Be An ‘A’ Client (chs. 11-15)

Be an A ClientIn every practice that I have worked there is a small number of clients who are just absolutely amazing. These are the clients who bake us cookies, send us a Christmas card, or just send us a card of encouragement when they see we have had a hard week.

I will often give clients like this a small break when I can. For example, in our practice I can choose whether to charge a brief office visit, a recheck visit, or a regular office visit. Sometimes it is debatable whether a visit should count for a recheck or a regular visit. I am more likely to give the reduced fee to my A clients.

Similarly, sometimes we get free samples or special deals from the companies that we work with and we can distribute those as we wish. The clients that are nice to me are much more likely to get the freebies!

Some Things Are Better To Get Done At The Groomers

In many cases it is best to have your groomer trim your pet’s nails. (Or better yet, ask your vet for a tutorial on how to do them at home). In my office a nail trim is $17.00. Many groomers will charge significantly less.

We will often have clients ask us to do general grooming such as shaving or bathing. By the time we add up the cost to have my technicians do this work it can be quite pricey. The only animals that I would recommend having groomed at the vet’s office are those who require a large amount of sedation in order to be groomed.

One thing that I do not recommend having your groomer do is anal glands. While some groomers do an ok job, in my experience most do not. Most groomers will express anal glands externally while most vets will put on a glove and express them from inside. It took me quite a while before I felt I was “good” at expressing anal glands. It is not an easy task! (There will be more on anal glands later).



Lyme Vaccine

Is a lyme vaccine necessary for every dog? In many places lyme vaccine is given routinely every year. However, many dogs do not need this.

Ask your vet how many cases of lyme disease he or she has diagnosed or treated in the last year. Ask how necessary the vaccine is.

In my practice, I give lyme vaccines to dogs who may be traveling to an area where lyme disease is common such as New England. Although it is offered to any dogs who spend time in the woods where they could pick up ticks I usually tell people that the risk of developing lyme disease in our area is small.

Vaccines For Indoor Cats

The vast majority of the time, indoor cats do not need to be vaccinated for feline leukemia or FIV. These viruses can only be spread by direct contact with an infected cat. So, if your cat never goes outside (and you are not bringing stray cats in) then they are not going to get these viruses.

The feline leukemia vaccine can cause a lump to form at the site of vaccination and in a small number of cats (1 in 10,000) this can turn into a nasty cancer called fibrosarcoma. Therefore, I generally avoid this vaccine in cats who are not going to be meeting other cats.

The FIV vaccine is fairly controversial. FIV is spread from cat to cat via a deep bite wound. It is debatable how effective the vaccine is against FIV. Also, if a cat is vaccinated for FIV they will always test positive if a blood test is done for FIV. Many shelters will test stray cats for FIV before adopting them out. If your cat was vaccinated for FIV, and ran away from home he or she may be euthanized because of suspected FIV.

There is also a vaccine out there for a disease called FIP. FIP is a serious life threatening virus. However, the vaccine has not been shown to be effective. I do not give the FIP vaccine in my practice. So, should indoor cats have vaccines for rabies and for the respiratory viruses known as either FVRCP or PRC? I do vaccinate indoor cats. (However, another tip will talk about whether vaccines need to be given every year).

Although rabies is very uncommon, it is possible for your cat to come in contact with an infected bat that flies in the house or if wildlife comes up to your house. Because rabies is fatal to humans, it is imperative that every cat or dog living with humans should be vaccinated. Also, if your cat was to bite someone and that person had to go to the hospital, the doctor will ask if the cat has been vaccinated against rabies. If not, the person may be required to go through painful rabies prevention treatments.

The reason for this is that there is no test that can be done on a live animal or person for rabies.

Regarding, FVRCP (PRC) this is a combo of vaccines that are mostly against respiratory viruses. These viruses are airborne and can be caught through the window or you can bring them home to your cat if you are petting an infected cat. Your cat is also at risk for picking up one of these viruses after a visit to the vet or groomer.

Do Vaccines Need To Be Given Every Year?

If your vet is giving every vaccine every year then it may be worthwhile to switch vets. This is how we used to vaccinate, but newer research is showing that not all vaccines need to be given every year.

It is very important to get 2 or 3 vaccine boosters done when your animal is a puppy or kitten and then to have those vaccines repeated one year later.

In my practice, I will do the distemper (dogs) or PRC (cats) vaccine every two years after that and in some cases after a certain age every three years.

Rabies can also be given every three years from this point on. However, in cats I will often recommend a one year rabies vaccine called purevax. The reason for this is that this vaccine is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than the 3 year vaccine. Also, the 3 year vaccine contains adjuvant which can potentially lead to a cancer in a small number of cats. This doesnʼt seem to be a problem for dogs.

Article by Dr. Marie

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