What to do against flea infestation?

You should first treat the dog with an effective anti-flea product. It is important to treat all animals in the household as well as the sleeping places of the animal with the anti-flea treatment. You yourself do not have to undergo treatment as dog fleas bite humans only briefly.

The body temperature of humans is unpleasant to dog fleas and therefore they leave after a short time. If no improvement occurs, you should have your animal checked by the vet for other parasites. An allergy of the dog can also be responsible for the itching.

What causes and treatments are there for my dog's bad breath?

Bad odor from the mouth can have different causes. However, there is often a gum infection with tartar behind it. This tartar absolutely has to be removed by the vet otherwise the gum can be pushed back so far that the teeth can fall out.

If the teeth are clean again, the new formation of tartar can be reduced or prevented completely by various care measures for the teeth. The best care is provided by brushing the teeth with special dog toothbrushes and dog tooth paste.

Brushing the teeth two to three times a week can strongly reduce the formation of tartar. If the dog does not allow brushing of the teeth even with careful training, you can offer him special tooth cleaning strips, raw hide bones or raw carrots as an alternative which care for the teeth during chewing.

Have your dog's teeth checked regularly (e.g. when getting annual shots) so that tartar can be removed on time and no gum infections occur.

My cat sneezes, her nose is runny and she eats little. Has she got an infection?

Sneezing and a runny nose in young cats is almost always a viral infection; however, viral infections are not always�harmless colds but can be serious infectious disease. The severity of the illness varies from cat to cat, but in order to avoid later damage to eyes and lungs, every cat with suspected viral infection should be treated immediately.

The longer you wait to bring him/her to the vet, the more elaborate and expensive the treatment will be.

What is the cause of the irregular coughing fits my cat has?

Such coughing fits can have various causes. Asthma, for example, is a relatively frequent cause of coughing fits in cats. It could also be a bit of grass in the throat, laryngitis or another irritation for the cat's larynx.

A vet has to examine the cat thoroughly to help determine the exact cause. The vet can then start the correct treatment according to their findings.

My old cat is drinking a lot and using the litter box frequently. Is this a sign of a kidney problem?

The kidneys, unfortunately, are often the first organs to get sick in older cats. Drinking a lot may indicate a kidney problem, however, this cannot be determined without an examination. It is advised to have the blood and urine of the cat checked.

These examinations can detect the start of kidney damage and therefore, treatment can commence early enough. If you wait until the cat is in really bad shape and showing clear symptoms (thin, scruffy fur, bad appetite etc), it is often already too late for treatment.

What should I do if my puppy has diarrhea?

Puppies have very few liquid reserves in their body. Diarrhea in puppies can lead to life-threatening�dehydration very quickly. If you wait too long to bring him/her to the vet, the dog might only be saved by a very expensive treatment (infusion etc.).

It is imperative to bring the dog to the vet as soon as you see an issue and have the diarrhea treated. The vet will also give you exact feeding instructions according to the cause of illness.

Can my city require dogs and cats in my area to be vaccinated against the rabies virus every year?

Yes. Statutory law (Ch. 826, Health and Safety Code) empowers local jurisdictions to establish more stringent rabies vaccination intervals than those outlined in the amendments to the Rabies Control and Eradication state law. If your city or county requires animals to be vaccinated against rabies on an annual basis, area pet owners must comply with that requirement. Contact your city or county animal control agency for information on local rabies ordinances.

Is Texas the only state with a 3-year rabies vaccination law?

Currently, 32 other states require vaccination in accordance with the 3-year rabies vaccination law.

Is rabies no longer a public health threat in Texas?

No! Each year many cases of rabies occur in Texas wildlife and domestic animals. For example, in 2002 there were 1,049 cases of rabies in animals. A rabies vaccination is a lot like an insurance policy for your pet - you don't necessarily want it, but it comes in really handy when you need it. By protecting your pet against rabies, you are also protecting yourself and your family, as your pet will be less likely to bring rabies into your house.

What should I do if I'm a little late for my dog's yearly rabies shot?

If the vaccination given 14 months ago was your dog's FIRST rabies vaccination,

  • he should be revaccinated immediately.

