However, I am very happy to say that he is very healthy!
Today, he got 3 shots (Rabies, DHPP, and Leptospirosis), had a heartworm test, and a physical examination. It is important to take your dogs in yearly to get their shots up to date, and vets also recommend testing them for heartworms every year even if they are on preventatives because they aren't always 100% effective.
I was so nervous about the heartworm test, even though I give him monthy preventatives, because my parent's dog, Macintosh, had heartworms when I was 7. In order for dogs to recover, they have to undergo difficult and expensive treatments and must be confined with no exercise for 2 months. I remember having to listen to her scream that entire time. Apple could never do that.
Fortunately, his test was negative. I saw the test and it's almost like a pregnancy test, except the vet draws blood and puts it on the plastic test. Then, if you get one line, it's negative, and two lines means positive.
|This one uses dots, but you get the idea|
Rabies is obviously a pretty common vaccine. It is the only one required by law, but rabies in dogs is extremely rare these days (due, of course, to years of stringent vaccination.) It is important though, since it cannot be treated once the symptoms begin. According to the CDC, 90% of all rabies cases are in wild animals; only about 80 dogs are discovered to have rabies in the United States every year (as opposed to 300 cats!)
DHPP is arguably a much more important vaccine, although it is not required. This vaccine prevents Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and most importantly, Parvovirus. It is a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus and a dog can catch Parvo from walking on a sidewalk that an infected dog walked on a year ago. When we first got Apple, we had to carry him through the clinic at Emancipet to reduce his risk of catching Parvo. This disease is especially dangerous to young puppies. Distemper is also serious, and is incurable, so it is very important to get this vaccine regularly.
Those are the two most important vaccines to give your dog. I also have given Apple Leptospirosis and Bordetella (which isn't due until August.) Lepto is recommended for dogs who play in dirty water sources in urban areas, which Apple does quite often. Bordetella is required when boarding your dogs, and is similar to the common cold in humans.
After Apple got his shots, the vet examined him and said that his teeth and coat were beautiful, his heart sounded great, and he was in excellent body condition. That was very nice to hear since Apple had to make many trips to the vet for various infections early on in our owning him. He had to go to the vet once a month for four months due to infections he had as a result of being a stray. I am so happy to know that he is much healthier now and that we are doing a good job!