies need more frequent vaccines due to maternal antibodies they received from their mother and the development and maturity of the puppy immune system. Puppies receive maternal antibodies from their mothers milk that protect them from bacterial and viral assault while their immune system is maturing. These antibodies also prevent the puppy’s immune system from becoming activated by vaccines. As the puppy ages, the maternal antibody levels decline. By as early as 6 weeks of age, 25% of puppies have a strong immune response to vaccinations. By 14 to 16 weeks of age the maternal antibody levels have fallen enough to allow a full immune response in 90% of puppies.
Essentially, vaccinations are picking up where the maternal antibodies have left off. Here at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital we administer vaccines for the major viral diseases every 3 to 4 weeks starting around 6 to 8 weeks of age to increase the likelihood that as the maternal antibodies are falling; the lower levels don’t leave the puppy exposed to disease but instead, the immune system is activated. The last booster vaccinations are administered between 14 and 16 weeks of age.
Vaccinations are important because they support the first goal of medicine, which is disease prevention.
Vaccinations help prevent common infectious diseases and they are more beneficial to your pet than treating the disease once it occurs. All dogs are at risk of exposure to various infectious diseases, some of which are life-threatening, others, such as rabies are a also a public health risk. Preventative vaccination is one of the most reliable and cost-effective methods of health care available to you, the pet owner. At Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital, we understand that each puppy is different and this is why we include you in determining the immunization schedule that will be best suited to your puppy. We take into consideration your puppy’s specific needs and risk factors such as health status, breed, age, lifestyle, environment, and travel habits. It is important to consider all of these things when determining a vaccination schedule.
Recommended vaccination schedule
- started by at least 8 weeks of age, may be started as soon as 6 weeks
- booster 3-4 weeks later; typically around 10-12 weeks of age
- booster 3-4 weeks later; last booster should be given between 14-16 weeks of age
- booster at 1 year
- booster every 3 years
*This vaccinates for Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza, and Canine Adenovirus Type 2.
- can be started at 10 weeks of age, ideally started at 12 weeks of age
- booster 3-4 weeks later
- booster yearly
- must be 12 weeks old for first vaccine
- booster at 1 year
- booster every 3 years
- typically started between 8-9 weeks of age
- puppies are given an intranasal vaccine and no booster will be required
- if they will continue to receive the vaccine, they will be given the injectable form at each annual visit
- if an injectable vaccine was administered, it will need a booster in 3-4 weeks
*This vaccination is recommended for your puppy if it will be spayed or neutered, will be traveling to places such as groomers, boarding facilities, kennels, puppy/obedience classes, doggy day care, dog shows, agility training, traveling, or will be coming in contact with other dogs.
- recommend testing prior to vaccination
- can be started at 10 weeks of age, but ideally at 12 weeks of age
- booster 2-4 weeks later
- booster yearly
- recommend testing prior to vaccinating every year
*Lyme disease is becoming more common in our area, so it is a vaccination to highly consider.
Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital assess each patient as an individual and with the help from you, the owner, we can devise the best vaccination plan for your puppy. This is why we recommend taking an active role in your puppy’s preventative care.
What are common infectious diseases of dogs?
Common infectious diseases include Rabies, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, Leptospirosis, and Lyme Disease. These infectious diseases of dogs can be prevented or lessened by vaccination.
Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy; loss of appetite; fever; vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration. If your puppy shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
While no specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, treatment consists primarily of efforts to combat dehydration by replacing electrolyte and fluid losses, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and preventing secondary infections until the dog’s immune system is able to fight the virus. Due to the highly contagious nature of parvovirus, infected dogs must be isolated in order to prevent the spread of the infection.
The best way to prevent parvovirus is through good hygiene and vaccination. Make sure to get your puppy vaccinated, and that your adult dog is kept up to date on their parvovirus vaccination. Until a puppy has received its complete series of vaccinations, it is recommended that owners should use caution when bringing their pet to places where young puppies or dogs with unknown vaccination histories congregate. This is why it is important to follow the DAPvP protocol recommended by Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital.
Initially, infected dogs will develop watery to pus-like discharge from their eyes. They then develop fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting. As the virus attacks the nervous system, infected dogs develop circling behavior, head tilt, muscle twitches, convulsions with jaw chewing movements and salivation (“chewing gum fits”), seizures, and partial or complete paralysis. The virus may also cause the footpads to thicken and harden, leading to its nickname “hard pad disease.” Distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage.
Veterinarians diagnose canine distemper through clinical appearance and laboratory testing. There is no cure for canine distemper infection. Treatment typically consists of supportive care and efforts to prevent secondary infections; control vomiting, diarrhea and neurologic symptoms; and combat dehydration through administration of fluids. Dogs infected with canine distemper be separated from other dogs to minimize the risk of further infection.
