Vaccinations Help Your Pet Live a Long and Healthy Life

Just like babies and young children, your pets need to receive their vaccinations on schedule to develop and grow normally. Without vaccines, it's much easier for them to succumb to serious or deadly diseases like rabies and distemper. While no shot is completely without risk, it's up to you as a pet parent to weigh those risks against the diseases your pet could get by not getting the immunization.

 At Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we are happy to counsel you on the right vaccine strategy for your pet. Because we treat several different species, we know that each animal has unique health needs. We provide your pet with both core and non-core vaccines. The latter type is required by law. It also guards against the spread of a deadly or highly contagious diseases. We make recommendations for non-core vaccines on a case-by-case basis depending on your pet's lifestyle and inherent risk factors.

Canine Vaccinations

Puppies and adult dogs should receive the following core vaccines at specific ages and intervals:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis, which is a bacterial infection spread by contact with wild animals.

You also have the option of getting these non-core vaccines for your dog:

  • Lyme disease
  • Kennel Cough (Bordatella)
  • Canine influenza

Feline Vaccinations

Kittens and adult cats have their own schedule of recommended and optional vaccinations. Core immunizations include:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Feline herpesvirus to protect against a highly contagious upper respiratory disease.
  • Calicivirus, another upper respiratory illness that also causes joint pain, fever, ulcers, and anorexia. feline leukemia
  • Feline leukemia

Non-core cat vaccines include bordetella.

Equine Vaccinations

Your horse should receive the following core vaccinations to guard against equine-specific illnesses:

  • Easter/Western Equine Encephallomyelitis, a virus spread by mosquitoes with a mortality rate as high as 90 percent.
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • West Nile Virus

You may also wish to consider the following non-core vaccines based on your horse's current risk factors:

  • Equine herpesvirus – Remove – not sure if this is still made.
  • Equine influenza
  • Potomac Horse Fever, a condition common in horses that roam in pastures near open waterways.
  • Botulism - Remove
  • Strangles, a highly contagious disease in barns with multiple horses of all different ages. It affects the ability to breathe and swallow normally.

Grantsburg Animal Hospital uses our own vaccination and de-worming schedule to evaluate the specific needs of each individual horse.

We Can Help Keep You on the Right Track with Vaccines

Whether you've just brought home a new pet or you're concerned that you may have missed some of your older animal's vaccinations, we can help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment or to request additional details about our vaccine recommendations.

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Allergies in Pets Are Nothing to Sneeze At

Allergies1While it’s well-known that people can be allergic to various types of animals, pet owners are sometimes surprised to learn their pets can have allergies too. We hope to change that, especially since July is National Allergy Awareness Month. Before you can recognize and treat allergies in your pet, it’s important to know the types of things they are allergic to.

House Mites

The shed skin of people and the dander of animals create microscopic dust mites. At a size of approximately 300 microns, they are impossible to see. In spite of this, house mites are the leading cause of allergies in both people and pets. When your dog or cat inhales them, it can cause respiratory distress and a skin condition called atopic dermatitis.

Fleas and Insects

Fleas require a warm-blooded animal host for survival. They get into your pet’s fur and can make her miserable by causing excessive itching. It’s never too early to start your puppy or kitten on year-round flea protection to prevent this. Insect bites are a more common allergy trigger in horses.


Your pet can develop an allergy if he regularly inhales the pollen from grass, weeds, trees, and plants. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the early spring and fall, so it’s best to keep an animal with allergies inside until there is less pollen in the air. Horses may develop an allergy to hay, so be certain to look for possible indications.

Pet Food

Some dogs and cats are highly sensitive to the ingredients in commercial pet food, especially meat, dairy, corn, soy, wheat, and yeast. If you suspect your pet has a food allergy, our staff can recommend a hypoallergenic or grain-free alternative. Food allergies are less common in horses, but may include grains, grasses, or the additives in supplements and natural feeds.

