Monday, July 28, 2014

Vaccinating Your Dog at Home-Is it Safe and Effective?

Walk into any Tractor Supply, Rural King, farm store or coOp and you are bound to see the ubiquitous little refrigerator that houses dog, cat, and livestock vaccines.  Many people, including several I know, purchase vaccines (except rabies, which is required by law to be administered by a vet) at these places and inject their animals themselves at home.

Supposedly it saves time and money.  Cheaper than going to a vet, and one does not have to make a special appointment.

I recently heard of a six month old, otherwise healthy female dog being euthanized because of Parvovirus.  The kicker is that she had been vaccinated for it.  At home.  With vaccines purchased at a local feed store.  As this sad story was discussed, many people chimed in with anecdotal tales, stating that their vets had told them they had seen many cases of parvo in dogs vaccinated at home with feed store vaccines.  How and why does this occur?

About Canine Parvovirus
Parvo is a highly contagious disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract of infected dogs.  The diarrhea and vomiting cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which is typically what proves fatal in dogs which do not receive treatment.  

Parvo can survive in the soil for up to one year, so it is recommended that a home with a confirmed parvo case not get another dog or allow other dogs on their property for a minimum of six months.  

Lactating females that have been vaccinated against Parvo (or survived having it) will pass on some antibodies to puppies through their milk.  It is recommended that puppies get their initial vaccine sometime between five and eight weeks of age, depending on the literature read.
 The Appeal of At Home Vaccines
Faolan just went to vet a couple of weeks ago.  The cost of his DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza) was $27.50.  Office visit fees can range anywhere from $25-$50 or more, depending on the veterinarian used.  A nine way booster vaccine is available at Tractor Supply for $11.99.  From a financial standpoint, $11.99 is much better than $50 or more.

Time wise, it is easy to spend two or more hours driving to the vet, waiting at the vet, being seen by the vet, and driving home from the vet.  Or, one can swing by a feed store on their way home, spend 5-10 minutes inside purchasing the vaccine, drive home, and inject their dog.

It is easy to see the appeal of giving a dog a vaccine at home.  $10-$15 spent vs $50 (or easily more), and 10-20 minutes of extra time spent vs two hours.

Temperature Control
Most canine vaccines have a narrow window of temperature exposure in order to remain effective, typically 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is likely the base problem of many of the examples I read of dogs vaccinated at home with feed store vaccines developing Parvo.  

The vaccine is made by the manufacturer, and shipped by refrigerated truck, or in coolers to the store.  Upon arrival at the store, it should be put in a locked refrigerator that is frequently and well monitored for appropriate temperature control.  The owner then purchases the vaccine, and takes it immediately home and administers it to the dog.  

Unfortunately there is a large amount of room for human or equipment error in the above situation.  What if the vaccine sits on the loading dock or store room for a couple of hours prior to be placed in the refrigerator?  What if said refrigerator does not have an accurate thermostat?  What if the person purchasing the vaccine decides to run a couple of other errands prior to taking it home, or takes it home and leaves it on the counter for a few hours prior to administering it?  All of these scenarios can cause the temperature of the vaccine to be out of the acceptable range, thus rendering it ineffective.  Administering an inappropriately stored or inappropriately handled vaccine is useless.

My Thoughts
Whether one chooses to vaccinate their dog or not, I believe every dog should see a vet yearly for a wellness exam.  While cost is a factor for many, I feel safe knowing that vaccines received at a vet's office are handled and administered by professionals, as opposed to employees of a chain or private feed store or coOp.  While no vaccine is 100 percent effective, I would much rather a dog receive a vaccine that has been properly handled and stored appropriately, as opposed to a vaccine that is not effective at all once it has been exposed to a temperature that is higher or lower than the narrow window.  I think spending an extra $40 or more is well worth it to avoid heartbreak that can potentially be prevented.

What say you?  Would you or do you give your dog vaccinations at home?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Black & White Sunday

Last Sunday was National Ice Cream Day.  Bruce rarely gets to go on adventures outside the house, so we decided to take him with us to Ritter's to get some ice cream.  He obviously enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Recent Raw Meals

After the break are photos and examples of raw meals for dogs.  I feed mostly prey model raw, but do occasionally use some dehydrated raw and premade raw.

These are just a few photos of some of my dogs' meals over the last two weeks.

