Dogs really ARE Miracles with Paws!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Input Please!!

I was having a discussion with another blogger the other day and I am interested in your thoughts on vet care in general.

Years ago...growing up...we always had two german shepherds.  We took them to the vet if they were injured or REALLY sick, but it was a rare occurrence.  We also had them wear those flea collars...that were so popular back then.  I'm not a thousand years old...I am in my early fifties!!

Anyway, I received a notice from the town that it was time to renew LadyBug's license...and in order to renew her license, I need to get her a rabies shot.  So, I called the vet to make the appointment.  Along with this request, the secretary informed me that it was also time for her annual visit...and her Distemper...AND her Heartworm Test...and her kennel cough vaccine.  The cost of said vet visit will be a couple hundred dollars.

After I hung up the phone, the debate about vet care continued...with my husband.  He simply does not understand why on earth we need to get ALL of these tests and vaccines done...when we never got them for our dogs "years ago".

I'm not a fan of applying chemicals to the girlz' skin.  Bichons have a tendency to have a reaction to shots and topicals applied to their skin as they are sensitive.  I have found an all natural treatment spray called RediCare that repels fleas and ticks...and even mosquitos!!  The best part is that I can use it too!!  It is a bit difficult to find, but I always order it from my friend, Jill, at Maryland Bichon Rescue because 100% of the purchase goes directly to the rescue!!  I am allergic to everything under the sun, and this stuff is AWESOME.  Seriously.  I love it.  The girlz are not particularly fond of the scent, but it is a clean scent and not overwhelming.

I am interested in your opinion.   Please share your thoughts!!

Thanks so much!!

ps...Chloe and LadyBug will get their turn on the blog back tomorrow!!  :)


faye said...

It must that time of year..
Teas is due for her 'annual'
this month and the same tests
and shots that you mentioned..

It does get to be expensive..
especially teeth cleaning ..

Bob always takes Teas for her
Vet visits and he usually caves
and gets all the proposed shots and tests and then grumbles for a year until the next time.

Kelli said...

You're right.. I don't remember all of that stuff for the dogs we had growing up. Who also wore the stinky flea collars. It wasn't that long ago! Buster just got the going over yesterday, incl. a stool swab. ???

Our previous dog, Duke, was found to have hip dysplasia as a puppy right after I adopted him, and the vet was talking about hip replacement surgery. I nearly threw up when he told me the cost--a couple of house payments! And upon further questioning, he told me that there are risks of infection, it may or may not help, the dog will still get arthritis, most likely, etc. I opted not to do it, (I was single at that time) and he lived to be 13 years old, and did fine.

But, when Buster got bit by a black widow, his platelet count dropped really low, and the vet was talking about transfusing him if they didn't come up. Luckily they came up on their own. I'm sure that would have cost a pretty penny too, but I would have definitely done it.

Oops, sorry I wrote you a book. I guess you were referring to all of the screenings, etc. I wonder if it really is helping dogs to live longer and healthier lives. But if you don't do all those things you end up feeling like some sort of bad dog owner or something. *sigh*

Ann Oon said...

Dommy usually has his yearly distemper jabs.. and that's about all they do here and a deworming tab. They'll listen to the heart and give the limbs all a check.

Last year he got really sick before his jab.. and so... a few mths of medication and the jab was not given. The vet says its okay as he's an older dog.

Our laws here are not too strict abt the jabs and tests.

Regarding the fleas and tick thingy... we do use Frontline... and a Heartworm tab every mth as Malaysia is a tropical country. Rain and sun all year round. A haven for ticks and fleas and mozzies. I sure would love an alternative to Frontline. Thanks for the tip Jeanne... i will check it out :) Hope you are having a great day with the girls.

Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! VET care cost is always a discussion in our house ... it is expensive. Is it really necessary?, the questions she often asked. Here in HI it is rabies free. When I was young I got very sick from a bug bite and we r being very cautious. There r lots of different bugs here. We are interested in your spray RediCare. Please send us an email where we can purchase it n we also have a question for you. Lots of Golden ALOHA n Woofs, Sugar

Bailey Be Good! said...

