St. Johns Magazine August 2021

Page 1

August 2021

ST. JOHNS magazine


Better health is close by.

Health and happiness go together. That’s why Baptist Health created a fitness, medical and wellness center right here in Nocatee. HealthPlace has a wealth of ways to get and stay healthy. The center includes a new family YMCA, a healthy café, and a Baptist Center for Healthy Living, with classes and events, health coaching, and more. And you can get the medical care you and your family need, right here:

• Primary care and Pediatrics

• Gastroenterology


• Imaging, including mammography, and lab

• Behavioral health for kids and adults

• Neurology

• Cardiology

• Rehabilitation for kids and adults

We have a friendly team ready to help you at 202-4YOU. They can answer your questions or get you connected with a doctor for you and your family. Better health is close by! To learn more, or sign up for updates, visit

Baptist HealthPlace at Nocatee 400 Colonnade Drive Ponte Vedra, FL 32081


© Baptist Health 2021



From the Publisher


Happy New School Year! Dear Reader

Ever since I was in college I have used the academic calendar to plan my life, so in many ways the beginning of the school year is as much a new beginning as actual New Years Day. This year will be a bit different for our family as the kids go off to college in other Florida cities and my husband and I figure out what to do with an empty nest. Wish us luck!

For most families, it is that time of year when the kids return to school, and routines and schedules replace beach days and travel. Even though we have enjoyed our St. Johns Summer, the shift is usually welcome and exciting. Meeting new friends and teachers, back to school learning, shopping, & organized activities keep us very busy with positive energy. But this year is even more special because it will be a longawaited return to normalcy.


Welcome Neelam!

In this issue featuring local Anchor Dawn Lopez from Action News Jax, we learn about how kids and families are approaching the transition, and how the pandemic has taught us appreciation for regularity, routine and freedom.

Publisher & Creative Director Debbie Gaylord 904-687-8538 Account Representative Neelam Patel Photographer Mindy Kerr, Nature's Child Photography St. Johns Magazine is dedicated to covering the topics readers care about - from hometown stories and community spotlighs to food, health & business. St. Johns Magazine is designed to engage readers and inspire them to enjoy the good life in Northern St. Johns!


Now that school is back in session, kids need and want fun and educational things to do after school, so please check out our helpful Afterschool Guide. Thank you to our contributors! Please enjoy all the articles in this issue of St. Johns Magazine and let our partners know you saw them here.

READ OUR Digital Edition

Thanks! Happy School Year to All!

Debbie Gaylord Publisher, St. Johns Magazine


● Your Guide to New Home Communities Northern St. Johns including Durbin, Aberdeen, CR210 West, Julington, Nocatee & more! ● Realtor & Builder Profiles ● Market Stats

All rights reserved ©2012-2021 ©St. Johns Magazine LLC. St. Johns Magazine is published monthly and distributed by US postal Service to select homes in Northern St. Johns. It is free of charge to consumers receiving it in the mail. It is also availalble at many drop points in Northern St. Johns. All material is compiled from sources believed to be reliable and published without responsibility for errors and ommissions.

@St JohnsMagazine facebook/St.JohnsMagazine

Designed with Love

Dr. Lisa Hill &• Wellness Dr. Dawn Stewart

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Testing Vaccinations Diagnostics Dental Care Behavioral Medicine

