Why Are Pet Vaccinations Important?
Pet vaccinations protect against dangerous and potentially lethal diseases. In fact, it’s only been in the last 100 years that some animal diseases have been contained. This is thanks in large part to the responsible use of vaccines. At one time, feline distemper was the leading cause of disease in cats, but today it’s relatively uncommon. Rabies is still prevalent in wildlife and is considered zoonotic because it can be passed to people. Therefore, annual vaccination against rabies is required by law. At West Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Charleston, we work to give our patients complete protection by administering core vaccines but also determining lifestyle-specific ones.
Core Vaccines for All Pets
Some pet vaccines are considered core by the greater veterinary community due to the risk they pose to cats and dogs. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have set forth guidelines on what vaccines are core and how often they should be readministered. Some are updated according to your pet’s individual needs after we ascertain their lifestyle and potential exposure levels. In any case, our skilled doctors will advise you on a proper vaccination schedule for your four-legged friend.
Core vaccines for cats include:
- Feline distemper is administered in one dose but protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.
Core vaccines for dogs include:
- Canine distemper is administered in one dose but protects against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
Lifestyle Pet Vaccinations
During your pet’s examination, we ask you a number of questions to decide whether your pet requires any noncore, or lifestyle, vaccines. Though we don’t routinely administer lifestyle vaccines to all pets, they are no less important. This is especially the case if your pet is at risk of catching some of the illnesses they prevent.
Some of the questions we may ask to determine your pet’s exposure risk include:
- Does your pet stay indoors, outdoors, or both?
- What other pets are in your home?
- Do you travel to other parts of the country with your pet?
- Do you board your pet or frequent dog parks?
Depending on your answers to our questions, we may recommend vaccines like Bordetella or canine influenza. Cats who go outside may need to be protected against feline leukemia.
Visit Us to Start a New Pet’s Vaccination Series
When puppies and kittens are nursing, they receive needed antibodies from their mother’s milk. They may be less tiny when they start weaning, but their growing bodies are susceptible to illness. So, it’s important to visit us with a new pet to give them a complete nose-to-tail exam and administer immune boosting vaccines. If you’ve recently adopted an adult pet, gather as much health history as you can before your visit. If their vaccination history is unknown, we make recommendations on initial vaccinations. Contact us for more information or to schedule a full nose-to-tail exam today!