Protecting your pet over the Easter holidays

If you’re planning a holiday over Easter please don’t forget your pet. There are several important pet precautions to take before you step on that plane or drive off with your suitcases packed.

These are:

VACCINATIONS FOR KENNEL COUGH

Kennel Cough or Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. It infects a high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime with young puppies usually suffering the most severe complications because they have immature immune systems. Also at increased risk are older dogs, who may have decreased immune capabilities, pregnant bitches, who also have lowered immunity, and dogs with pre-existing respiratory diseases.

young puppies suffer the worst symptoms of kennel cough

Symptoms include:
* A persistent cough is the most common symptom
* Retching
* Watery nasal discharge
* In mild cases, dogs are often active and eating normally
* In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, total loss of appetite, fever, lethargy and even death.

Dogs often develop clinical signs associated with kennel cough 3-4 days after exposure to a large number of other dogs (e.g., at a boarding facility or show).

Treatment
This depends on the severity of the infection. If your dog is alert, active, eating well, and has only minor symptoms, your veterinarian may only prescribe general supportive care like rest and good hydration and nutrition. More severely affected dogs benefit from medications that reduce inflammation and coughing. If a bacterial infection is present, antibiotics may help shorten the course of the disease. Dogs with pneumonia often need to be hospitalized for more aggressive treatment.

If you are planning to board your dog while you are on holiday, the kennel will insist on up-to-date vaccination records including one for kennel cough.

MICROCHIPPING

Even the most vigilant house sitters and boarding kennels can slip up and there is no worse phone call for a pet owner than the one that tells them their beloved dog or cat has gone missing.

microchipping is a quick and painless procedure

Microchipping is a simple, painless procedure that takes no more than a few minutes at your veterinary clinic. It looks like an injection; the tiny chip is inserted under the skin behind the pet’s neck via a needle and there it stays.

The information recorded on the chip is kept on record by the microchip company and should you pet become lost a simple scan of your pet will immediately link it to your record.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES

Most veterinarians are closed from Saturday lunchtime and all of Sunday and often over public holidays too. Make sure you have the telephone number for the after hours emergency veterinarian on duty over the Easter holidays. If you are going on holiday and leaving your pet with a house sitter, ensure you leave the house sitter with a full list of contact details for your regular veterinary clinic, the after hours clinic, and if your pet requires chronic medication, the instructions for administration.