Vaccination is crucial in preventing canine distemper. A series of vaccinations are administered to puppies to increase the likelihood of building immunity during the time which the immune system is maturing. It is important to avoid gaps in the immunization schedule and make sure distemper vaccinations are up to date. Other preventative measures include avoiding contact with infected animals and wildlife, and using caution when socializing puppies at parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy day care, and other places where dogs can congregate until your puppy has gone through the recommended vaccination protocol.
Unvaccinated dogs of all ages are at risk, however, the disease is most prevalent in patients less than one year of age. Death can result as soon as two hours after the initial signs. Death can be so sudden it may appear as if the patient was poisoned.
Symptoms of the virus initially affect the tonsils and larynx causing a sore throat, coughing, and occasionally pneumonia. As it enters the bloodstream, it can affect the eyes, liver, and kidneys. The clear portion of the eyes, called the cornea, may appear cloudy or bluish. This is due to edema, or swelling due to a collection of fluid within the cell layers forming the cornea. The name “hepatitis blue eye” has been used to describe eyes so affected. Additional symptoms include fever, depression, loss of appetite, and a tender abdomen. As the liver and kidneys fail, one may notice seizures, increased thirst, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Severe cases can develop bleeding disorders. Death, chronic hepatitis, or severe illness may occur, and recovery may be gradual in nonfatal cases.
There is no specific treatment for infectious canine hepatitis. Intravenous fluids and supportive care are indicated. Fortunately, excellent vaccines are available to immunize puppies as well as adults. The vaccines may contain adenovirus type 1 or type 2. Adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) is a cause of cough in the canine. Because the viruses are similar, vaccines against one cross protect against the other. Modern vaccines contain either CAV-1 or CAV-2, but not both. However, either one protects against both hepatitis and cough.
Common causes of respiratory infections in dogs include: Canine Parainfluenza Virus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, respiratory coronavirus, Mycoplasma, Canine Influenza Virus, Canine Adenovirus Type-2, and Canine Distemper Virus.
Not all of these disease causing agents have vaccinations available to treat the bacteria or viruses that cause symptoms of respiratory disease in dogs. In order to minimize symptoms and multiple infections, it is important to help protect puppies as much as possible with vaccinations that are available. In some cases however, the symptoms of the disease may only be lessened.
Here at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital we consider our canine DAPvP vaccination a core vaccine. This means that we feel it is an essential vaccination for every dog or puppy. Please refer to the vaccination schedule for the canine DAPvP vaccination, which will help protect your puppy against canine parainfluenza.
Signs and symptoms typically develop two to 14 days after exposure. A persistent, hacking, and/or gagging cough may be present. Fever and lethargy may also occur. There are times that a whitish or greenish nasal discharge may also be observed. In other cases, signs and symptoms may be so absent or mild that they go unnoticed. In many of these cases a mild, self-limiting illness occurs. In puppies or in dogs with other underlying health issues however, they can cause severe illness such as pneumonia, or in rare cases, even death. In cases where a secondary infection has occurred, recovery can be longer.
Diagnosis is generally based on a history of exposure to infected dogs, such as a recent visit to a kennel, boarding facility, groomer, dog park, dog show, or other dog sporting event, combined with the presence of signs and symptoms.
In mild infections, treatment is generally supportive because the disease can resolve on its own unless a secondary or subsequent infection occurs. Precautionary antibiotics to prevent secondary infection may be prescribed. In severe cases, treatment may consist of administration of antibiotics, cough suppressants, and inhalant medications to help patients breathe more easily. When possible, a harness, rather than a collar, is recommended for leash walking of ill dogs. A traditional collar puts pressure on already sensitive and irritated tracheal tissues and can induce coughing episodes.
Vaccination can protect your dog from illness associated with Bordetella, particularly if your dog frequents kennels, groomers, dog shows, or dog sporting events. Although the B. bronchiseptica vaccination is not mandatory for every dog, it may be recommended for your dog based on their lifestyle. This is why it is important to discuss the lifestyle of your puppy with the veterinarian. They can help you make an informed decision about vaccination for your puppy. Here at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital we require the Bordetella vaccination for any dog who is going to be spayed or neutered. This is to help prevent the spread of disease among our hospitalized patients and protect them during their hospitalized stay.
After Canine adenovirus type 2 has been transmitted to a dog, the incubation, or development period of the disease is approximately 3 to 10 days. The infection is typically self-limiting, which means in may cases, it will resolve with out treatment. However, in some cases, it can lead to pneumonia. Treatment of Canine adenovirus type 2 infection is typically limited to supportive care. This may consist of fluids, rest, and possibly antibiotics to treat any secondary infection that may develop.
A vaccine is available to prevent canine adenovirus type 2 infection. However, it is important to realize that the vaccine does not completely prevent dogs from contracting canine adenovirus type 2. Rather, the vaccine limits the severity of infection so that vaccinated dogs typically experience a milder form of the disease. Here at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital the canine adenovirus type 2 vaccination is included within the canine DAPvP vaccine. Please refer to the vaccination schedule for the DAPvP vaccine, which will help protect your puppy against canine adenovirus type 2.
