Canine Wellness and Vaccinations

Vet Visits

Why do I need to visit the Vet for annual and biannual visits?

Many canine illnesses and health problems do not show symptoms until it is too late and damage to the body has occurred. Many of these health issues if detected early are easily reversible and provide the opportunity for you to have a healthy pet. Remember, old age is not a disease. Many of the health issues that plague older dogs (heart problems, kidney and liver issues, tooth loss, and arthritis are but a few of these problems), start when they are young and you have the best opportunity to stop or slow down their progression.

“An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.”


Why is it important to neuter/spay my dog?

Did you know that by having your male dog neutered you can prevent testicular cancer and certain prostate problems? Neutering can also help prevent or reduce behavioral problems including aggression and urine marking.

Spaying your female dog before she is a year of age reduces the risk of developing mammary (breast) cancer by over 90 percent. This also removes the risk of life threatening uterine infections.
The best time to do both neutering and spaying is around 6 months of age.


How do I prevent obesity in my dog?

Obesity is a disease the affects many pets. It can lead to health issues such as arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Yes, even cancer. “Lifetime weight management is associated with a decreased risk of developing cancer and other diseases such as diabetes mellitus.”

– source: Journal of Veterinary Medicine 226:225-231, 2005.

Secondhand Smoke/Canine Cancer

Not all dogs will develop cancers or health problems from exposure to secondhand smoke; however, research shows that the chances of developing cancer are greater for dogs living in smoking environments compared to dogs from non-smoking environments. Diets rich in antioxidants can help decrease the risk of canine cancer.

Dental Care

What should I know about proper dental care?

Did you know that approximately 80 percent of dogs have dental disease by age 3? Did you know that certain bacteria from your dog’s mouth can cause kidney, lung and heart damage? Periodontitis is the most common bacterial infection in dogs and can lead to long term effects such as tooth loss if left untreated.

Regular dental checkups, daily tooth cleaning and regular scaling and polishing is your best defense against dental disease and preventing internal diseases caused by periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, which includes gingivitis and periodontitis, is an inflammation and/ or infection of the gums and bone around the teeth. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth and if left untreated can lead to tooth loss and internal organ damage due to bacteria gaining access to the blood stream.

How do I know if my dog has periodontal disease?
One of the first signs is bad breath, along with red or inflamed gums, yellowish to brown crust on the teeth near the gum line, and loose or missing teeth are some of the signs of this disease.

What is the new Pfizer dental vaccine?
The dental vaccine was designed to help prevent tooth loss and protect the internal organs from a certain bacteria (Porphyromonas spp.) that are associated with heart, kidney, and lung disease.

Clean Teeth

What do I use to clean my dogs teeth?

There are several options available for cleaning your dog’s teeth, such as, tooth brushing with dog toothpaste, Dentacetic wipes, dental treats and diet. We can show you quick and easy methods to clean your dog’s teeth. Some dogs do not like having their mouths touched and in these cases diets or treats may be the most effective method.


What should I know about vaccinations?

Veterinarians believe vaccinations save the lives of millions of dogs. There are two types of vaccination programs: core and additional. Core vaccinations protect against diseases that are serious and sometimes fatal. Additional vaccinations are for dogs that might be at a specific risk for infection due to their lifestyle habits or surrounding environments.

Core Vaccinations:

Distemper Virus spreads from dog to dog by respiratory secretions. The virus is usually fatal, especially in puppies. It’s the leading cause of death among unvaccinated puppies 3-8 months of age. The first vaccination should begin at 6-8 weeks of age.

Adenovirus causes liver and kidney damage and severe respiratory infections. Adenovirus vaccination is usually included with the distemper virus vaccination. Annual booster shots are recommended.

Parvovirus is a viral disease that affects puppies more often than adult dogs. The virus causes diarrhea and, in severe cases, can infect the heart, causing death. This vaccine should be given early (6-8 weeks old). Annual booster shots are recommended.

Rabies attacks the brain and is usually passed through a bite and can affect animals and people. Once the signs of rabies are visible, it is almost always fatal. Vaccinate at 6 months of age (check for your state’s requirements), repeat in one year, and in most cases revaccinate every three years.

In most areas in the U.S., rabies shots are required for public safety.

Additional Vaccinations:

Bordetellosis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica and can lead to a severe, chronic cough known as kennel cough. It is usually passed along from dog to dog in kennels, grooming facilities and at dog shows.

Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs by ticks. It may cause flu-like symptoms and arthritis. At-risk dogs should be vaccinated beginning at 9-12 weeks of age, repeated 3 weeks later, and then annually.

Leptospirosis develops from a type of bacteria, Leptospira, which infects the kidneys and liver, causing severe damage. This disease can be spread to humans. This vaccination is usually included with the distemper combination.

Consult Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital with questions about other additional vaccinations.

Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?

First isolated in Lyme, Connecticut, Lyme Disease is a type of bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is carried by ticks, causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease may cause serious dog health problems, such as lameness, enlarged lymph nodes, and an elevated temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit.) The joint pain can become quite extreme. In severe cases, the bacteria can damage the kidneys and immune system. Antibiotics should be administered to help eliminate this disease.
Dogs at high risk for Lyme disease include those living outside or those who frequent environments that harbor ticks.

If you live in or frequent areas that have an abundance of ticks, you should vaccinate your dog as soon as possible. A typical schedule for high-risk dogs is a shot at 9-12 weeks of age, repeated in 3 weeks, and then annually for preventive dog health care. Frontline Plus given monthly is also recommended for Lyme disease prevention.

Boarding Protocol

Our current boarding protocol includes patients being current on:

  • Rabies vaccination
  • DA2PPV (Distemper combo vaccination)
  • Bordetella vaccination (kennel cough) for dogs
  • Fecal Parasite Screen
  • Flea/Tick preventative

Please ask a Yankee Hill Vet team member if you have any questions on these requirements and we would be happy to explain the importance of these vaccinations, preventatives and screenings.