Vaccines for Weens

The latest report on your favorite wiener’s health

It’s another FitDog Friday. In past posts we’ve talked about diet, training, and exercise. Today we’re going to explore another critical piece: checking in with your vet!

Gilligan went to his veterinary specialist this week, a visit which included both his Mama and his Papa first the first time since he was re-homed early in 2014. During the last trip, in the spring, Gilly didn’t have the greatest time there, so this time he was a bit apprehensive… it might be safe to say that Weens is not a huge fan of making visits to the vet.

20141211_174832As Papa arrived with Gilly to meet Mama at the vet’s office, he wondered how well Gilly would do this time. Last time, he was barking and fidgeting pretty consistently, and Mama said he even tried to nip at one of the doctors.

As they entered, there was a large greyhound in the waiting area (no photos shown since managing this interaction and check-in was a priority). The owners of the greyhound applied a muzzle in preparation of the two dogs being in the same room. Wonderfully, Gilly did not fixate on the greyhound or really make much noise at her, and he and his Mama and Papa were called in to see the vet almost immediately upon entry.

7 Objectives

Any good plan will start with clear objectives. In making this appointment, Papa confirmed that the main reason for the visit was to get current on a couple of vaccinations. He also prepared a list of questions to check in about while everyone was there. We’ll explore how each item went, in order of what was addressed in the visit:

1. Gilligan’s weight

The very first stop was for Gilly to jump on a dog scale and take a quick weight reading. Last time he visited, he weighed in at 14 pounds.



This time, he comes in at an increased 15.5 pounds. Now, this was not unplanned; since his last weighing shortly after joining his new family, Papa decided that Gilly looked a little too slim: his ribcage was somewhat visible and his belly came in a little too much. They have been keeping a steady regimen of nutritious food to increase weight, and exercise to improve muscle strength.


The vet and his assistant check Gilligan’s basic vitals and feel his body for healthiness and fat level. Their ultimate conclusion is that his weight is fine, but that 15.5 pounds represents a “max.”


So, we’ll just be continuing to monitor with the goal of maintaining this do-not-exceed weight. Doing so is especially critical for a miniature dachshund; extra weight on his elongated body frame can put tremendous stress on the lower back, and lead to hip dysplasia and various degenerations of the hind legs, which are issues that the breed is more prone to because of how they are built.

2. Microchip

Right around the Thanksgiving holiday, Gilligan’s aunt, Mama, and Papa were checking his skin for abnormalities, when Papa felt a strange object in his skin on his back slightly below his shoulder blades. After feeling it thoroughly and repeatedly, he came to the conclusion that this was probably a microchip, based on its traits of feeling rectangular and inflexible.

This was one item that the previous owner didn’t cover when Gilligan was re-homed (though every aspect of this process was otherwise wonderful and this is by no means a criticism of the prior owner), so a point was made to inquire about this at the vet.

20141211_175017Sure enough, a scan of Gilly’s back turned up an ID number confirming that this is indeed a microchip. The vet gave Mama and Papa the ID# and instructed them to find out which service he uses by accessing the AAHA’s pet lookup system online.

He also warned that there is a company that will try to charge you annually to maintain a record in their system. His advice? “Do NOT pay it… If [a vet’s office finds a stray, they will still scan the microchip whether or not you paid, and you can still find your pet this way]. It’s a scam!”


3. The vaccines

Gilly stopped by in order to get current on two vaccines: 1. leptospirosis – a bacterial infection which can become present across the skin and through the bloodstream; and 2. lime disease, which is important for Gilly to maintain because he frequently stays at his Mimi’s house where the wooded area behind the back yard has a deer population (he doesn’t venture back there, but it is good to be safe).

The specialists start with a soothing massage, but in retrospect Gilly’s expression in the below photo seems to smack of some suspicion about what’s going to happen… after all, he has gotten vaccines here before.

“Papa! Tell them I’ll take the massage WITHOUT the acupuncture this time!”
“Ok, this part’s not so bad…”
“Great… acupuncture again… Thanks for nothing, Papa!”
“Oh… I can’t watch!”