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Back to School



Dawn Talks About her Kids Going Back to School and Getting Back to Normal Many kids in St Johns County are excited to be going back to school for the chance to see friends and classmates they haven't seen in over a year because of COVID. Understandably, parents are both excited and cautiously optimistic. "Action News Jax This Morning" Anchor Dawn Lopez can relate to how parents may be feeling because she's going through it as well. "We've shared news reports with our viewers on doctors warning about the mental and social toll the pandemic was having on families. My family is no exception," reveals Dawn. "Even with the best efforts, my children fell behind in school. Between testy technology to virtual fatigue and cabin fever, there were lots of family meetings about keeping each other on the right track." It's been an unprecedented time dealing with the isolation that COVID has caused for parents and their children. "I spent a lot of time encouraging my kids to set time aside for video chats with friends so they could stay connected. My daughter was suffering but now there's light at the end of the tunnel! My twins are excited about learning in the classromm again and seeing their friends regularly." While the Pandemic is far from over, there is a feeling of trying to get back to "normal" and Action News Jax is committed to providing the information needed to help communities get through it, safely. During back-to-school month, Dawn and her "Action News Jax This Morning" team will be covering many of the issues parents will need answers to. Updates to the CDC Guidelines will be on-going. Identifying the new safety measures in schools including food health safety and what St Johns County is requiring to keep COVID-19 out of the classrooms. And, if a student or staff member shows symptoms, what is the school's plan to deal with that? Action News Jax will be looking into that for sure. The new school year is here, and for now, it's all about getting back to normal.

My kids see it as a privilege now, to be in the classroom and have access to their teachers firsthand and having lunch with their friends every day. 2021-2022 look out, here we come!” In addition to coverage of back-to-school on "Action News Jax This Morning," look for their back-to-school special "Back to the Classroom," airing Thursday, August 5th at 7pm on CBS47 and Friday, August 6th at 7pm on FOX30.



Life. Just right. 2020


Life at Shearwater is the blissful combination of amazing amenities, a deep connection to nature, and a true sense of togetherness. Start with a swim with the kids in our resort-style pool. Play doubles with friends on our stadium tennis court. Then gather around the fire pit with friends at the Kayak Club.

Discover more at

Homes from the mid $200s to $700s | 100 Kayak Way, St. Augustine | 904-671-6760 David Weekley | Dream Finders | Lennar | Richmond American | MasterCraft | Drees | Toll Brothers Materials are protected by copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. All rights in these materials are reserved. All products and company names marked as trademarked (™) or registered (®) are trademarks of their respective holders. Copying, reproduction and distribution of materials without prior written consent of Freehold Communities is strictly prohibited. All information, plans, and pricing are subject to change without notice. This information does not represent a specific offer of sale or solicitation to purchase property within Shearwater. Models do not reflect racial preference.



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St. Johns magazine 13


BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO WORK, AND GETTING BACK IN ROUTINE AS A TEAM By Kimberly Green, Senior Program Director St. Johns County Youth Development YMCA of Florida’s First Coast


ith the new school year ahead, it’s time to start gearing up for a busy season filled with classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and work schedules. It’s safe to say transitioning from fun and relaxed summer days back to early mornings isn’t the easiest. Establishing a routine for the family can help set everyone up for back-to-school success. A few tips for getting back into a routine to start the school year off on the right foot: • Map out each family member’s weekly schedules on a white board, or any place where everyone can see it daily. • Create a list of top priorities and goals for the school year. Maybe that’s joining a club or sports team? Maintaining a good GPA? Ensuring community service hours are met for high school graduation? Getting a job? • After establishing priorities and setting goals, figure out the best way to accomplish each day’s tasks and solidify a weekday routine. If you find plenty of downtime in schedules, the First Coast YMCA has several programs for your Teen to consider getting involved with:


• Teen Leaders Club offers college and career readiness and career mapping, teens will learn leadership development skills and can earn internship hours as well as up to 120 service hours for the year. Available at Nocatee, Ponte Vedra, Flagler Health+ Village, and St. Augustine YMCA’s. • Youth in Government offers middle and high school students the opportunity to learn how the government works, gain self-confidence, civic action and bill writing experience, and bring awareness towards teen mental health. Students can earn up to 70 service hours for the year. Available at Ponte Vedra and Flagler Health+ Village YMCA’s. • Opportunity for Employment - Is your teen ready to begin looking for their first job? Or do you know someone who exhibits the Y’s values of CARING, HONESTY, RESPECT, and RESPONSIBILITY? The First Coast YMCA has open positions as lifeguards, before and after school group leaders, KidZone staff, and more. This back-to-school season, encourage your kids to build a sense of personal responsibility with confidence through taking the lead of their routines. For more information about the First Coast YMCA’s teen programming and open positions, visit and