Hmmm... my mommy doesn't get every test that our doctor recommends, but she does get our shots every couple of years or so (I think the rabies shot is every 3 years, and the others are every 2? And the bordatella is every 6 months, but she doesn't usually get that until she puts us in doggie camp). Nala used to get Frontline for almost all of her life, and I was getting Comfortis, which is a chewable that does not prevent against ticks. But she switched back to Frontline since I won't chew the Comfortis anymore. Mommy says it's not easy to decide what to do and what not to do -- her mommy never gave her doggies all that they require nowadays.

Good luck with your decision -- I'm sure I didn't help any! ;)

Woofs & hugs, <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

Just Ramblin' said...

It is interesting that as time marches on, our pets need more 'care' now than they did back in the day. It could be about how much the environment has changed, how much we have possibly changed as caregivers for our pets, and/or that while we young with our childhood pets, we did not realize how much our parents were investing in our pets. They could have been having more taken care of at the vet visit than we were told as we were children at the time. It is an interesting conversation and I too am curious as to others thoughts! Hope your day is amazing. : )

Karen said...

Well... I have to say, I've always kept up with the rabies and I use flea and tick shampoo to bathe them in spring/summer/fall... but I have not always kept up with the heartworm meds. I just found out Frasier has heartworm, which is very common in shelter dogs, I guess.... and I started all my dogs on heartquard again. Frasier started treatment the other day. I don't know... I do think sometimes it's excessive and expensive, but I worry about not doing it at all...and the consequences. I think you know your dogs best. Period.

Hound Girl said...

Its funny after Fred got sick last year i was talking ot my parents and was telling them I NEVER saw them brush the dogs teeth, put flea collars or take them to the vet every year for heartworm test and so forth and these dogs lived 10plus years and here was Fred who I ran to vet for everything , brushed his teeth every other day etc and he was sick as can be. Also with having epilepsy we started to make the deicison for Fred not to have flea medicine and annual shots. We even considered not doing heartworm pills on him because he would seize after receiving heartworm pills etc. Its a tough choice and now that he is gone im actually thinking about only having rabies and the yearly shots on Haylie every other year or so. Titering is very expensive at my vet so I am not doing that - she has never been off heartworm protection so there is no need for a yearly $25 heartworm test. Ive also considered going to the shot clinics that our high school puts on with a local vet or a local vet comes to the grocery store parking lots. Sometimes I do think we have all gone a little over board on our dogs - I mean dont get me wrong I want my dog to live and be as healthy as possible and I want the best for her but I think there is something to be said about backing off some of the chemicals dogs get. - sorry for the lost post.

Mr. Pip said...

We do the annual visits and shots, but I do question the dog license thing. Pip has so many issues that we tend to be at the vet several times a year anyway.

Even though we do the annual visits, our vet has stopped vaccinating Pip because of his age (14). He still gets the heartworm test and regular exams, but our vet doesn't think he needs the shots anymore. I would suggest having an honest conversation with your vet and discuss your concerns.

Good luck.


Remington said...

I don't mind getting the shots....I think they will help me so I don't get sick....

Ron said...

It's so ironic because when I was a kid, my family always had German Shepard dogs too. I LOVE German Shepard's!

Well, I always treated my pets (cats) holistically, I never used a traditional medical vet. They also never had their traditional vaccinations which cats are supposed to get. Honestly, I don't believe in them.

Both my cats lived healthy lives until they were 19 years old.

Happy Thursday, dear lady!

X to you and the girlz!

Beth said...

I use to feel the same about my dog getting all the shots and putting the "stuff" on them....however, over the years I have learned that it is a small price to pay to protect them. The cost for Remington to have these done is REALLY high because of his size but I rest assured that I have done all I can to protect him.... It doesn't mean that they will get we all have to determine what we feel is best....that is my two cents worth....