If the vaccination given 14 months ago was your dog's SECOND rabies vaccination, your dog should have his next rabies vaccination

  • in 22 months if he was given a 3-year vaccine.
  • Immediately if he was given a 1-year vaccine.

Your best course of action would be to make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your dog's health status assessed. At that time, you can discuss your dog's vaccination status and any other health issues with Shaffer Veterinary Services in Crowley.

Under the new rule, how many rabies shots will my cat need and how often will we have to visit my veterinarian to get them?

Dogs and cats in Texas must be vaccinated by a veterinarian by the time the animal is four months of age, then given a booster 12 months after the initial vaccination. Thereafter, the animal must be vaccinated at intervals of no longer than 36 months if a 3-year vaccine is used. However, your veterinarian may prefer to use a 1-year vaccine. He/she can explain the pros and cons to you pertaining to which vaccine to use with your pet. Although not required by state law, there are many other diseases for which your pet should be immunized annually. To safeguard your pet's and your family's health, you should visit Shaffer Veterinary Services at least once a year.

Are dogs and cats the only animals that need to be vaccinated against the rabies virus?

Although not required by law, livestock (especially those that have frequent contact with humans), domestic ferrets, and wolf-dog hybrids should also be vaccinated against rabies. As with cats and dogs, the frequency of vaccination boosters depends on whether a 1-year or 3-year vaccine is administered.

In order to comply with Texas regulations, what information do I need to prove my cats have been vaccinated against rabies?

Each dog and cat over three months of age to be transported into Texas for any purpose must be vaccinated against rabies. A vaccination certificate showing the date of vaccination, vaccine used, and signature of the veterinarian who administered the vaccine provides proof of compliance.

Will the 3-year rabies vaccine provide the same protection from rabies as the 1-year vaccine?

An increased number of rabid wildlife has occurred in some parts of Texas as part of the normal cyclical nature of rabies incidence in wildlife. However, vaccinating your dogs and cat with the 3-year vaccine - at intervals no longer than every 36 months - will protect your pets from acquiring rabies from wildlife.

Should we be worried about an increase in the number of rabid cats and dogs in our state as a result of changing the rabies vaccination interval to three years?

Over a period of 25 years, 32 states have migrated to a 3-year vaccination interval. Their experience has shown that a three-year interval is sufficient to prevent human rabies. Additionally, states which have changed to a three-year interval did not experience an increase in the number of rabid dogs and cats. No correlation exists between a state's required vaccination interval and its incidence of rabid dogs and cats.

Can I bring my cat to the veterinarian every year to get his rabies vaccination?

Yes. Nothing prohibits your veterinarian from recommending annual rabies vaccinations or from using a one-year vaccine. Crowley veterinarian Dr. Dehna Shaffer can evaluate your cat's risk of disease and other health-related problems, and advise you on rabies vaccination intervals.

What should I do for a stray cat that I have taken in, but I don't know his vaccination status?

Make an appointment with Shaffer Veterinary Services in Crowley, Texas and Dr. Dehna Shaffer will evaluate your new cat's health status. Since vaccination status is unknown, Crowley veterinarian Dr. Dehna Shaffer will recommend giving your cat a rabies shot at the time of your appointment and a booster shot 12 months later. If a 3-year vaccine is administered, your cat will need a rabies shot every 3 years thereafter. Again, for various health-related reasons, Crowley veterinarian Dr. Dehna Shaffer may elect to use a 1-year vaccine. Dr. Shaffer can advise you about vaccinations needed to protect your new cat from other diseases as well.

What should I do if a dog bites me, and I'm not sure if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies?

Treat the bite as if the animal were rabid and immediately cleanse the wound thoroughly by washing with soap and water. See your physician immediately after washing the wound. Your physician will decide on need for treatment to prevent rabies, proper wound care, and need for a tetanus booster. Report the incident to your local rabies control authority within 24 hours. Be prepared to describe the dog, such as size and color, plus provide the location where the bite incident occurred, and the owner's name and address if known. Your local rabies control authority (animal control or law enforcement) will investigate the potential exposure and ensure that the appropriate actions are initiated.

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