My crew mostly eats the same meals as each other, with the same portion sizes.

 I feed as much cut and protein variety as possible.

For additional photos of raw meals for dogs, click HERE.

Useful links:

How **I** Feed Raw

Raw Feeding Resources

Thursday, July 24, 2014

12 Paws Up for PawPack! (PawPack Review)

Soooo...I am slightly addicted to dog subscription boxes.  But it's ok, we all have our guilty pleasures.

PawPack is a recently introduced subscription box, aimed at providing high quality, all natural treats, toys, and grooming products for dogs and cats.  The boxes can be customized, or a complete surprise.

I LOVE that 10 percent of their proceeds go to the care of rescued animals.  That's pretty awesome.

PawPack generously sent us a box of goodies with some of the awesome products they offer.

The Goods

Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Double Tuff toys.  Chew toys that can be easily stuffed with peanut butter, ground meat, or canned food.  What dog owner doesn't love this type of toy?  Not only that, they smell deliciously minty!

Ore Pet Fetch! toy.  A seriously funny canvas toy with a squeaker in it.  Doesn't seem super tough, so it probably won't hold up to my crew.  But it is really unique, and I am trying to choose which dog that I know who would enjoy this the most.  

Jax and Bones Good Karma Turtle.  Jax and Bones rope toys are some of Neeko's favorite toys.  Ever.  I am super excited about this, as is the princess.  These toys are all cute, and incredibly durable.  Like other toys, it should be played with under supervision.

Ore Pet Bag Clip.  It's a heavy duty bag clip, with a hole in the middle.  While I won't use this for kibble, I can think of plenty of other uses for it.  I'll probably put it on a bag of pretzels to start.  There's no shame in my game.  A magnet on the back would be awesome, and I think I am going to glue one on to it.

New Angle Gulpy Pet Water Dispenser.  We actually used to have a product similar to this, and it is a great idea for small dogs or dogs who don't drink 24 ounces of water at once (Bruce...)

A belt can be rant through the hole, or a carabiner attached to it for hands-free carrying.

Cloud Star Original Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits.  Small, soft treats that are made with peanut butter.  Three important (in my dogs' opinions) criteria met when it comes to treats.  These are yeast free, so even big Bruce can enjoy them.  And picky turd Faolan has already proven that these please his palate, so they are a win-win.

True Chews Chicken Premium Jerky Cuts.  Chicken jerky that is made in the US, so I am comfortable giving it.  These types of dehydrated meat treats always go over well, and I am sure that these will be no exception.  These treats can be cut with scissors to make them stretch even farther, or to be used as training treats.

Harry Barker Natural Refreshing Spray.  A between bath refreshing spray that is said to leave the coat feeling silky.  While I am not a huge fan of the scent, Les likes it, so it is a personal preference.  Knowing what he would do, I sprayed some on the rug to watch Faolan scent-roll on it.  Watching him scent-roll is always entertaining, and it typically means that he really likes the scent of something.

SnoutStik.  Chapstick-sized tube of nose balm for dogs.  The ingredients are good, and it smells good, so it is very hard for me not to try this on my lips.  This will come in handy in the winter, if any pups get dry nose.  I am thinking it would also work well on dry, cracked winter paws.  

Happy Tails Ear Wipes.  These lavender scented pads are made in the US, and designed to gently cleanse a dog's outer ear.  I always wipe out Neeko and Faolan's outer ears after they have been swimming, and will start using these pads to do so.  

Round Tree Organics Doggie Bar.  This vegan soap, with organic ingredients, smells amazing.  The label states it is gentle enough to use on your body, hair, and face, and I will probably do so.  Sorry, doggies, but I think I am keeping this one for myself.  There is just something so pampering about yummy smelling, good soap.

I am very impressed to the selection of products that PawPack sent us.  Most of them we have either never heard of or never used, which is great because I really enjoy trying out and learning about new products for my dogs.  There was a nice variety of toys, treats, grooming, and miscellaneous products, all of which seem to be very high quality.

PawPack subscriptions start at $32 per month, with free shipping.  International shipping is available for $5.  Check out PawPack online, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Tell them Rebekah from My Rotten Dogs sent you!

Do you subscribe to any dog or human subscription boxes? What is your favorite?

Disclaimer-I was provided with a complimentary PawPack.  All opinions are strictly my own.