Well, those are taken care of. Not the most pleasant thing for our little furiend. For the rest of the night Gilly whimpered a little bit when touched in the spots where the shots were administered, showing that there is some soreness, but by the next day all is fine and he is set up for better health!

4. Dental health

We’ve talked about Gilly’s dental needs in one of our earliest posts where we gave you a glimpse at our in-home brushing care. That said, we were anxious to see how his teeth checked out.

The vet was quick to highlight that Gilligan does have some tartar build-up, mostly around the major canines and on a couple of his rear teeth, making him a “candidate for dentistry” at the animal hospital. This type of operation was quoted at $400 to $600, so hopefully stepping up the regimen of brushing (the vet said up to daily) and the use of dental chews will help stave this off. Unfortunately, the vet’s assessment was that these in-home methods will help prevent further build-up, but that more intense dental techniques are needed to remove the tartar that’s there.

On a positive note, the more insidious threat to a dog’s oral hygiene is typically with infections that affect the gums. We’re glad to report that Gilligan’s gums had none of the redness or inflammation that indicates the onset of these types of issues.

5. Ears


The vet identified a mild ear infection with Gilligan, which is noticeable when you see the appearance of darker earwax within the ear. The infection was described as about a “2” on a scale of 1 to 10 of seriousness, and the vet attributed this to the poor design of some breeds’ floppy ears, which trap moisture and bacteria naturally.


Papa checks for this and cleans it out regularly at home, but to be thorough the vet prescribes fluid to apply to the ears to help with this.


6. Diet

Papa told the vet that Gilly enjoys a grain free diet, and asked for input and recommendations on diet. He was quick to warn against the trendiness of grain free brands, saying he has seen them come and go quickly and that some prominent companies making this type of “trendy” food product for dogs have very little to no contact with the vetiranery world, and some have even formulated their product without having a vetirinery nutritionist on staff. He was also happy to recommend staple brands such as Purina, Science Diet, and Iams, all of whom he has great contact with and trusts.

We’ve explored a bit of the beliefs held by the authors of this blog about general nutrition for humans and dogs in a previous post. So, while Papa and Mama value the vet’s input of, “grain is not evil to feed to your dog,” they’re going to be respectfully sticking to their guns for the time being.

Please let us know your opinions on your pet’s diet, and whether you’d like to see follow-up posts that explore this topic further.

7. Leg and feet health

The doctor observed Gilligan’s walk briefly and noted that his back leg health looks good. Mama and Papa have had concerns because he tends to walk kind of funny and make “uneven” use of his back legs when he’s between slow-walking and running speeds, but it seems this is normal and nothing to worry about.

As for his feet, Papa asked the doctor if he had any recommendations about types of footgear for Gilly, as he and Mama have been considering getting this for him. The vet’s opinion was that dogs really don’t need this, and he noted that the occasions where patients he sees come in for foot-related issues due to walking without footgear is extremely rare. That said, Mama and Papa are still considering getting this just because Weens tends not to like walking when it’s cold out, and it may help. If you have any suggestions, your comment is appreciated!

How does this vet visit compare to visits you’ve had with your dog? Drop us a line in the comments section!

Don’t forget to Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on Facebook, WordPress, and YouTube. Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂

This post was part of FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy, To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life. Join either Hop or just enjoy the links below bringing you to the other awesome blogs for the day – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!


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For the first time, we’re also participating in the Pet Parade friday Blog Hop, hosted by Rascal and Rocco, and co-hosted by Bionic Basil, Barking From the Bayou, Love is being owned by a husky, and Jan’s Funny Farm.New Pet Parade button 200x200

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Lastly, we are also for the first time joining the {This Moment} See Beautiful Blog Hop, hosted every second Friday of the month by our wonderful friend Sugar the Golden Retriever.