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The physicians at Flagler Health+ Village at Nocatee are your Orthopedic and Sports Medicine specialists. Not only are we conveniently located in your neighborhood, we have award-winning care and top surgeons offering world-class treatment for joint care, trauma care and sports injuries. With onsite imaging including MRI and CT, and prescription delivery from Publix Pharmacy to the Health Village, your care is more convenient than ever. Specialties include: Hand Wrist Shoulder

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Don’t let allergy symptoms get you down! Schedule your appointment with Dr. Watkins & Team!

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The kid's are going back to school this Fall but what happens after school? Here are some ideas for enrichment activities outside the classroom

St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association

Creeks Athletic Association

Baseball, softball, exceptional needs baseball, flag and tackle football, lacrosse, track & field, and wrestling.

Florida Elite Soccer Academy

Ponte Vedra Athletic Association

Baseball, softball, soccer, flag and tackle football and basketball. For more information visit: www. PVAAfootball

i9 Sports

Flag football, soccer and cheer.

Villages Athletic Association

Zone cheer

A strong home for boys & girls of all ages to come and experience tumbling, stunting and competitive Cheerleading. Character counts, award winning teams.

Paks Ponte Vedra

Self defense based Tang Soo Do and fitness training for Ponte Vedra and surrounding communities. (located behind Cantina Louis.)


Haedos is an online coding school for kids and teens with a vision to make children online-safe, inspired, and confident in computer coding. Our mission is to enable passion for computer programming in children, prepare them for the challenge of rapidly changing technology and the opportunity to change their world.


Before and Afterschool child care is part of the YMCA’s history of dedication to


youth development. Established to meet the needs of working parents while providing children with an enriching environment, the First Coast YMCA’s Before and Afterschool program pairs academic support with fun activities and nutrition lessons. In St. Johns County the Ponte Vedra Y offers Teen Programing and in St. Augustine the Y offers before & afterschool programming at The Webster School. For more info and to register your child for the 2021-2022 school year, visit: before-and-afterschool/.

Awetism Wonderland

Awetism Wonderland is an autism therapy center located in St. Augustine. We have some very exciting after school programs for our Awetism kids! Our after school programs are all centered around developing life skills with therapeutic benefits. We have our Wonder Bakers who are members of our baking program. This program teaches kids how to bake cupcakes and sell them back to the community. We offer recreational, yoga, and dance therapies that help them connect to their bodies and improve spatial cognition. Our art and plant and horticultural therapy is used to increase self esteem, self worth, and calm anxiety and depression. Our music therapy program helps develop neuroplasticity because music uses both hemispheres of the brain that are not necessarily activated at the same time through other therapies. We also have traditional therapies afterschool such as ABA, speech, occupational, and physical therapy as well as an amazing sensory gym!!!

Martial Arts Training at Ponte Vedra Martial Arts Academy

KUMON of Ponte Vedra & Nocatee

Fitness | Self-Defense | Fun

For more than 60 years, Kumon’s after-school academic enrichment program has helped children achieve success worldwide. Kumon strives to instill in children the desire to achieve and the motivation to learn on their own. Whether your child is seeking enrichment, needs help catching up or is just beginning their academic career, Kumon is designed to help him or her develop a love of learning.

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Special Needs, Special Solutions An autism therapy center offering a variety of therapies to meet your AWEsome person where they are.

