Rabies and Licensing
As we ring in 2007, we remember all those things we have to do in the New Year. One of those things is to get our dogs licensed. The state requires that all dogs be licensed annually. This is done through your local township.
For the license, you need to provide your dog’s rabies certificate. The original purpose for licensing dogs was to insure that they were vaccinated for rabies and the same holds true today. Some of the licensing fee goes towards animal control. According to state law, the rabies vaccine must be good through the licensure period, but towns do differ so contact your town if your dog’s vaccine expires this year. If you need to get your pet a rabies vaccine before it is actually due, you may do so without harm to your pet. The first rabies vaccine given is good for one year and subsequent vaccines are good for three years.
Although most of the local townships only license dogs, many towns require licensing of cats also. Even if your town does not, it is still very important to vaccinate cats as well, even if they are indoors. Indoor cats have been known to try to make a break for it on occasion and wildlife (especially bats) can sometimes get into the house. There is no post-exposure treatment for animals, so if an unvaccinated pet is exposed to rabies, it is very serious. If your pet gets exposed to a wild animal (particularly a bat, skunk, raccoon, groundhog or fox- all known to carry rabies), it is important to not touch the wild animal yourself. Contact animal control immediately. Try not to touch your pet until it is hosed off and then wash your hands. Also contact the health department and your physician about your risk of exposure as well.
As the weather turns colder, we tend to get a little stiff, and so do many dogs. Larger breeds in particular are prone to arthritis. Some diseases that lead to arthritis, such as hip dysplasia, are hereditary. Lyme disease can also lead to
chronic arthritis in some dogs and so can a previous injury, such as a cranial cruciate rupture (like an ACL injury in people). There are many things we can do to keep our canine (and less-often feline) friends comfortable when they have arthritis. One of the most important ways to manage arthritis is to control their body weight. Heavy pets are much more likely to have problems than normal-weight pets. (more on the pet-obesity problem in a future “Nibbles and Bits”). There are nutritional supplements (such as Cosequin) the can help the joints. We also commonly use anti-inflammatories to control pain and stiffness. There are several different medications we prescribe and many of them are called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). Rimadyl and Prevacox are just a couple that we use. These drugs can offer arthritic pets significant relief. Many pets do very well when given these medications daily if needed. Some people also use aspirin. Aspirin can potentially be hard on the stomach and has other side-effects as well, so it is not really the best choice for pain medication for dogs and cats. Contact us if you were planning to use it. The other over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen are not safe. and no store-bought pain medication is safe for cats. If your pet is showing signs of arthritis, please make an appointment so we can determine what we need to do to make your pet more comfortable and have an active and pain-free lifestyle.
All of us at Blairstown Animal Hospital wish you and your pets a happy and healthy New Year!