Apr 09

Should I Vaccinate My Dog for Leptospirosis?

From the Clinic of Dr. Marc Smith…

Thank you for choosing us to help with your pet care needs!

We have been receiving many calls and questions about Leptospirosis lately because of the change in temperature to warm, humid spring weather and the mention of leptospirosis in the media lately.

It is my opinion that many house dogs don’t need the leptospirosis vaccination, but please review the following information and decide what is best for your dog’s individual lifestyle.

A Question for the Doctor:

Should I Vaccinate My Dog for Leptospirosis?

I have a n 8 year old mixed breed house dog. I have heard a lot of rumors on the news that lepto is a new and potentially deadly illness and there is a vaccine for lepto. Can u please explain? Thank you!

Kimberley Waskofski

Dr. Smith’s Reply:

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic and often fatal disease in dogs. Recently the news has reported that there have been a string of leptospirosis cases in dogs. Leptospirosis survives in a warm and humid climate. This makes the Tennessee area a good source for leptospirosis infection but it is rare that is a huge cause for concern.

Owners and those that handle animals must be aware that leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease or is transmissible from animals to humans. This is also true for anyone of the general population that may come into contact with wildlife urine or stagnant water that could be contaminated. Many of our clients have called with concerns about whether to vaccinate their pets for leptospirosis or not.

The risk factors to your pet contracting this disease are as follows:

*  Exposure to wildlife or the urine of wildlife

*  Stagnant water like ponds or areas that hold water and water runoff    after heavy rains

*  Rodent infestation as rats are carriers of leptospirosis

Common house dogs do not need to be concerned the risk of leptospirosis infection if the above criteria are not part of their environment.

The signs of leptospirosis in dogs are listed below for owners that are concerned about the disease:

*  Signs occur 4-12 days after exposure

*  The liver and kidneys are affected and infected animals can shed lepto in the urine for a year after treatment

*  Fever is the first symptom
*  Weakness
*  Joint or muscle pain
*  Decreased appetite
*  Frequent urination that may contain blood
*  Diarrhea
*  Yellowing of the mucous membranes

Leptospirosis is treatable with antibiotics but best that your pet be hospitalized with intravenous fluids and quarantined to prevent the spread of infection through contact of infected urine.

The risk of vaccinating your pet for leptospirosis is far greater than them actually becoming infected with the disease. There have been numerous reports of anaphylactic shock and death with the administration of the vaccine in pets. This is the main reason most veterinarians do not recommend the vaccine as the incidence of actual cases of leptospirosis in pets is minimal compared to other illnesses.

K9 Contenders Vet - Marc Smith DVM

Mar 26

Canine Physical Therapy Balance Work :

Canine physical therapy balance work is a good all over strengthening and conditioning for the entire body. Balance work is very beneficial for the core and back muscles to aid in stabilizing the body, making walking much easier.

Balance work can include the front limbs, the rear limbs or all four limbs together. Balance work using on the front limbs shifts the canines weight to the rear limbs working the quadriceps muscles and hamstrings and promoting weight bearing of the rear limbs.

This improves function, strength of the rear limbs and coordination of the front limbs. In addition, balance work using only the rear limbs shifts the weight to the front limbs and encourages weight bearing of the front limbs, thus increasing stability, weight bearing and strength in the front limbs and balance and coordination in the rear limbs.

Balance work can be good for conditions that are neurologic to help preserve memory of the nerves sharp and responsive and slow the progression of the nerve degeneration. Balance work is also beneficial in strengthening the limbs post surgically and encouraging weight bearing of a limb or regaining balance and coordination after a spinal surgical procedure.

Objects to use in balance work with your pet can be anything from a trampoline, old furniture cushions, a baby crib mattress or an air mattress not fully inflated. The best way to perform the exercise is to go slow and have patience as your pet adjust to the uneven surface.

Gently place their paws on he surface and encourage them to balance in position. Your pet will better respond to balance work with lots of positive praise and treats. The balance work repetitions should be short in duration in the beginning with 5-10 repetitions once or twice daily and working up to 10 to 15 repetitions.

You can also walk your pet across the unstable surface for extra balance work 1-2 passes for 2 minutes working up to more passes or a longer duration. Also, once your pet is on the unstable surface, gently test and challenge their balance by slightly pushing the hips or shoulders side to side.


Mar 19


K9 Contenders VIP member: Ashley Bloodworth 
1. Puppy Proof your home:
Move or remove poisonous plants.
Look at things from the puppy “point of view” and remove any hazardous items.
Watch out for hanging or loose electric cords (NOT for chewing on)!
Make sure your children’s toys are picked up and give your puppy it’s own toys to play with. He or she won’t know the difference.
2. Supplies you will need:
Its best to buy these in advance as there are certain things your puppy will need from day one:
I highly recommend keeping your puppy (at least initially) on the same food he or she is on when you bring them home. If it is one of “My Awesome Pups,” they will be on Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Formula. Whatever you feed or decide to switch to, make sure it’s a premium food not a supermarket brand.
Containment and Toys:
I always recommend a Crate! Crates give you the ability to control the environment and prevent unwanted mistakes.
Safe, Appropriate Toys to chew on: 
If it fits in the puppies mouth easily and comfortably, its to small.
A puppy or baby gate: 
Depending on where you decide to keep your puppy.
3. Feeding:
Be Consistent - Feed your puppy at the same time EVERY day. A schedule is critical and will help! New puppies need to be fed 3 times a day and must always have FRESH drinking water.
DO NOT OVERFEED - Follow the guidelines on the bag and increase the amount of food accordingly as your puppy gets older and grows. Overfeeding can cause diarrhea.
Try to make the transition EASY FOR THE PUPPY! 
The first few days:
Decide on a name and use it consistently so the puppy learns it.
Limit visitors the first few days.
Keep your puppy in your site at all times, for safety and to establish correct behavior.
Never disturb a sleeping puppy, they need it.
Teach children how to hold a puppy properly, holding one hand under the hind quarters and one under the chest.
Do not leave a puppy unattended with children or other family pets until your SURE everyone is ready.
By Ashley Bloodworth, Ashland Kennel Fort Valley Georgia

Mar 03

How to Train a Bird Dog for Shed Hunting -

Feb 25

Top Notch Golden Puppies

Health and longevity are the key goals behind this breeding. Both Ranger and Lucky come from strong, healthy, long-lived pedigrees.

The next important characteristic in the litter is natural hunting ability. Sire and Dam have extraordinary marking abilities, are highly trainable and hard working in the field, yet they are immediately able to switch into the “companion” mode when not at work. Their puppies will be athletic, agile, intelligent and structurally true to the breed standards.

Both Sire and Dam are Clear for Prcd-PRA, PRA1, and Ichthyosis and have normal eye, heart, hip, elbow and thyroid clearances.

The Litter

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Jan 14


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