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(904) 247-2179 • 180 Center Place Way • St. Augustine, FL 32095

Students advance through the program at their own pace. Kumon’s emphasis on individualized learning helps your child become focused, motivated and self-reliant. At Kumon, we monitor each child’s progress to ensure comprehension before moving on to a new concept. With a strong academic foundation, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, your child has the potential to achieve whatever he or she desires. At Kumon Math and Reading Learning Center at Nocatee, we offer free, no obligation placement testing. After your kids complete a placement test, you will be provided with valuable insights into where your children stand in their learning. The instructor will go over the recommended progression path that shows what your kids can achieve at Kumon. Then, the instructor will prepare an individualized lesson plan for your kids and support them as they progress through Kumon.

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ENROLL NOW! To learn more, schedule an orientation today! Kumon Math and Reading Center of Ponte Vedra At Nocatee 480 Town Plaza Avenue Suite 140 Ponte Vedra, FL 32081 | 904.720.2800 © 2021 Kumon North America, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Dental Health

by Dr. Jason Lewis, DDS, FAGD Bartram Dental Center (

Are You a Good Candidate for



re you unhappy with how you look when you smile? Are you selfconscious about missing teeth? Are you unable to eat certain foods? Does chewing feel unnatural or uncomfortable or both? Perhaps you could benefit from a dental implant or series of implants from Bartram Dental.

You are missing multiple teeth. If you have lost several teeth, you could be the perfect candidate for an implant-supported bridge, which is similar to a standard dental bridge but is not supported by natural teeth. Like an implant crown procedure, an implantsupported bridge entails no damage to surrounding teeth.

Implants are state-of-the-art replacements for your natural teeth. They actually bond with your existing underlying bone and gum tissues. Most people are good candidates for dental implants, which can replace one tooth, several teeth or all your teeth. Implants can be used to support a single crown, a full set of dentures or a dental bridge.

You are missing all your teeth. If you have lost all your teeth, clip-retained dentures can involve two implants or four or more. Two implants provide the least costly method to stabilize a lower denture but are not generally recommended for the upper jaw. With four or more implants, a clip-retained denture will give you a strong bite function and help to enhance your facial appearance. Another option is the "Teeth in a Day" procedure which streamlines the time required for the process.

You may be a good dental implant candidate in the following circumstances: You are missing a single tooth. If you have lost a single tooth, we can replace it with an implant crown. Unlike a bridge procedure, getting an implant crown avoids damage to adjacent teeth. It will also allow you to floss more effectively. Implant crowns are slightly more expensive than a tooth-supported bridge but well worth it.


Dental implants have the highest success rate of all surgical implant procedures – up to 98% and are considered the most innovative means of replacing teeth because they generate bone growth.

Implants can be used as an alternative to bridges and dentures or in conjunction with a dental plate. The varied uses of dental implants and their benefits compared with conventional tooth replacement systems have made them the treatment of choice for many people with missing teeth. To determine whether dental implants are right for you, our Team at Bartram Dental will do a thorough evaluation of your mouth and jaw. This will include some painless imaging so we can identify any areas of bone loss, assess your sinuses and location of nerves and develop a tailored plan to meet your dental health needs. We’ll also take into consideration your medical history. Your overall health plays an important role in how well your implant will fuse to the bone and how efficiently your mouth will heal. Implants can last a lifetime, so it pays to choose your implant dentist wisely. Call us so we can discuss your individual needs. You truly are a few short steps away from a fully functioning and beautiful smile featuring natural-looking dental implants.

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ST. JOHNS magazine

Connecting the Growing Communities of Northern St. Johns since 2012 with our monthly publication about the people, places & events that make St. Johns an amazing place to live.

