If you are a history buff, you may know that the first vaccine was developed by a man named Edward Jenner, when he found that exposing humans to a cowpox blister – from cows! – protected the exposed human from developing a devastating disease at the time – smallpox! Since that time, vaccines have been medicine’s greatest tool to prevent – and in some cases eradicate – diseases that have historically wiped out entire populations.
Vaccines work by taking advantage of one of our body’s greatest weapons for fighting disease – our own immune system. When our body is exposed to a foreign pathogen or disease, part of its response is to learn – the immune system starts to train itself to be more able to identify and destroy the pathogen. It takes time for the immune system to react and learn, which is not ideal when dealing with a more severe disease – you want the immune system to be primed and ready to fight off that disease, which is where vaccines come in!
When a vaccine is administered, that “dose” is exposing the body to a set amount of inactive pathogen proteins, or proteins chosen because they are close enough that the immune system cannot tell the difference. The immune system will then react locally – which is why soreness for a day or two is not uncommon – bring the pathogen proteins back to a local lymph node, train itself about that disease, then send trained cells and antibodies throughout the body. When those trained cells and antibodies encounter the pathogen later, they can eliminate the threat before it becomes a problem.
Edward Jenner was successful at vaccinating against smallpox with cowpox blisters, because they were similar enough to smallpox that the immune system couldn’t tell the difference – thereby training the immune system to fight smallpox before being exposed to the “real deal.” It was relatively safe to use, because cowpox was not infectious to people. This is how vaccines work – training the body’s immune system to recognize and fight off severe diseases without being exposed to the disease itself.
Vaccines have come a long way since the days of Edward Jenner grinding up cowpox scabs! Modern technology has allowed them to be more refined over the years, reducing adverse reaction risks, improving shelf life with less preservatives, less adjuvants – used to improve the immune response – and they continue to be improved every year.
It’s hard to believe that it has already been one year since I first set foot in Lavitt Animal Hospital as its new owner and manager. It certainly has been a whirlwind year, and we are grateful that you have stuck around for the ride!
If you were around the Hospital during the winter, you may have seen some of our dust as we renovated some of the hospital interior, giving much of it a new look. We hope you have enjoyed the results! While we were at it, we made improvements to the equipment and services we could offer – particularly improving anesthesia to be safer and more effective than ever before! By adding in-house laboratory services, digital x-rays and now new ultrasound services, we are better able to provide you faster results – so pets could get the treatments they need faster.
With the melting of the snows, we were finally able to address the outside of the hospital. We were able to change our outdoor sign to reflect our fresh new look and brighter colors. We were also able to clean up the lot around the building – you can now see it! It’s taken a while for the grass to grow in, but we think our patients will enjoy it as much as we do.
The Spring also brought a new face to the team! We hope you have had a chance to meet our excellent new receptionist, Cheryl! We are excited to have her with us.
Looking back at the past year, it seems like such a short time to achieve so much. We look forward to what the next years will bring, and we hope you are looking forward to it too.
Dr. Erich Roush
We are excited to announce that Dr. Erich Roush will be getting married to his fiancée, Michelle House, in Columbus, Ohio on September 17th!
Dr. Roush and Michelle have been together since 2014 and became engaged in May of 2016. It’s been a whirlwind year, renovating and improving Lavitt Animal Hospital while preparing for a wedding, but they are both excited for what the future brings – and we hope you are too!
What to expect around this time
Dr. Roush will be out of the office starting Friday, September 15th after noon, and he will return to normal appointment hours Tuesday, September 19th at 9:00am. The office will still be open during our normal hours – Cheryl and Teri will be available to handle calls, emails, sample drop-offs and prescription pickups. They will be able to reach Dr. Roush by phone if there are any questions that need his attention or any prescription refills that need to be approved.
What if my pet needs to be seen urgently while Dr. Roush is away?
We have made arrangements with Dr. Johnson at North Shore Veterinary Clinic to see any urgent medical cases that need to be seen while Dr. Roush is away. They are located at 5225 Golf Rd, Skokie, IL 60077. Cheryl and Teri will facilitate setting up these appointments if an urgent medical situation should arise – you should still call our office as you normally would.