Be sure to thank a vet tech

Pete Keesling

This is Veterinary Technician Week, when we take a moment to
recognize the tremendous role techs have in the day-to-day
operations of veterinary hospitals and clinics. Vet techs are
invaluable. Whether it be taking radiographs or putting in an
intravenous catheter, monitoring anesthesia or soothing a
pet-owner’s nerves, technicians play a huge part in the treatment
of every patient brought to the clinic.
This is Veterinary Technician Week, when we take a moment to recognize the tremendous role techs have in the day-to-day operations of veterinary hospitals and clinics. Vet techs are invaluable. Whether it be taking radiographs or putting in an intravenous catheter, monitoring anesthesia or soothing a pet-owner’s nerves, technicians play a huge part in the treatment of every patient brought to the clinic. So here’s to the men and women that are such an important part of a veterinarian’s team. You help make this one of the world’s most noble professions!

Q:

Our neighbor has a chihuahua who just had a litter of puppies. She once told me that she didn’t believe in vaccines, so her dog never had any. Now one of the pups has parvovirus. Will all the rest of the litter fall ill? Our dogs are vaccinated, but I worry that they might get sick because we live so close.

A:

Parvovirus is a serious, potentially fatal intestinal disease that is very contagious. It’s transmitted when an infected dog passes the virus in its stool or vomitus. When another dog steps on contaminated ground, then licks its foot, it ingests large numbers of these virus particles. Flies and even birds can also transmit this disease to other dogs.

The good news is that vaccination is nearly 100 percent effective in preventing parvo. Still, I’m forever surprised at the large number of people that don’t vaccinate their dogs to protect them. In the past month, I’ve heard of seven different local cases of parvovirus infection. All could have been avoided if these dogs had been properly vaccinated. Compared to vet bills for treating a sick puppy, vaccines are inexpensive protection.

The rest of your neighbor’s litter will likely end up very sick. And depending on their age, they may or may not survive. However, your dogs will be fine, provided they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations. Check with your vet to be sure they don’t need a booster.

Q:

My dog, Jasper, is a true mongrel. He looks like a one-of-a-kind, and probably is a mix of four or five different breeds. I’ve always wanted to know his background. Is he from nobility, like a cavalier King Charles spaniel? Or did he come from the trenches, like a varmint-hunting cairn terrier? Is there a DNA test that can help me find out his heritage?

A:

You bet! Actually, there are several different home test kits available from different providers. You can Google “dog dna tests” and find a list of different tests. Look to see who has the largest breed “pool” in their database. And once you find out more about Jasper, please send me a picture along with the results of his test. We’d like to see the results!

Q:

By the way, Jasper is a great runner. And he’s really smart. What breed is the fastest on its feet? Which is supposed to be the most intelligent?

A:

I guess it all depends on whether you’re talking speed or quickness. Some of the small breeds are extremely quick on their feet, making them good hunters for mice and other rodents. But when it comes to actual speed, the greyhound wins the race hands down. At 45 mph, this breed outraces even its nearest competitor, the whippet, who can “only” reach speeds of 40 mph.

Who’s the smartest? That’s very debateable. Experts will tell you that border collies, poodles and shepherds are tops on their list. But how can we measure a dog’s IQ anyway? Are dogs that quickly learn commands the smartest? I’m not so sure. My favorite breed (English bulldogs) rank among the lowest. But bullies aren’t dumb, stupid or otherwise. No, they’re just a little more stubborn and insist on doing things their own way. I’ve always thought of my bulldogs as though they were teenagers; I had to outsmart them. Were they obstinate? Yes … and very intelligent.

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