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I’m sure that you all have noticed that our ‘normal’ Montana winter weather has been anything but that.

Where is January at?!

It’s been much warmer than usual, and we’ve had more rain than snow. Since there is more moisture during this time of year, it is creating the perfect environment for ‘kennel cough’ (Bordetella) to survive in the environment longer and become more prevalent than normal. This is one reason why it is more common to have outbreaks in the Spring and Fall months.

Bordetella is spread via airborne transmission (cough or sneeze), and by direct dog/dog contact and is highly contagious. The incubation period is 2 to 14 days, so that means once a dog is exposed it can take that long to show signs. A dog may cough for several days or up to two weeks. We advise people to keep their pet isolated from other dogs for a week after coughing has stopped.

We recommend vaccinating your dog based on his or her level of risk for contracting Bordetella

Does your dog go to doggy daycare or a boarding facility?

Does your dog go to the groomer?

Do you take your dog to the park?

Do you have dogs on the other side of your fenced yard?

Does your dog spend any time with other dogs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your dog should be vaccinated

We use the oral (in the mouth) Bordetella vaccine which provides the most rapid protection.

“This allows local immunity to develop on the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and windpipe where the infectious agents first attack” – Life & Learn ‘Kennel Cough or Tracheobronchitis in Dogs’

Dogs should be vaccinated at least a week or two prior to boarding. It takes several days for their body to respond to the vaccine and prime their immune system

You can visit the Life & Learn website to read more about ‘kennel cough’ (Bordetella) by clicking the link on our website.

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You can also click HERE for another helpful article

If you are bringing your dog in for an appointment and they are coughing, please leave them in the car. You can either come inside without your pet or call our receptionists to let them know you are here for an appointment. Since it is highly contagious, exams should be done outside or in an isolated area in the clinic.

We are proud to now offer Class IV Laser Therapy as a treatment option!

Laser therapy provides a non-invasive, pain-free, nonsurgical and medication-free treatment that is used for a variety of conditions. Laser therapy can be performed in conjunction with existing treatment protocols and medications. Relief from discomfort and/or motor improvement is often noticed within minutes to hours depending on the condition and your pet’s response. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, or simply aging, your companion can benefit from this innovative approach to treating pain and promoting healing.

Watch Companion Animal Health‘s client video below!


Applications for Laser Therapy Include:

• Treatment of arthritis, pain and inflammation
• Sprains, strains, and fractures
• Post-surgical healing & pain relief (includes spays and neuters)
• Wounds, cuts, and bites
• Skin problems (hot spots, lick granulomas, infections)
• Dental extraction pain relief
• Ear infections

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

The laser light is administered through a non-invasive handpiece to the body for about 3 to 8 minutes per affected area and absorbed by the injured cells. The cells are then stimulated and respond with a higher rate of metabolism. This causes an in increase in blood circulation, reduced inflammation relieving pain, and an acceleration of the healing process.

Watch this video to see how therapy laser helps stimulate recovery on a cellular level.

What Can My Pet Expect During a Laser Therapy Treatment Session?

As the laser is administered, your pet may feel relaxed and enjoy the treatment. The warmth of the laser will allow your pet to start to become more comfortable. Some treatments are performed with a roller ball or a non-contact attachment.

In conjunction with our pheromone diffusers in the exam room, any anxiety that your pet initially experiences will quickly dissipate. We also encourage you to be present with your pet during the treatment session to help them to relax. But there are options to drop your pet off while you run errands if needed.

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Quigley falling asleep while assistant Morgan is performing a laser therapy treatment

Occasionally, unhappy cats will start to purr, and canine companions will actually fall asleep during their therapy sessions.

*   *   *

Frequently after therapy we hear, “He’s acting like a puppy again” or, “She can actually jump onto the chair again.” Pain relief is provided in just a few minutes of therapy and that alone improves the quality of life for your companion. Our clients tend to notice that the treatments tend to last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

What are the Costs?

Treatment protocols are unique to each patient and condition. Therefore, treatments will vary in time and complexity. We offer single sessions and package pricing.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for your pet or obtain additional information about pricing!

MDOL still investigating cause of canine respiratory outbreak, does not believe it is influenza

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We have received many phone calls with questions regarding the current canine upper respiratory outbreak in the Gallatin Valley.  To better serve our clientele, we would like to provide some educational information and the latest update from the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL).

Should I be concerned about where I can take my dog?

We are taking every precautionary measure to ensure that our hospital stays clean and sanitary to minimize the risk of transferring infectious diseases as are many of the other veterinary clinics in the valley.  If a dog is coughing or showing upper respiratory symptoms, our policy is to do those examinations outside and as far away from the building as possible.  We ask that owners leave their dogs in the car and not enter the building.  The disinfectant that we use kills bacteria and viruses.  We have not appreciated any patient contamination thus far.