Request our 2021 Media Kit & Planning Calendar at 24

Mental Health

Returning to School & Your Family's Mental Health

by Diana Brummer, MSW, LCSW


n August 16th, Saint Johns County

place last year-such as masking and social dis-

our schools open. They have juggled their own

students return to school for the 2021-

tancing-are no longer required this new school

families and their own children’s educational

2022 school year. For some, this will

year and that their experience will be different.

needs while managing their personal health

be a return to in-person learning for the first

Disruption to their routine is still possible due

risks during a global pandemic. Acknowledge

time in over a year and a half. For the rest, it

to exposures and quarantines, however the day

that it is reasonable that they are tired.

will be a return to school without mandatory

to day school experience will be more similar to

masking, daily temperature checks, and social

years past, prior to COVID.

distancing. For all, it will be a welcome and

For each and every member of our community, I encourage compassion, understanding, and

much anticipated return to normal. But after

For parents transitioning into the reality of

kindness. Although it feels that the worst is

living through a year and a half of tremendous

sustained remote working, the novelty and

behind us as we return to school this fall, the

uncertainty, what will this transition really look

appreciation of telework may have subsided by

lasting effects of surviving a very difficult time

like for our children and ourselves?

now. If you notice that you are struggling with

in our history will stay with us. Giving our-

low energy, boredom, isolation, or feelings of

selves and our neighbors the space and grace to

As we feel the excitement of getting back to our

hopelessness, acknowledge that it is reasonable

recover and heal will serve us all. Together, we

routine, the traumatic impact of the past year on

to feel that way. Many of us are energized by

can build stronger families, schools, and com-

our students, families, and teachers will linger.

in-person interactions and we enjoy the support

munities in our beautiful northern Saint Johns.

COVID created a pervasive and sustained

and camaraderie of our coworkers. Working

disruption to our way of life, threatening our

from home is a much different experience that

Good Mental Health, LLC is a counseling and

stability, our security, our health, and our peace

can deplete us over time.

coaching practice located in St. Johns, Florida,

of mind. Transitioning from a year of “survival

offering individual and family counseling to

mode” back into “performance mode” is going

Lastly, please be kind to our teachers. A short

adolescents and adults. With sessions available

to have it’s own set of challenges.

8-week summer break is not enough time to

face-to-face and online, we hope to provide the

recharge and recover from what has been asked

tools and skills necessary to heal past wounds,

of them this past school year. Our educators

grow healthy relationships, and build strong

If you notice that your student is apprehensive

about returning to school, acknowledge that it is have pulled off the impossible; they have in-

families. For more information please visit

reasonable for them to feel that way. Reassure

structed our students both in-person and online

them that the mitigation efforts that had been in

while putting themselves in harms way to keep



International Beer Day at Palencia Club



town area and over the Bridge of Lions on Anastasia Island and St Augustine Beach. Many of the Galleries introduce their featured artist for the month and they are

11AM - 9PM. Join friends and

often on hand to answer questions

celebrate International Beer Day!

about their work. The latest map of

Happy Hour pricing on domestic

all member galleries, with parking

draft beer and summer shandy as

zones, can be downloaded from our

well as international and local beer.

website www.artgalleriesofstaugus-

specials Prices do not include tax

or gratuity. PALENCIARESERVATIONS@HAMPTON.GOLF | (904) 599-9040


Put that stash of useless knowledge

Limelight Kids Summer Improv Camp

to work and bring your friends!

You’re invited to laugh A LOT this

Join us as we welcome Trivia

summer at The Adventure Project's

Nation as the host of our monthly

summer improv camp for kids! Join

trivia event. Be sure to join us for

our week-long summer program,

dinner in the dining room prior to

where kid improvisers will build

heading into the banquet room.

their improv skills, learn new

Prizes for the winner and up to 10

games, and play with an ensemble

people per team. To reserve space

of peers. Led by The Adventure

Project’s Amy Angelilli who has

AUGUST 4TH, 11TH, 18TH, 25TH

Music and Art by the Sea

A free Art Show and Concert presented by the St Augustine Beach Civic Association and its partners! The Art Show is open from 3 until 7 and the concert takes place from 7 until 9 PM St Johns County Ocean Pier



