Pet Talk

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Dr Ann ChauvetDoes my pet need all the vaccinations? Can I skip some?

Like children, pets need the protection from the big bad world. It is most important to vaccinate early in life when the development of the immune system is most active. Rabies, by law, cannot be omitted. You may choose to skip some of the other vaccines later in your pet’s life. It is a good idea to discuss this option with your vet however, as some breeds need more protection than others and skipping on vaccinations is not recommended. Location can also determine the necessity of certain vaccines, so ask your vet for the list of shots required in your area.

My dog gained a lot of weight in a short period of time with no apparent reason such as diet or exercise change. Could this indicate an illness?

Yes, it could. Endocrine problems, such as low thyroid levels, can be the cause of a sudden weight gain. Digestive system problems as well as old age can also be the cause. Either way, check with your vet, as treatment and /or change of diet might be necessary.

I just moved to Florida from upstate New York. My pets (cats and dogs) love the outdoors – are there any potential risks for them if I let them run loose in the yard?

Florida – the land of the exotic and this exotic land includes venomous snakes, such as rattlers and coral snakes. Certain plants, such as very popular Sago Palms (Miniature Palm Trees),are highly toxic and can cause liver failure and death if ingested. If you live in the countryside, watch for boars and other wild animals. In the city, the worse things your pet will most likely encounter are red ants, bees and wasps. And let’s not forget about the ever-present Florida heat. Animals, particularly dogs, can suffer a Heat Stroke – a life threatening condition, which requires immediate medical care, so don’t let your animals out during the hottest part of the day. Also, always provide shade and plenty of water.

My cat is scheduled for his first chemo treatment to fight lymphoma. Is it really effective? What’s the success rate?

Yes, it is effective and let me share my Edward’s story with you. Edward has lymphoma and is healthier ten months into his treatment with Dr. Dawn Martin than he has been in years. He is very active and at this point has had no relapses. Chances are he has a few more months, if not years, to share with me. I highly recommend following through. Some factors need to be considered however: how advanced the disease is, where it is, and what drug is used. Let us know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Chauvet earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon,Canada,and is known internationally for her specialized work in the relatively rare field of veterinary neurology speaking to, training, and consulting with veterinary practices and organizations globally.  If you have a question about your pet, please email your question to  Each month, Dr. Chauvet will choose a few questions to share with readers.  She regrets that unpublished questions cannot be answered individually.

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