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I think this is a really good subject. Just like people, dogs are much better off preventing rather than treating....... and early diagnosis is always better than late.

My routine:

Regular snoot to tail examination with hands and nose.

Sniff in ears and mouth and run hands over everything looking for sores, bumps, cuts, infection, inflammation.

Look inside ears to catch any inflammation or debris early, and you won't be stunned by a full-blown infection.

Palpate the abdomen when the dog has had a recent vet exam and familiarize yourself with how it feels, and then you will be likely to catch enlarged spleen, liver, etc. (or maybe a tumor), early on.

Use heartworm prevention.

If you feed kibble or canned, maybe you can manage the dental cleaning by someone who specializes in doing it without anesthesia. It is definitely not anywhere near as thorough as the anesthesia deal, but the cost and the potential for serious problems are much lower and you can probably lengthen the time between regular cleanings. It can help a lot to maintain mouth health, IMO. One way or another, it's important to maintain mouth health.

Bad dental and gum health can affect overall health (with inflammation and/or infection). Brushing is very good! Even if you start with two or three teeth and take 8 weeks before the dog accepts it willingly, I believe it's one of the best things you can do after excellent food and plenty of exercise.

I also think that even occasional brushing with those little finger brushes and some chicken- or liver-flavor paste is a lot better than never.

Give fish oil, no matter what the dog's diet is. (MHO!)

Ask your vet about glucosamine for any senior dog.

I hope others will have suggestions, too! :D

(This is all JMO. :wink: )
 

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Does anybody give their own vaccines (with the exception of rabies or other prescription only vax)? What do the breeders on this forum do to cut down on costs for puppy health checks and vaccines?

What about inexpensive sources for heartworm prevention? For Frontline?
 

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I do my own vaccines(except for rabies), heartworm preventative (ivermectin), deworming (various - depending on what I am targeting) and do a fair bit of minor dings, scrapes, hotspots if needed. I do all my own foot care on the dogs. I don't do Frontline as fleas are not a problem here but do check for and treat external parasites as needed. I do bathing and grooming on the dogs, also. I try and do as much maintenance myself so I can apply the money to more serious vet costs when I really need it, so like Connie says - a good once over can catch alot of stuff early.
 

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I buy the Frontline for the biggest dogs and divvy it up between the three of them. That's also helpful if I have a foster who has a bunch of ticks or something but I don't want to spend a ton out of my pocket to treat. There was a discussion on another board I'm on that talked about how to divide up the Frontline if you buy the biggest dose. I might have to dig that up. According to my vet, you can't do the same thing with Heartgard since the chemical is not equally distributed in the "treat." My vet usually doesn't mind if I bring two dogs to an exam if I ask a real quick question about the other. Also gets them used to just being there without being poked or prodded.
 

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I don't know about Frontline, (I personally use a Preventix collar on my dogs through the whole tick season, and since my dogs don't go in the water much, Advantage is much more effective for them) but for Advantage, the dosage is
0.4 mL for dogs 2-10 lb.
1.0 mL for dogs 11-20 lb.
2.5 mL for dogs 21-55 lb.
and 4.0 mL for dogs 55 up.
You can also use it on cats - 0.4 mL for cats under 9 lbs, 0.8 for cats over 9 lbs.

I can do both of my small dogs and my cat with one large tube. Really easy, and a luerlock syringe attaches right on the tube, so it isn't messy.

I do my own vaccines - except for rabies, of course. I do recommend that anyone purchasing vaccines for their own pets be very careful about where they get them. Vaccines have to be kept cool, and some feed stores, etc. will leave them in the box for a very long time - I have even seen them stored on a shelf - and just because they look like they're being cooled now, that isn't a guarantee that the numbnut teenager that works in stocking didn't leave the box in the corner for three or four days before they put them on the shelf :D Best way to get them is either from a local pharmacy or online.

As far as dental care, I like the fingerbrush things, but the very best things to do are 1) use those little dental wipes, much easier and cleaner, and 2) get Oravet from your vet's office. It works really, really well.

For heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm prevention, you can use a 1%ivermectin solution once monthly. (Ivomec is the most common brand name, but you can generally find a cheaper generic.) Give .10 cc for every 10 lbs. of body weight. (Don't do this if you have a breed known for ivermectin sensitivity, but if you have a dog that's been on Heartgard already, it'll be fine.) You still need to perform a yearly antigen test to make sure the dog is HW neg, just like you would if you were using the pills.
 