Common Allergy Symptoms in Dogs, Cats & Horses

Excessive scratching and scooting, which is when your dog or cat scoots on his rear end across the floor, are two of the most common signs of animal allergies. Others include:

  • Offensive odors
  • Infections of the skin
  • Rubbing the ace
  • Flatulence
  • Belching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or an increased number of bowel movements
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Hives
  • Watery eyes
  • Nasal drainage
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

With severe allergies, your pet may scratch so much that she creates bald spots on her skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Before you can treat a pet allergy effectively, you need to know what it is. We recommend scheduling an appointment for testing if symptoms don’t resolve within a few days. Additionally, our parasite prevention and control program can help keep many allergies at bay.  Make an appointment with us today if your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, and Dr. Greg will advise you on the best plan of treatment for your pet.

Photo credit:  Neonci | iStock

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Don't Let Your Pet Become a Heatstroke Statistic This Summer



Imagine if you had a heavy fur coat that you could never take off, even when it was 95 degrees outside. You would feel pretty miserable in a hurry. Now imagine what it’s like for your pet. Not only does he not have the words to express his discomfort, he is completely dependent on you to keep him safe in the summer heat. While prevention is best when it comes to heatstroke, you should know the symptoms to look for as well.

Dogs and Cats Respond Differently to Heat Than Humans Do

When you get too warm, your body automatically starts sweating in response. Dogs and cats don’t have this ability. They pant instead or release heat through the pads on the bottom of their feet. Their bodies automatically use a temperature exchange system known as convection to cool their skin. This means that they exchange the heat from their body for the cooler outdoor air. Heatstroke can occur when the air outside is not significantly cooler than the dog or cat’s own body temperature.

Heatstroke Prevention for Your Pet

Even if your dog loves riding in the car with you, keep her at home when you’re running errands on a hot day. It takes only minutes for the temperature inside of a car to become deadly. Here are some other tips to ensure that your animal friend doesn’t succumb to heatstroke this summer:

  • Make drinking water available at all times
  • Don’t put a muzzle on a dog who is outside in hot weather
  • Make sure that your pet has plenty of shady areas to rest and play
  • Use a damp towel to keep your pet’s body temperature at a normal level
  • Bring your pet inside as much as possible and turn on the fan or air conditioner
  • Consider covering your dog’s paws or avoid burns from the pavement. You may also want to put off walking her until it’s cooler in the evening.

Indications of a Possible Heatstroke

Sometimes pets still suffer from heatstroke, despite receiving good care from their owners. Unfortunately, animal heatstroke has a high fatality rate. That’s why it’s so important to recognize these symptoms:

  • Panting more than usual
  • Lethargy
  • Gums appear pale
  • Tongue appears bright red
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If you notice one or more of these issues, get your dog or cat out of the heat and contact us at Grantsburg Animal Hospital Immediately. Our answering service will page Dr. Greg Palmquist for all after hours emergencies.


Photo credit:  pressdigital | iStock

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Summer Parasite Awareness for Cat, Dog, and Horse Owners

Parasites can be a nuisance for pets and their owners any time of year, but they are especially problematic in the summer months. When you consider that parasites breed more often in warm weather and pets spend more time outdoors, this is easy to understand. Even your indoor pet is not immune from fleas, ticks, and various types of intestinal worms. Because of their microscopic size, these parasites can get into your home on someone's clothing or even through a screen door.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas burrow into carpet and furniture and can survive for a long time without a living host. Since your dog or cat isn't immune to flea infestation during the cold weather months, it's important to provide him with year-round protection.

Ticks can be deadly when they carry Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They are often hard to spot because they are attracted to warm-blooded areas, such as the folds of your pet's ears. During the summer, be sure to check your pet from head to toe anytime she spends time in a wooded area or in thick grass.

Intestinal Worms

Heartworms, hookworms, and ringworms are the most prevalent types of intestinal worms to affect dogs and cats. Symptoms of infestation may include lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Untreated cases of heartworm can kill a dog or cat when they become lodged in the lungs and prevent normal breathing. They are also capable blocking regular blood flow to the heart.

The best way to prevent these parasites from infecting your pet is to administer monthly medication. It's easy to order heartworm pills, flea and tick powders, and several other types of medication directly from our online store. 

Parasites Affecting Horses

The same parasites that threaten the health of dogs and cats are also a risk for horses. Because of their large size, horses attract additional parasites such as pinworms, tapeworms, and stomach bots. It's typically more of a challenge to keep horses free of parasites than smaller animals. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we publish a vaccination and de-worming schedule for horses every spring. Our equine specialists are happy to work with you to develop a parasite prevention plan for the summer.

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