Although many of these disease causing agents create similar symptoms, they are unrelated viruses and require different vaccinations for protection. There are several other preventive measures that can be taken to help your puppy from contracting the above mentioned diseases. This includes: keeping puppies away from other dogs until the puppy vaccination series is complete; avoid exposing your puppy to unvaccinated dogs and other sick animals; keeping your puppy out of facilities, such as groomers, boarding kennels, doggie daycare, dogs parks, dogs shows, or other competitions until fully vaccinated.
The signs of Leptospirosis in dogs vary. Some infected dogs do not show any signs of illness, some have a mild and transient illness and recover spontaneously, while others develop severe illness and death. Signs of Leptospirosis may include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes, or painful inflammation within the eyes. The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure. Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing. Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots, which may be visible on the gums and other mucous membranes or on light-colored skin. Affected dogs can also develop swollen legs due to fluid accumulation or accumulate excess fluid in their chest or abdomen.
Leptospirosis may be suspected based on the exposure history and signs shown by the dog, but many of these signs can also be seen with other diseases. In addition to a physical examination, your veterinarian may recommend a number of other tests such as blood tests, urine tests, radiographs, and an ultrasound examination.
Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics and supportive care, such as intravenous fluids. When treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are good but there is still a risk of permanent residual kidney or liver damage. Currently available vaccines effectively prevent Leptospirosis and protect dogs for at least 12 months. Annual vaccination is recommended for at-risk dogs. Reducing your dog’s exposure to possible sources of the Leptospira bacteria can reduce its chances of infection.
Leptospirosis is also a disease that can be transmitted to humans. While the disease is rarely fatal in humans, it can cause severe illness. You can reduce the disease risk by enacting preventative measures such as: vaccinating your puppy, avoiding water that might be contaminated by the bacteria, and practicing good sanitation measures.
Here at Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital we strongly recommend vaccinating against Leptospirosis if your puppy is considered to be at risk. Any puppy with an outdoor lifestyle is potentially at risk for coming in contact with Leptospirosis. It is important to discuss the lifestyle of your puppy with your veterinarian in order to help keep them protected throughout their life. Please refer to the vaccination schedule for vaccination recommendations for Leptospirosis.
Signs of Lyme disease include, but are not limited to: fever, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling, decreased activity, and tender extremities. Dogs infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.
Some preventive measures include: avoiding areas where ticks might be found, such as tall grasses, marshes, and wooded areas, checking for ticks on both yourself and your puppy, clearing shrubbery next to homes, and keeping lawns well maintained. However, the best way to protect your puppy against Lyme disease is to use a reliable tick-preventive product and by implementing the vaccination. It is important to discuss the lifestyle of your puppy with the veterinary team in order to help aid in the prevention of Lyme disease. Please refer to the recommended Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital vaccination schedule for guidelines for Lyme vaccination.
Now that we have covered vaccinations, it is important to consider parasite control. This includes both internal and external parasites. Internal parasites are worms, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms. External parasites include fleas and ticks.
With your initial puppy visit you will be able to take home free samples of products to get you and your puppy started in the right direction to help prevent parasites. There are a few options to consider.
NexGard is a beef-flavored, soft chewable product designed to be given orally once a month based on the weight of your puppy. It may be given with or without food. NexGard begins to kill fleas within 4 hours after initial administration and lasts for 30 days. NexGard causes uncontrolled activity within the nervous system of the flea, and will cause them to move around in a hyperactive state. This means that it is working. NexGard kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations and the treatment and control of 4 tick species.
NexGard is for use in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age and older and weighing at least 4 pounds.
Sentinel flavor tabs are a once a month tablet indicated to prevent heartworm disease, remove and control whipworms, control hookworms, remove and control roundworms, and stop fleas before they become adults. This is a product that is based on the weight of your puppy as well. It can be administered for puppies weighing 2 pounds or more, as long as they are 4 weeks of age or older. It must be given with a meal.
Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. An infected mosquito bites a dog, releasing the larvae into the dog’s tissue. The larvae develop within the dog and migrate throughout the dog as they continue to grow and mature. The immature worms migrate to the heart, where they become mature worms that restrict blood flow to the heart and lungs, which can be fatal. It is recommended that any dog that is 6 months of age or older, be tested, prior to starting on heartworm prevenative.
Gastrointestinal parasites such as whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms can be found in the environment. In the case of roundworms, they can be passed from the mother dog to the puppy through either her milk or placenta. In any case, the recommendation is to deworm your puppy, and to continue on a monthly preventative.
There has been a great deal of information provided for you. Thank you for reading and reviewing all of the information. It can be a bit overwhelming and it is helpful to understand the importance of your puppy visits. By being informed, you can help make educated decisions about the health care and well-being of your puppy. Thank you once again for entrusting Bloomsburg Veterinary Hospital with the care of your new family member.
Welcome to our family!