First Friday Artwalk Art Galleries of St. Augustine 5 PM – 9 PM St. Augustine’s art galleries welcome visitors to browse the latest art exhibits and enjoy refreshments and live entertainment at close to 30 member galleries each with its own style, located in and around the down-

more than 20 years of improv experience, this camp is suitable for kid improvisers of all experience levels. Campers will share their newfound improv skills in a friends & family showcase on Friday as camp wraps up. For grades 3+ Camp runs 2 - 6 p.m. Monday - Friday, August 9 - 13 at Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine. Registration: $200 To register, visit:

Also available online @ August 11th

Wine Down Wednesday Southern Vibes Tasting Room and Wine Cellar Business Networking & Wine Down Wednesday. Second Wednesday evening of the month starting at 5:30pm. The first hour is casual business networking at 6:30 you are welcome to stay and continue networking during wine down Wednesday! Southern Vibes Tasting Room; 105 Murabella Parkway Saint Augustine, FL 32092 Hosted by Melissa with Jacksonville Business Connections & Erin Kelly with Arbonne Website: www.jackson-

August 17

St. Augustine EcoCinema Series: “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste" Free The Amp St. Augustine 7-10pm Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” is the Anthony Bourdain-produced documentary aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food. Through the eyes of chefs, audiences will see how the world’s most influential chefs make the most of every kind of food, transforming what most people consider scraps into incredible dishes that create a more secure food system.

August 27th & 28th

Jacksonville Tatoo Convention

At the show there are...* Amazing artists from all over! Amazing Tattoo Contests (With some of the biggest trophies you have ever seen! Parties/ Live Entertainment! Great seminars! Special guests and much more!!!. 500 S Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, FL 32092 (904) 940-8000

August 15th

St. Augustine Exotic Bird Expo Lots of Birds, Cages, Toys, Food. Come join us for a day full of fun. if you are interested in birds this is the place to go you will see some awesome and rear birds, ask the breeders information and what would be the best pet bird for you and your family. Admission $5.00 Chil-

We are So excited to share all the happenings in and around St. Johns. Please email debbie@stjohnsmag. com with your events!

dren under 10 Free. World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort


Autism Resource


A New Autism Center Opens in St. Johns! Learn About the Inspiration for Awetism Wonderland!

Sabita with her Mom Stephanie Awetism Wonderland is an autism therapy center created especially for children with autism. Located in St. Augustine, Florida, Awetism Wonderland was founded by Dr. Stephanie Vavilala, Ed.D, LMHC, BCBA, RPT-S, whose beautiful daughter Sabita has autism and is nonverbal. Dr. Vavilala is a behavioral therapist who resides and works in St. Augustine, Florida. When Dr. Vavilala was faced with her daughter’s diagnosis, she became a leader in the space of special needs in order to find solutions to make her daughter’s life easier. Now she wants to share these solutions with other children on the spectrum, in order to help them flourish into their best selves! Dr. Vavilala’s goal is to provide support for children on the spectrum, as well as their families. She is passionate about making life easier for special needs families, through the use of technologies, and with resources and support that she herself has found helpful in empowering her own daughter to unleash her full potential.

For online Resources related to Autism please visit our special section at


Dr. Vavilala is aware of the many challenges that parents of children with ASD face. Insurance is expensive and often doesn’t cover ABA therapy. And ABA therapy itself often doesn’t cover the teaching of basic life skills that children on the spectrum often struggle to learn, such as brushing their teeth, putting on shoes, cleaning, brushing their hair, or fixing themselves a simple meal. Awetism Wonderland is here to bridge that gap. Awetism Wonderland is meant to teach these life skills that can be replicated at home and elsewhere so that children on the spectrum can gain more independence. From her experience, Dr. Vavilala knows that public school was a constant battle to advocate for the needs of her daughter. It’s hard to find the right people to teach your children, and Awetism Wonderland provides the solution that many parents of special-needs children struggle to find. AwetismWonderland (904) 247-2179 • 180 Center Place Way • St. Augustine, FL 32095