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A lot of the folks at club get their ivermectin from the local feed stores.
It's tons cheaper then buying heartguard.
 

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I did Gypsy's vaccines myself, but I got Jak and Jessie at 5 months of age, so they already had theirs. For rabies shots I wait until the Humane Society offers their $5 shot clinics.

I also buy Frontline for the largest dogs and divvy it out. I think the dosage is 0.67mL per 20 pounds of dog.

I use 1% ivermectin for heartworm prevention, but there are disagreements as to the correct dosage. 0.1 mL per 10 pounds is probably the most commonly given dosage, as Amber said, but some vets have said that even that amount is too much, and have said that the amount of ivermectin in the heartworm pills is closer to 0.01 mL per 10 pounds. It's always best to talk to your vet before using something that isn't labeled as being for dogs or cats.
 

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I have used Ivemec for many 35 years with excellent success. Once I put them on it they have never had worms of any kind. I use 1 cc per 100 lbs. Always make sure they do not have heartworms before you start. I knew a man that gave all his dogs a treatment of Ivemec and did not have them checked. His oldest dog died before the next morning.
 

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I think the regular nose-to-tail look over once a month is the probably the best way to head things off before they become a big deal. I do my own vaccines except for rabies, but what another poster said about feed-store vaccines is very true. You never know if they have been properly refrigerated from manufacture to delivery and that is very important. Make sure your vaccine source is scrupulous about refrigeration. My vet has complained to me that I never bring him anything easy. That's because all the "easy" stuff I handle myself! In my doggy medicine cabinet I keep ear cleaning/drying wash (which I use after every swim), eye ointment (without steroids), ear antibiotic ointment, Neo-predef powder (my absolute favorite skin irritation/hot spot medication), some Nolvasan liquid for washing scrapes, stypic powder, gauze pads for bandaging, a couple of suture needles for little cuts, Vet-bond wound glue and of course, Vet-Wrap!
 

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Ivermectin can be used at different dosage rates as a filaricide(heartworm filaria), ectoparsiticide(round, hook, whip) and miticide(mange mites, scabies, ear mites), so if you are using ivermectin make sure you are using it at the correct doseage and schedule for what you are trying to eliminate.

a good thread on de wormers that is worth reading thru is
http://www.sleddogcentral.com/forum/pop_printer_friendly.asp?TOPIC_ID=5189
 

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Kristen Cabe said:
I use 1% ivermectin for heartworm prevention, but there are disagreements as to the correct dosage. 0.1 mL per 10 pounds is probably the most commonly given dosage, as Amber said, but some vets have said that even that amount is too much, and have said that the amount of ivermectin in the heartworm pills is closer to 0.01 mL per 10 pounds. It's always best to talk to your vet before using something that isn't labeled as being for dogs or cats.
As long as the dog does not already have heartworms, the dosage is really not too much of an issue for the most part although most vets will advise not to use it at all because of the dangers (unless you pay a fortune and get it from them personally). We've had several dogs come through rescue that our rescue vet has had us treat with Ivermectin for Demodex Mange...the dosages that the dogs get daily for this is extreme compared to the regular once a month dosage. One of the last dogs I fostered (choco. lab, approx. 100 pounds) who needed Ivermectin for mange was given 2 cc's every day for about 3 months. After dosing him, I was no longer worried over giving my personal dogs .1 cc -vs- .3cc's -vs- .5 cc's...but for the record, I give my guys .5 cc's once a month.
 

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Tammy, yes, you are right that the dosage for treating demodex is significantly higher than the dosage for deworming and heartworm prevention. I had to use ivermectin to treat Gypsy's demodex when she was a puppy, and that's actually when I found out I could just continue to use it for heartworm prevention too.
The difference is, though, that when treating demodex, you aren't giving those high doses for the dog's whole life. High doses over a long period of time can cause serious problems (one of which is sterility). I can post more info about this later if anyone's interested.

IMO it's best to use the smallest amount of chemicals that you can to control whatever problem you're trying to control. Why subject the dog's system to a large dose when a smaller dose will work just as well?
 
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