Responsible Pet Owner Month

Responsible Pet Owner Month

I know it’s the last week of February, but dental month always takes most of the posts!  But…February is also responsible pet owner month.  So for the rest of the week, I would like to highlight that some with a five part series on what does it mean to be a responsible pet owner.  To your cranky neighbor, responsible pet ownership might mean keeping your pet out of the their yard or not letting your pet poop in their yard.  To others it might mean “fixing” your pet or “vaccinating” your pet.

I believe it is those mentioned above and more.  So let’s talk today about vaccinations and why they are important for your pet as well as a great sign you are being a responsible pet owner.


Vaccinations Part 2:

Vaccinations are a vital part of your pet’s wellness.  In the state of Indiana it is mandatory to vaccinate against rabies for your pets.  Many people are lax about keeping up on regular vaccinations.  So what’s the big deal?  Your pet gets attacked by a raccoon when it is out going potty and is now exposed to rabies.  There is no cure for rabies.  There is however vaccine against exposure to rabies.  If your pet bites someone, you must be able to prove they are up to date on rabies vaccine.  If not, you will spend a lot of money doing blood tests to check their rabies titer, quarantining the pet until you know the results and possibly euthanizing your pet.  Even if your pet has never shown any aggression, they may at exams at the veterinarian.  No one likes to be poked and prodded and it is an easy time for your pet to nip us during the exam.

Many people also come to the office and just want the rabies vaccines because that’s all that the state mandates.  There are many other vaccines that may be warranted for your pet.  Please let us discuss the pros and cons of each vaccine.  Not every pet needs a lyme vaccine or influenza vaccine, but there are times you would rather be safe than sorry with a very sick pet.  We do believe every pet should have the distemper combination vaccines.  It protects against many virus’ your pets can pick up from the environment and other dogs.  Consider the following highlights from one the veterinary journals below:

Insight Companion Animal Edition

Canine distemper and Rabies in Wildlife:  Protecting pets and people 


  • Canine distemper virus (CDV) is similar to the virus that causes measles
  • We humans can’t get it, but many, many animals can get it which includes cat, dog, skunk, bears, ferrets, raccoons and elephants
  • First symptoms are fever and loss of appetite; this can be 3-6 months post exposure
  • Secondary symptoms are effecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological systems.
  • Mortality rates are up to 50% in adult dogs and 80% in puppies


  • All mammals are susceptible to rabies.  That includes us!
  • Death occurs within a week after symptoms appear.
  • Incubation after exposure can be 7 days to several months depending on the viral load to the body.
  • There are nearly 60,000 human deaths worldwide from rabies every year.
  • Rabies is the deadliest zoonotic (meaning humans and animals are susceptible to) disease in the world.
  • Here in the U.S. bats are the primary source of exposure in humans.



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