Dear Friend,

In this edition you will find:

Safe Summer Travels

Importance of Vaccines

Vaccination Schedules for Puppies/Kittens

Case of the Week


Travel Safety With Pets in Warm Weather

It certainly appears that hot summer weather is on the horizon for our little piece of Western Wisconsin. With it comes school's end and the summer travel season. This means that we are out and about much more and often taking our pets with us in our travels. Care must be taken to ensure safety for our furry family members.

Tips to remember:

  1. Manage the motion sickness: Many pets are nauseous in the vehicle.

  2. Make sure to take any necessary paperwork.

  3. Visit with your veterinarian: Discuss additional care needed for your destination area.

  4. Update your pet's identification: Have your cell number on the ID tag. Consider a microchip or update the registry information.

  5. Check your accommodations: Are your pets welcome in the hotel, campground, home?

  6. Think safety first: Consider a safety harness or an appropriately sized carrier to restrain your pet in the car.

  7. Prepare for rest breaks: Frequent stops to stretch and eliminate are important for your dog. Consider stopping at quieter locations than rest areas.

  8. Pack for your pet: Bring all medications, food, water, bedding, favorite toys, leashes, collars, litter box(es) and other items your pet will need.

  9. Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier. Strange locations can be frightening. Running off can mean disaster. Busy roads are usually just a few feet away.     

  10. Make sure your pet has lots of fresh water available.     

  11. Exercise in the cooler morning or evening rather than during the heat of the day.

  12. Protect your pet from the hot sun: They should always have a cool, shady place to relax and cool down. The inside of a car is not a good place. With the windows closed or     even cracked slightly, the interior of the car and rapidly reach about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stroke is usually deadly and a very unpleasant way to go.     

Traveling with a pet can be great fun for the entire family. Just remember that more preparation is required and certain adjustments in activities will be needed to make it a great memory.

You can learn more about dogs in hot cars at: and

You can learn more about the pet travel tips at: 

The Importance of Vaccinating

Why do we vaccinate animals (and people)? To try to prevent disease, decrease the severity of disease and to decrease the risk of epidemic. In addition, the goal is to do this in a manner that is less dangerous than the actual disease process.

For some vaccines, like rabies, we expect to produce what is considered a sterile immunity. This means that the immune response completely prevents infection by the rabies virus. This is extremely important for a 100% fatal disease like rabies.

Other vaccines are only able to lessen the disease. In veterinary medicine the feline calici virus is an example. This very common upper respiratory infection can be very severe and persistent. The vaccine helps the body respond to the actual virus once it enters the body but cannot prevent infection or symptoms from occurring. The immune response can only decrease the severity of the symptoms.

Some vaccines help decrease the widespread outbreak (epidemic) of a disease. The human influenza vaccine serves this purpose. The fewer people who become infected with the flu virus, the fewer people who can spread the virus to others. Protecting about 75% of the population really decreases the risk of an epidemic.

Overall, the advent of vaccinating animals, and people, has prevented and lessened an incredible amount of disease. While all vaccines carry some risk of adverse effects, this risk is incredibly small compared to the risk of disease. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. For the health and well being of you and your pet, please make sure your pets are appropriately vaccinated.

Vaccination Schedules for Puppies/Kittens

Our vaccination schedules for puppies and kittens are influenced greatly by the protection received from their mother. This protection comes in the colostrum, the first “milk” produced by mom. It is very high in antibodies. The immature intestines are able to absorb these antibodies for only the first few hours after birth.

These antibodies are gradually used and removed from the body, usually by about 12 weeks of age. If the amount of antibodies absorbed from the colostrum is low, they are gone earlier. Conversely, if the amount of antibodies absorbed is high, they are present for longer.

If present in high enough numbers, the antibodies from mom will completely clear the vaccine particles without allowing the body to mount its own immune response. However, as the numbers of antibodies gradually decline, there is a point where this maternal protection clears the vaccine particles but is not able to protect from the live virus encountered in the environment. Thus, the youngster can become sick.

It is for this reason that we recommend starting the puppy/kitten vaccinations at 6 to 8 weeks of age. We then vaccinate every 3 to 4 weeks through 15 to 16 weeks of age. This protocol ensures that the puppy/kitten will be vaccinated at least once after the maternal protection has decreased enough to no longer interfere with the body mounting a response to the vaccine. 

These puppy and kitten vaccine visits are extremely important for preventing truly devastating and life threatening diseases like canine distemper, rabies, canine parvo and feline panleukopenia. Please make sure your puppy or kitten is fully vaccinated.

Case of the week:

We are going to try a new series of Facebook posts called Case of the Week. These will be similar to cases seen by our doctors, summarized for you to try to come to a diagnosis. They may be pictures and/or clinical descriptions. The answer will be provided a few days after posting.

Like us on Facebook at :

 Sign up to receive our future emails.