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Preemptive Strike

A preemptive strike is a military term that means to disarm your opponent before he can launch an attack. In so doing, a large scale war with resulting mass casualties may be averted. The same principle would apply with infectious disease. Curing disease is good, but preventing disease is even better.

Viral disease, nature's nuclear weapon, can indeed inflict mass casualties on the human and animal populations of the world. In terms of the pet population, viral disease is largely preventable through immunizations, but the huge population of animals residing in shelters and humane societies awaiting adoption do not have this protection. Most are young animals who have never been vaccinated. Therefore, shelters are fertile breeding grounds for viruses. Consider how children in a crowded daycare easily transmit cold viruses from one to another. The same principle applies.

The sad truth is that most animals in shelters will never get adopted. The major emphasis of this article is preserving the lives of the animals already adopted. We can assume all animals coming from a shelter have been exposed to viruses. Though they may all look healthy on the day they are adopted, some will break with serious illness in the first 3 weeks after adoption. The question we should ask is, “Is there anything that can be done for the animal that may be incubating a serious illness while showing only mild symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing, or no symptoms at all?” Stated another way, “Do we have to wait for an animal to manifest a lethal illness or can we take steps to prevent it?”

I believe the answer is, “Yes, we can stop the illness in the early stages before serious damage is done.” The time for the preemptive strike is the first 3 weeks after the pet is adopted, as this is when they are most vulnerable. If an incubating virus is halted during this 3 week window, the pet's future is bright, since vaccinations will then have time to be effective.

This is surprisingly easy to accomplish. At Plano Animal Clinic, we've done this many times with great success. I believe strongly that people should adopt pets from shelters, and I believe equally that their young lives need to be protected. What can we do for these little guys who begin coughing or sneezing a few days after being adopted? Quite simply, we use a short course of antibiotics to treat any bacterial complication and a short course of antivirals (see “The Virus ‘Cure'?”) to halt the virus. Even in an illness as common as kennel cough, 3 different bacteria and 8 different viruses can be involved. In the early stages, kennel cough is indistinguishable from the significantly more lethal canine distemper virus.

The goal is not to identify the virus, but to stop it in its tracks. It doesn't matter which viruses are involved. Stop the virus and save the patient. There is no telling how many thousands of lives could be saved if such protocols were adopted on a broad scale.

If you have recently adopted a puppy or kitten from an animal shelter, call us. Coughing, sneezing, or runny stools can be early warning signs of serious illness. Don't wait to find out if he's “really sick.” The time for a preemptive strike is now!

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Plano Animal Clinic

3205 Alma, Ste 415
Plano, TX 75075

Phone: (972) 422-5116

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The treatment methods that have been the most beneficial for our patients over the past few years include: Immune modulation, VOM spinal adjustments, Cold LASER therapy & LED acupuncture.

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