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And because we realize that a trip to the vet may not be the best example of “seeing beautiful” (though we could argue about how beautiful Gilligan obviously is, especially at a robust 15.5 pounds), we’re going to add a landscape photo of Gilligan’s favorite park from its peak foliage a couple of weeks back. Here’s bidding Autumn a fond yet firm farewell as we gear up for all the warm tidings of the winter season!



35 thoughts on “Vaccines for Weens

  1. Looks like your vet really went under the hood with you! We brush teeth every night and it works wonderfully! Our long floppys also get cleaned out with our homemade ear cleaner once a month. Since we started that regimen, no more ear infections! Stay healthy little friend and thanks for joining the hop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Emma! It helped that my Papa made a whole list of questions before we came in, but our vet was really thorough to begin with. Have you posted the recipe for your homemade ear cleaner, and could you share the link?


      1. The recipe is at the end of this post I had ear infections for several years, tried all kinds of cleaners including prescription ones but nothing worked. Now I’m over 2 yrs infection free. My groomer uses the same recipe on her Cocker Spaniels. We think the alcohol may be the key because it dries out my inner ears so nothing nasty starts growing. I use it the first of every month.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like he was a very brave boy! Glad things went well! Our vet offers special dental cleaning discounts in February/March for dental health month. My kitty got his teeth cleaned this year for under $200, so maybe your vet will offer a deal that, too, if he eventually needs more thorough cleaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He described it as being “on the horizon,” so soon enough. We will definitely inquire about any special dental month or similar promotional discounts! Thanks for the tip, and for cruising on through today!


  3. First, all vets recommend Purina, Science Diet and Iams because usually they have a business relationship with them. I do know of people with highly active dogs (field trial dogs) who feed Purina and are really happy with it. It did not work for us. I would say the right food is the one that works best for your dog. Since Gilly has an issue with her ears you may want to consider her diet as contributing, some proteins and grains can cause yeast in ears and a diet change is better than ear meds. Just something to think about if you ever decide to change foods. For teeth I have noticed that allowing the dogs to chew hard things like antlers really helps their teeth stay clean. But if your dog has soft teeth or dental issues, you would not want to go that direction. Can you believe our dogs do not get the Lymes vaccine?

    I bet Gilly is happy the visit is over!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thanks for all that great feedback! We suspected as much about the vet’s food recommendations being of a somewhat “sponsored” nature, and to his credit he was being fairly honest about that.

      Papa says a previous dog he had never seemed to clear up from ear infections from the ear meds, so we’ll have to look into options for foods that will help with this. Do you have any guidelines for what we’d look for in a food that might increase resistance to ear infections?

      Also I love to chew on tough bones, so the antler-type chew might be a great solution for me!

      I am VERY surprised that you don’t get the Lyme vaccine. How come?

      So glad it’s all done with. Papa gave me a brushing this morning and we just came back from a nice long run! *wags*


      1. Our first dog was a Golden and he had constant ear infections. We did not find out until the end of his life that he had a sensitivity to chicken and that was the type of food we fed him. BTW it was Hills Science Diet (which was better back then). He ate it and lived a long healthy life. Passed at 13 which is not bad for a Golden. Emma also mentioned ear cleaning. We do that with our dogs too. It can really help out and ours only have ear issues once in a blue moon. Seems like the first swims of Spring get Freighter.

        No Lymes because dogs can have a reaction to that one and there are really good treatments for Lymes. But ticks carry scarier diseases than Lymes so we choose to prevent with Frontline instead. We do limit the Frontline to the months they are exposed to ticks, usually April-October.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah! Interestingly the vet said the same thing to us about Frontline and just doing it in the “on” months. Papa does clean my ears occasionally and usually checks them at the end of a bath (you can see that hinted at with the “Steps to a Cleaner Wiener” post we did, but we don’t go into much detail).

    I eat chicken-based food as well, so that’s something I’ll have to look into. Thanks!