Mitch said...

My mom will not over-vaccinate. Maggie got very sick when she was young with too many needles and she won't let it happen again.
We'll be checking out the Redicare link. Thank you!

Love ya lots,

Suka said...

What a cute photo!!

I agree with you. Living in the country you find dogs that are living to ripe old ages that have never, or rarely, been to the Vet. I have not taken my two dogs to the Vet in four years. I feel like a horrible dog owner, but they are doing just fine. I know that eventually I will have to take them in and get the $300-$400 worth of work done, but for now, as long as I am out in the country and they are healthy, I am not worried about it. I can understand why a rabies shot is mandatory, but I feel that everything else should be optional.

Good luck! Oh, and thanks for the tip on RediCare. I will have to check that out!


silvieon4 said...

NO VACCINES are necessary or mandated except RABIES every 3 yrs. Tell your idiot vet to look it up!!!! Also tell him that if he needs the $$$ that badly he should consider a new job. The standards are set by every responsible body. Remember this: NO ANNUAL VACCINES! Any vet that tries to give your dog annual vaccines is a money-grubbing moron willing to jeopardize your pet's health! Vaccines are NOT harmless.....and studies have shown that at the very least, vaccines last 3 years and more likely far longer. That is why we advocate a titer rather than a vaccine every 3 years if you feel that it's needed.

If your dog has a reaction to the rabies vaccine or if your dog is elderly and/or ill, your vet can give you an exemption from that shot.

The AVMA, the AAHA, all vet schools, the Bichon Frise Club of America and the Feline Practioners of America all say NO to annual vaccines!

All Bichon parents should also say no to annual vaccines! Remember you are the owner, the consumer, the client. What YOU say goes!It is idiot vets and money grubbers who will expose aging dogs to unnecessary, unwanted vaccines.

Please keep your girls safe. Don't buckle, you need to advocate for them.

Just do a search for vaccines on my blog.

Tucker The Crestie said...

Unfortunately unless your dog qualifies for a medical exemption, rabies vax is required by law in most states, and of course, as you said, you need it to obtain the necessary license.

Heartworm testing is important ... although I really hate giving the preventative, but it's a necessary evil.

As far as kennel cough - it's really not necessary, in my opinion. Boarding facilities do require it, and some groomers as well, which is why I'm glad that my dogs are wash and wear, and one of the main reasons why I am so happy to have such a wonderful in-home pet sitter for when I travel.

As far as other core vaccines, I do titer testing every two years.

Ina in Alaska said...

I have noticed a trend in vet care. It seems that some clinics have turned into pet HMOs where all the tests you described are "required".

I continue to go to my faithful vets because they only do what is absolutely necessary. I do not feel they are taking advantage of me.

You have indicated the tests seem unreasonable. Listen to your inner voice. You are probably correct.

I feel that if your Girlz are not in doggie day care or visiting hospitals and such that you need not do all the tests you indicated in your post.

I too remember those flea collars!

GOOSE said...

I think having all their vaccinations up to date is a good thing. And I like taking Goose in for an annual check up, it has proven to be helpful and even a BIG blessing because we did. I know it's expensive, boy do I know. But for me and peace of mind it is worth it.
Goose's MOM

Ann said...

When it comes to vet care I more or less treat it the same as I do my own medical care. I only take Duke for the necessary shots and when he's sick. I normally skip the wellness checks that they send the reminder card for. Some may think that makes me a bad pet owner but why would I do it for him when I don't even do it for myself.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Titer shots are the best.
Benny & Lily

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

We are fortunate to have a very old fashioned common sense vet. She works with us to choose natural rememdies instead of pharmaceuticals when one of the WDA needs care. But Puff came to us HW+ Stage 3 so we ARE sticklers on HW prevention and our dogs all have their citiy licenses so they have their rabies, but we can use the 3yr version here. And with my phobia about canine cancer annuals are a must. Yes, it gets to be expensive, especially with five, but sometimes waiting until the pup acts sick or something manifests itself is too late. I am also mid-fifties and our family dogs growing up never received regular vet care, wasn't an option with 6 kids (who didn't get to see the doctor much, either).

