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Wednesday, Feb. 01, 2012

New changes to veterinary care regulations

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Recently, the post regulation regarding veterinary care (MCoE Regulation 40-905) was changed from requiring annual rabies and annual distemper combo vaccinations to 3-year Rabies for both cats and dogs and 3-year distemper combo for dogs. Previous one year vaccinations, however, are still only good for one year. This means that if your pets have been vaccinated for rabies and distemper combo in the past, the next time they come in to the Fort Benning Veterinary Treatment Facility, they can receive a vaccination that will last for 3 years.

The vaccination protocol for puppies and kittens will remain the same: puppies must receive 3 distemper combo vaccinations starting at age 6-8 weeks, then receive a distemper combo booster one year later. After their one-year booster, the next distemper vaccine can last for three years. Rabies is a one-time vaccination given to puppies and kittens 12-16 weeks of age. It must be boostered at one year of age, but will then be good for three years.

Until this point, the Fort Benning Veterinary Treatment Facility had been giving one-year and three-year rabies and one year and three-year distemper combo, so make sure you know how long your license is good for. Your Rabies certificate will list when the next Rabies is due. Be careful if you got your vaccinations off post; not all veterinary clinics offer three-year vaccinations.

The three-year distemper combo vaccine provides protection against distemper virus, which causes a fatal neurologic disorder, adenovirus (Hepatitis), and parvovirus. As before, annual Leptospirosis vaccination is required for dogs. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is shed in the urine of wildlife including deer and rodents. Dogs can acquire Lepto several ways including, but not limited to, lapping up contaminated water from a puddle, catching a small rodent and puncturing its bladder, and splashing contaminated water into its eye. It is possible to treat for Leptospirosis and remove the bacteria from the body, but the organ damage caused by the bacteria cannot be reversed so prevention is the best option. In addition to rabies, cats are also required to be vaccinated for FVRCP (“feline distemper”) annually.

FVRCP is a combination vaccination that provides protection against rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Rhinotracheitis and calicivirus are similar to head colds. Panleukopenia wipes out the body’s white blood cells and can be fatal. Annual fecal tests which test for intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, and annual heartworm tests are still required for registration.

MCoE Regulation 40-905 was also updated to reflect changes made in MCoE Reg 210-5 which eliminates banned breeds and instead prohibits aggressive behavior in all breeds. Prohibited behavior is outlined as: “No animal shall be allowed to snap, growl, snarl, jump on or otherwise threaten persons without provocation. Aggressive animals which cause unprovoked harm to any person or animal, or are involved in two provoked bite/scratch incidents maybe immediately removed from post by authority of the Installation Veterinarian upon a determination that the animal has created a public health concern.”

The Fort Benning Veterinary Treatment Facility is located at 6417 10th Division Road, Building 265. For more information, call 706-545-4444 or 706-545-1127 or visit Facebook as “Fort Benning Veterinary Treatment Facility.”

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