  5. Mr. N has a vet appointment next week as well. We don’t give him lepto because small dogs tend to have a greater tendency for vaccine reactions. I try to keep him on the slim side but I also worry about him having a “reserve” in case he gets sick. He drops like half a pound in three days if he’s sick.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m 15.5 pounds now, but that’s my “max.” Low end is 14 pounds. There were 2 more vaccines I need in March, and the vet could have done them this week but didn’t because of the same concern about overloading and reactivity.


  6. Hi Y’all!

    Mushers Wax helps on hardwood floors as well as hot pavements or icy footing.

    I’m on allergy shots and was on special food but still breakin’ out and the vet put me on a Purina food and I’ve cleared up completely. There are certain grains that are difficult to digest.

    Merry Christmas!
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, vets recommend those brands because those are the companies that come for a few days during their schooling as their “nutritional” training. They’re supplied to their clients and vets generally earn commission for the sales. I do not trust my vet when it comes to nutrition. I trust them on every other level, but not that one. It’s not their field.
    That said, feed what agrees with your dog. With Nola, she needs either a home cooked or dehydrated diet, and it has to be grain free. She’s on the Honest Kitchen right now, and doing very well. Pike needs a lower protein food (his pasterns aren’t great, but diet is helping), and he does just fine on grain so he gets a grain inclusive food (Wellness). Olivia also does fine on grains and has an iron stomach. I feed a high meat content food, high quality food, no matter the type.

    I brush my three’s teeth every night (Nola and Olivia are dachshunds, Pike is a mini Aussie). Their teeth look fabulous. Nola doesn’t have a speck of staining or tarter, and she just turned four. Dental chews are another gimmick – brushing and/or raw meaty bones are the only things that actually clean teeth.

    I don’t give yearly vaccines to my dogs. I do all their puppy shots and one year booster, plus the 3 year rabies that’s required by law here. I haven’t decided if I will give any more after that. I do not ever give Lyme or Lepto to my dogs, as the reaction rate is extremely high, especially for Lepto in Dachshunds.

    I keep my dogs on the lean end of normal, with heavy muscling.

    Sorry for such a long winded post! I don’t mean to come off as preachy, just sharing. 🙂

    Dachshund Mommy


  8. I couldn’t agree more with what Dachshund Nola’s Mommy mentioned ~ I trust our vet with everything BUT nutrition, as nutrition is simply not part of their veterinary education, and all they do is promote the food of whichever large dog food company sponsoring them (Science Diet, Purina, and Iams are the usual suspects). Our 2 pups are Boxer-Chow-Chow mixes, and almost 3.5 years old now. We feed a grain-free diet, containing no artificial ingredients or preservatives, no by-products, and no soy. Our current dog food comes from Sammy Snacks Ancestry Dog Food, but we rotate our brands every 3-4 months for the sake of variety. This year we’ve also fed Annamaet & Wellness Core. I always consult the Website whenever choosing a new food ~ they review and rate all kinds of dog food brands.

    As far as actual vet visits are concerned, our pups are absolutely abnormal! They both LOVE going. Their first human mom was a vet tech who rescued their pregnant mama and then raised the pups for their first 2 months. They got used to being loved on like crazy by the entire vet staff, and this continued of course once they lived with us and went for their puppy shots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara, thanks so much for sharing the information about your pups’ health! The characteristics of food you stick with are EXACTLY what we believe constitutes sound nutrition in this household. We’ve bookmarked and will be certain to use it going forward.

      Your Boxer-Chows are certainly special! If only they could tell me the secret to their excitement over the vet. I know mine too and have been going there since way before my re-home, and all things considered I think I’m on fairly good behavior when I’m there, but definitely not something I enjoy!

      Thanks for stopping by!


      1. How awesome that you went ahead & checked out the DogFoodAdvisor, they really are a very helpful website when it comes to navigating the dog food jungle.
        I’ll try to get to the bottom of the pups’ vet secret and will let you know once I found it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Regarding the microchip: we got a letter after Toby was chipped from the company wanting to charge us a monthly fee for “deluxe service” if he got lost. They made it sound like they would withhold the info if we didn’t pay. I called the vet and nope, we don’t have to pay anything!

    Liked by 1 person

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