24 Paws of Love said...

We've always gotten vaccines, rabies and licenses. We also do the heartworm and flea meds. But I do everything in my power to avoid the vet unless it is really serious or an emergency. I have known people who don't get the dogs their shots and such, but they were quite skilled in herbs and natural remedies.

With eight animals in the house, we believe in them getting their shot and that. Haven't known otherwise. Yes, it gets expensive, but all the dogs and cats are worth it.

Good question.

Bassetmomma said...

Things are so different from when we were young and our parents had pets. I don't know if it's because they know more now or if it's a money grab. Regardless, I get Fred and Gloria their yearly shots as I worry too much about the alternative and the "what if" scenario. Luckily I got Fred and Gloria lifetime licenses before our city discontinued that and went to yearly. :)

jen said...

Jeanne-this is such an important topic to discuss! As you know I work in the vet field, and I come across these questions all the time. Personally I think that vaccines are misunderstood. Vaccines are meant to protect our dogs not harm them. People don't think that dogs get diseases such as distemper, rabies, or lepto anymore, but they do. It doesn't happen everyday but it does happen and if I can protect any dog from getting a fatal disease then you can bet I am going to do it. of course, there is always a risk with giving a vaccine too, that is the way it is with humans too, you take a small risk when getting any type of injection. With that being said vet medicine is always changing which is why over recent years many vets have been trying to find a happy medium of vaccinating less and still keeping your pet safe. It all comes down what your dogs are at risk for. For instance, my dogs are at risk for lepto because lepto has been found in my immediate area, but it may not be found in your area, so your girls may not be at risk. It also depends on what vaccine your vet is using, some vets use older vaccines that have not been updated to cover recent strains of a disease. Why bother getting it then?
Ask your vet. A good vet will always be honest.

As far as heartworm testing goes, you certainly have the right to decline this test, especially if the girls are on heartworm prevention year round. We recommend testing for heartworm once a year because if a pet was to get heartworm disease while taking heartworm prevention many manufacturers will NOT pay for treatment if a yearly heartworm test is not performed.

Sorry, I wrote a book here!!!I get a little too into my work sometimes:)

Mary said...

Hi Jeanne~ How often do you apply RediCare on the girlz for fleas? Do you use it as a mosquito repellent on yourself too?

Vetcare is pricey! I always have sticker shock when I leave! Do you have Chloe's & LadyBug's teeth cleaned at the vet? It boggles the mind how much that costs but it seems like a necessary evil since they live longer...

Kolchak Puggle said...

I am not a big fan of vaccines *the way we use them*. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that year vaccines are not necessary, nor are they even safe. I wholeheartedly believe in puppy vaccines. I believe in creating an immunity - but even the Merck Veterinary manual has suggested for years that yearly boosters are not needed. If you read the actual vaccine label, they indicate that they are only for healthy dogs - not for dogs with immune systems compromised by allergies,cancer or other illnesses. I can point you towards some good studies and research on the subject, if you are interested. Just drop me an e-mail :0)

I do titer test both dogs yearly to see how their immunity levels are doing, but unless I get a surprise and their immunities drastically reduce, I doubt I will vaccinate either dog again. Of course, I am lucky to live in an area where vaccinations are not the law.

We also test for heartwork twice yearly, since I use heartworm preventatives for the absolutely shortest window I can (a safe thing to do here in the cold north where heartwork hasn't been seen at my vet clinic in two years, not as safe in the south). I would rather spend the money on more frequent testing than on year round poisons to treat them. I keep our yard free of standing water and use a natural bug repellent when we go out after dark during mosquito season.