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News & Information

Hurricane Prepardness for Our Pets


Hurricane season is here again and it is time to get prepared.  Our pets are an important part of our lives and have their own special needs to be met.  The most important thing to remember is that if it is too dangerous for you to stay, it is too dangerous for your pet.

If you choose to ride out the storm at home, all pets should be brought inside, no pet should be left outside or tied during a storm.  Make sure your pet has the proper vaccinations prior to the storm and proper identification, such as a collar with tags or other identification such as microchip.  The microchip is the best means of identification for your pet, it is permanent and collars can come off. Recent photos of your pets can be helpful if you are separated.  Make sure that you have a rescue sticker with the number of pets and their type located at the entrance of your home so that rescuers would know what to look for during an emergency.  All pets should have the appropriate size carrier or cage for emergency evacuation or travel.


If you intend to evacuate there are many things needed to prepare.

You should locate a shelter, motel or family member that is pet friendly ahead of time. The shelters and motels that accept animals will be first to fill up and not all will accept all pets.  Make sure your pets vaccinations are up to date and that you have Vet Records and any medications needed with you.  Current photos of your pet in case you are separated from each other, and always have identification on them such as collar with tags and a microchip if possible. Write “evacuated” on the rescue sticker when leaving  so that the first responders will know that you and your pets have left.


If you do take your pet with you to an evacuation shelter, there are things that you should have with you:

1.      Proper Identification, collar, leash

2.      Cage or Carrier of the appropriate size for your pet

3.      Food, bowls for water and food, treats and toys

4.      Medications and care instructions

5.      Bedding, blankets

6.      Newspaper, trash bags and other items for clean up

7.      Cats would need a small litter box and litter


Taking steps to prepare for an emergency ahead of time, will ensure that you and your pets remain safe during this hurricane season.


Are Veterinarians Really Over Vaccinating?

                                                          By: The Pet Place Staff

Are veterinarians really over vaccinating? Recently, claims of a class action lawsuit surfaced accusing veterinarians of vaccinating pets that don't need it.

The Law Firm of Childress Duffy Goldblatt, Ltd. of Chicago, Illinois, is investigating the pursuit of a class action lawsuit arising from the misrepresentation of the need for pet vaccinations. The investigation claims that every year over 30 thousand dogs and cats in the U.S. die from adverse reactions from unnecessary vaccines.

Are vaccines needed?

Over 10 years ago, some research was conducted that questioned the immunity resulting from vaccines and whether annual vaccinations should be required. There have not been any conclusions in this research. However, during this time, most veterinary schools in the U. S. have recommended a reduction in the number and frequency of required vaccination.

Some veterinarians believe that annual revaccination is an important and critical part of preventative health care. Others suggest that there is little scientific information to suggest that annual revaccination of older dogs is necessary for some diseases. There is insufficient information regarding the duration of immunity beyond a year. Of course, some vaccines (rabies) are required by law.

Vaccine "titers," a blood test that determine the presence of antibodies that develop in response to the vaccine, can be done to help determine if a pet really needs a vaccine prior to actually getting a vaccine. The problems associated with "titers" is that very few laboratories perform the test and titers are often more expensive than the vaccines.

According to several veterinarians interviewed, the biggest obstacle to vaccine titers is that pet owners don't want to pay $100.00 to $200.00 for titer testing to determine if a vaccine is required when they can get the vaccine for a fraction of that cost.

What vaccines are recommended?

Until recent years, annual vaccines were recommended in both dogs and cats. However, in 1998, the American Association of Feline Practitioners published a report recommending vaccinating adult cats against panleukopenia virus, feline herpesvirus-1, and feline calicivirus, every three years, rather than annually.

In the spring of 2003, the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force released its vaccination guidelines that recommended three-year booster intervals in adult dogs for distemper virus, parvovirus, adenovirus-2, and parainfluenza virus.

The above recommendations may change as more information is being made available in a regular basis. The important factor is that the benefits must outweigh the risks. For example, if you have an outdoor cat the benefit of an annual vaccine to prevent some very deadly contagious diseases common in outdoor cats probably outweighs the risks of the vaccine in the eyes of most veterinarians.

Do vaccines actually cause harm?

Vaccines have been associated with minor allergic reactions such as facial swelling and itching to severe reactions associated with the formation cancerous tumor in cats. Vaccines have also been linked to autoimmune diseases in dogs such as anemia, platelet problems,and joint disease.

The number of pets that experience a reaction is very low, although it is difficult to find accurate data as many reactions are not reported or either falsely-associated, or not-associated with the vaccine.
Unfortunately, there is also no longer a national database in the United States that allows veterinarians to report adverse vaccines reactions or to obtain information about adverse reactions to particular products. The U.S. Pharmacopeia's Veterinary Practitioners' Reporting Program lost funding and was discontinued in April 2003.

According to information published in the website, some vaccine reactions may be as frequent at 1:1,000 to 1:10,000.


Vaccinations have saved the lives of millions of dogs and cats. Before the days of effective vaccines, dogs routinely died from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and complications of upper respiratory infections. Current vaccination programs protect our dogs, cats, and us from the threat of rabies.

Despite the well-known benefits of vaccination, the practice of annual vaccination of mature dogs and cats is a matter of debate. One fact is clear, pets should not be over-vaccinated. Vaccines can be associated with some significant problems and the benefit of the vaccine must outweigh the risk of the vaccine. To determine what vaccines your pet needs, your veterinarian should weight the risk-benefit relationship that is relevant to your pet and based on the most current research and recommendations available.

Until more research is done and better data is collected to definitively determine the needed frequency of vaccinations, choose a veterinarian you trust and ask them what they believe is best for your pet. Regardless, your pet should receive an annual examination by your veterinarian.



The Truth About De-Clawing

Written by Veterinarian, Dr. Christianne Schelling


If you are considering declawing your cat, please read this. It will only take a moment, and it will give you valuable information to help you in your decision.

First, you should know that declawing is pretty much an American thing, it's something people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed "inhumane" and "unnecessary mutilation." I agree. In many European countries it is illegal. I applaud their attitude.

Before you make the decision to declaw your cat, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat's claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat's claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat's "toes". When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat.

No cat lover would doubt that cats--whose senses are much keener than ours--suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly.

Your cat's body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.

I have also had people tell me that their cat's personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.


For more information go to the website:

Chocolate found harmful to canines

In a recent Veterinary Journal, feeding chocolate to dogs was found to cause toxic shock in 24% of the animals.

Tip of the day: How to brush your pet effectively

Start brushing from the bottom, and work your way up. Comb thoroughly after brushing to detect any matting or tangles you may have missed with your brush.

Wags to Whiskers of Texas, Inc.

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Ron McCuen

Director and Foster Coordinator


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