Our staff members are recommending to call grooming and boarding facilities before taking your pooch there if you have concerns.  Many have been affected around the valley and have disinfection protocols set in place.  We do not know their current status, which is why we recommend calling first.  Please don’t be discouraged to visit these places, just be sure to call first.  However, we are still advising to avoid dog parks or other heavily canine populated areas until things calm down.

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Should I vaccinate my dog for the canine flu?

We believe that it is prudent to protect against everything that we can.  We carry the two strain combined canine flu vaccine.  It still may not give your canine companion full immunity to this upper respiratory ‘bug’ moving through the valley.  Still, if you like to visit dog parks, take your pooch to a boarding facility or the groomer, it could be recommended.

If your dog has not had this vaccine before, it will be a two-part series, and then an annual after that.  Just like when they were a puppy, the vaccine needs to be given again in 3 to 4 weeks to stimulate the immune response.  In general, the normal immune response to vaccines takes approximately two weeks to work.  However, we cannot guarantee when full immunity will take effect since every animal is different.

Can I give the vaccine myself?

We recommend bringing your dog into the clinic to have either one of our Veterinarian’s or Technician’s administer the vaccine.  If we have seen your dog in the last two to three months, we will waive the exam fee and it can be made as a Technician appointment.  This policy is in place to protect the health of your canine companion.  We want to be sure your dog is healthy before giving them a new vaccine.

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Here is the latest update on the canine upper respiratory outbreak situation:

“Over the past month, MDOL (Montana Department of Livestock) has received numerous calls from veterinarians regarding a surge in severe respiratory cases in dogs in Bozeman, Livingston, and Billings.  Reports to our office indicate that it is most severe in young animals and that previous vaccination for kennel cough does not seem to be protective.  Testing done has included respiratory panels through commercial laboratories as well as post mortem examination and testing at the MVDL (Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory).  All PCR testing has been negative for canine influenza.  We have received a few reports with positive Mycoplasma results.

Tuesday, it was reported that canine influenza has been diagnosed in animals in Gallatin County.  At this time, MDOL has not seen confirmatory testing that definitively supports canine influenza as the case of this respiratory outbreak.  Results provided to our office show acute titers consistent with the acute phase of infection, but not confirmatory for canine influenza.”

Quoted; August 10, 2017 from Marty Zaluski DVM, State Veterinarian, Montana Department of Livestock

UPDATE: August 11, 2017 – Official statement made by the MDOL State Veterinarian

UPDATE: August 11, 2017 – Billings Gazette article

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Currently, we are working in conjunction with the Elanco vaccine company to offer free testing for any canine patient exhibiting upper respiratory symptoms and are up to date with their Bordetella vaccine.  At this time, we would also like to note that we have not seen any confirmed deaths at our practice as a results of this respiratory ‘bug.’  We are all concerned and working vigilantly to find out the root cause of this respiratory epidemic.

Other resources:

Heartworms in Gallatin County…

Can you believe Spring is almost over?  Where has the time gone?!  That being said, it’s time to start thinking about heartworm prevention, but you may be asking yourself, “Is it really a problem to be concerned with in our area?”

The answer is yes!  Let’s first start with some fun and interesting facts about heartworms:

1.  Heartworms live for a long time

Did you know that it takes about six months for the larvae to fully mature?

The test that we carry is called an antigen test, which only detects adult heartworms.

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2. Cats can get heartworms too

They are called ‘atypical’ hosts, but that doesn’t mean that they are not susceptible to them.
Most larvae do not reach the adult stage in cats due to their small heart size.  The top four symptoms to watch for in cats are:

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1. Stumbling
2. Fainting
3. Seizure activity
4. Fluid in the abdomen    

There is no treatment available for cats.  Usually by the time the symptoms are seen, it is usually too late.

3. They live in other species too

Here is a fun fact for you…
Did you know they can live in Ferrets and Sea Lions?

4. They have been diagnosed in ALL 50 states

The American Heartworm Society updates an incident map for the United States every three years.  Click here to view the 2016 map.

The life cycle of the larvae is very dependent on temperature.  That is why you generally see higher numbers in the states that have a warmer humid climate.  Prevention is very effective.  It is rare that it doesn’t work.

The American Heartworm Society recommends testing yearly and giving prevention monthly.  For more information, click here for resources, tools, and videos.

We recently had a dog come up positive during routine testing.  He had spent his entire life in Montana.  There has also been mention from other clinics in our area with other positive heartworm dogs since the beginning of this year.

Heartworm Home Staging in Bozeman, MT

5. Testing is VERY important

It’s the second-best thing to giving your pet monthly heartworm prevention.  It could save their life!