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full-service veterinary care, boarding, & grooming


we’re your other family doctor! Pets R Family is a full-service 11,000 square foot Veterinary Hospital nestled in a private and serene wildlife preserve. Family-owned and operated right here in St. John’s, we are NOT a corporate veterinary facility — no pre-designed packages or sales tactics here! We believe in treating all pets with love, care, and compassion. Our large team of doctors, technicians, and customer service members are at your service to provide you with the very best care and experience.

hospital services

kennel services •

State-of-the-art medical facility

Same-day appointments available for sick pets

Home visits available by appointment

Curbside or exam room visits available for your comfort and convenience

Full pharmacy

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Hospital boarding for pets with special needs

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Experienced team of compassionate doctors and veterinary technicians



specialty care

Pups N Play social day care

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Professional grooming and bathing services



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Masks are not mandatory at Pets R Family. Our entire facility is sanitized and air purified by the ActivePure® System.

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A Message From The Vet by Dr. Deckard, DVM, Pets R Family

Leptospirosis Common risk factors for leptospirosis in dogs residing in the United States include exposure from swimming or drinking from rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds; exposure to urine from potentially infected wildlife or farm animals -even if in the backyard, and contact with rodents or other dogs who are infected or are recovered carriers of the disease.


hances are your veterinarian has discussed with you getting a leptospirosis vaccine for your dog every year. Typically, it is not part of the “Core,” annual vaccines, but is highly recommended depending on your pet’s lifestyle and where you live. Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the leptospira bacteria and is fairly common in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Florida sees many cases of it in pets every year. It’s readily found in deer, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, and rodents here. But it’s not only your dogs who are in danger of contracting leptospirosis – it can be passed to humans as well.

Leptospira is bacteria that is found worldwide in slowmoving water and in soil. Dogs are most commonly affected.

Dogs can become infected and develop leptospirosis if their mucous membranes or irritated or cut skin come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding, or by eating infected tissues or carcasses. It takes four to twelve days for clinical signs to appear after exposure to Leptospira bacteria. Once infected, it can cause fever, vomiting/diarrhea, lethargy, petechiae (bruising in the mouth or eyes) and abdominal pain, and can lead to kidney failure, jaundice and hepatitis, uveitis (cloudy eyes) and in severe cases, bleeding in the lungs. Leptospirosis is treatable with specific antibiotics if caught early enough, but it can be a fatal disease in both animals and humans. Even if treated successfully, at times, dogs can be left with chronic kidney disease that will affect them for the rest of their life. Because the clinical signs of leptospirosis are similar to those of many other diseases, often more basic labwork is performed first to help put the pieces together and point your veterinarian in the direction of testing specifically for lepto. There are several different types of tests to check for the disease, but it can be difficult to diagnose because test results are

very dependent on when infection occurred. The best way to protect your dog from contracting Leptospirosis is to vaccinate, but not all vaccines are created equally. The best option is the vaccine that contains 4-serovars, which means it has 4 different species of the leptospira bacteria that it is protective against, providing more broad protection. Leptospirosis is a vaccine that does need to be boostered a few weeks after the very first dose, and then is given on an annual basis. There are some combination vaccines that include leptospirosis protection in with several other diseases, most commonly distemper and parvo, but it’s best to check with your vet to make sure that it is a 4-serovar vaccine. The good news is that research shows that the vaccine is very effective at preventing this disease if it’s given appropriately. Due to the influx of building occurring in Florida, wildlife encounters are becoming more and more common in suburbia. Do your best to keep wildlife out of your yard to avoid them contaminating it with urine and control any population of rodents such as rats and mice. Take care to landscape your yard so that there are no areas that are prone to flooding and holding possibly contaminated water, and do not allow your dog drink from outdoor standing water sources, or swim in retention ponds, sewer ditches, lakes, or puddles without being vaccinated annually for the disease.



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