Make an appointment today and take advantage of the $5 off manufacturer coupon!

Did you hear what the Groundhog predicted this year?  He saw his shadow, and we all know what that means.  We are in for more of this winter weather!

While you are out there playing around in that white fluffy snow, here are some tips to keep your furry companion at optimal level to enjoy it with you!

1. Trim Hair Between Pads

Long hair between the toes of your dog’s feet can collect snow and salt on walks around the neighborhood or hikes up in the hills. Be sure to keep that long hair trimmed short by bringing your dog to the groomer or by clipping at home. We recommend ultra quiet baby clippers from Vijan to get in-between the toes and around the pads. You can also using grooming scissors to keep the hair between the toes short, but exercise caution to avoid cutting the sensitive skin on your dog’s feet. While keeping the hair on your dog’s feet is important in the winter, never clip your dog’s coat short if they will be outside for any extended period of time. This will drastically decrease their insulating abilities and could create dangerous drops in body temperature.

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2. Wiping Off At Home

After enjoying your outdoor adventures, be sure to wipe off your dog’s feet and belly with a towel. This will remove any salt or other de-icer your pooch picked up on the walk, as well as any chemicals, such as antifreeze, that might be on the road. For long walks, consider bringing a towel with you to help remove snow build-up or salt as you go. To best protect your dog’s feet from de-icing agents, keep off of dry sidewalks and roads if possible. Consider switching to a pet-friendly de-icer, such as Safe Paw Ice Melt to provide a non-toxic substitute ice remover for your home or business.

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3. Protecting Paws and Pads

Before going outside, a wax can be applied to your dog’s pads to create a layer of protection from ice, rocks and rough ground. We recommend Bag Balm and Musher’s Secret to protect your dog’s feet this winter. These products do wear off as your dog runs around, so they should be re-applied during long hikes and before each walk. For a less messy and surefire way to protect your dog’s feet from the elements, booties can be worn while outside. We recommend Ruffwear Boots to provide a heavy duty, breathable barrier to protect your dog’s feet.

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4. Treating Cracked or Dry Pads

Be sure to inspect your dog’s feet after each walk for any ice balls, irritated skin, or cracked pads. If you notice dryness or cracking of your dog’s pads, you can apply coconut oil or Bag Balm to help moisturize and heal the pads. Drastic changes in temperature and humidity that comes from going outside and inside in the winter can dry out your dog’s skin and pads.  Adding a humidifier to the house can help keep the pads and skin of your dog moisturized and healthy. Running on rough surfaces can also cause toe nails to split and bleed. Products such as Kwik Stop or corn starch can help to stop any small bleeds, making sure your pup is ready for the next big adventure.

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Phew, now give yourself a high-five!  Stay safe and warm out there!

Share pictures of your snow filled adventures with your pet on our Facebook page!

Have any of you heard about Fear Free?  Perhaps you read something briefly about it in an e-mail that we sent out.  Maybe you were in recently for an exam with your pet and it was mentioned by one of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians.  If you haven’t heard about it, we are bursting at the seams to tell you about it!

Fear Free was developed by Dr. Marty Becker.  He has been working with a team of leading board certified veterinary experts for about the last six years creating what the veterinary community is now calling, “The Fear Free Movement.”

“Take the pet out of petrified”

–  Dr. Marty Becker

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A recent publishing by The Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study stated that:

Would you agree with those statistics?  Where do you fall?

These numbers bring one question to mind, what can we do at Hardaway Veterinary Hospital to change that?  For starters, making our hospital a more pet centered practice!  Are you familiar with our slogan?

“From our family to yours, we will treat you like you’re part of the family”

If you and your pet don’t feel comfortable, then that means less well check visits for your furry companion.  That can leave a doorway open for disease to sneak its way in undetected.  We want to help keep your pet healthy and live a long life to the fullest at your side!  Our slogan says it all!  We care deeply about your pets as if they were our own.

The next coming blogs will be a series focused all on Fear Free!

We are very excited to be a part of this movement.  We can’t wait to share more about it with you!

Crystal Sharp CVT

We are pleased to announce the addition of veterinary chiropractic services to our practice!

Dr. Tami Parrott has completed 210 hours of postgraduate training in animal chiropractic at the Options for Animals program in Wellsville, Kansas.

This training has included extensive lecture and practical hands-on training in the chiropractic care of horses and dogs. In addition, Dr. Parrott has successfully completed rigorous practical and clinical competency exams, thus earning certification in Veterinary Chiropractic by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA).

Please call the clinic to talk with Dr. Parrott regarding the benefits of chiropractic care for your dog or horse!

Call the Vets your Pets would choose!

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