Frequently Asked Questions
Does my pet need vaccinations?
As with children, pets are given vaccines to establish, or strengthen, their immunity to certain diseases. By giving these vaccinations at specified times, your pet's body can maintain the necessary immunity needed to protect itself from many damaging and sometimes fatal diseases.
Frequency Of Vaccinations
For many years, most vaccinations have been given annually. Studies are being done now for the first time to determine the actual length of immunity produced by the vaccinations that are used in dogs and cats. Results of these tests will affect future recommendations by veterinarians for these vaccines.
At this time, I recommend annual vaccinations for both dogs and cats for some vaccines. Others are given every 3 years for the safety of the pet. As new studies provide more information, my recommendations will change to mirror new facts. Veterinarians at Westover Animal Hospital make their suggestions on health care based on what they believe is in the best interest of your pet.
My Pet Always Stays Inside
My dog only goes outside to go to the bathroom...why should I vaccinate him? What about worms, and what they call heartworms?
Even a short trip into the yard can result in your pet coming in contact with diseases. Intestinal parasites can be contracted when your pet comes in contact with infected "poop" that another dog may have left in your yard. Heartworm disease can be contracted if your pet is bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten a heartworm infected dog. Parvo can be contracted even if your pet comes in contact with an infected dog for only a matter of minutes. Certainly the risk is less for pets that are out only occasionaly, but it does still exist; therefore prevention with vaccines and monthly heartworm pills is still the best prevention.
Vaccinations given to cats at Westover Animal Hospital are produced in a way to help prevent vaccination sarcomas, a form of feline cancer that has received much attention lately.*
My cat isn't around other cats and he/she only goes out on my deck..should I vaccinate against feline leukemia and what is it? What about all of those other diseases I hear about?
Feline leukemia is a disease that breaks down the immune system of your cat. It is a fatal disease and there is currently NO treatment available. It is also a disease that is highly contagious. Certainly your cat is at minimal risk in comparison to a cat who is outdoors frequently and tends to wander more, but it only takes your cat coming in contact with an infected cat for a brief moment for your cat to become infected. This disease is transmitted by way of contact (sneezing, grooming, sharing food & water) The vaccine is currently given annually for indoor cats. It is a vaccine that only takes seconds to administer but can protect your feline friend for a lifetime.
Indoor cats are also affected by all of the other feline diseases, feline distemper, rhinotracheitis, pneumonitis, rabies and feline infectious peritonitis, intestinal parasites and heartworms, too. All they have to do is come in contact with an infected animal through the fence or an area where an infected animal has had a bowl movement, or an infected mosquito in the case of heartworms. Protection through vaccination and examinations, or oral medication is simple. Treating the diseases that results from inaction is not.
If my dog is taking monthly heartworm prevention, why should I test for the disease every year?
The reason for testing your dog for heartworm disease each year is simple: you cannot be 100% sure that all the monthly heartworm pills stayed in your pet long enough to be fully digested. All of us have experienced our dogs vomitting for no reason. They eat grass, garbage and toys, so who knows when you may give your pet his/her pill and moments later, without your knowledge, he spits it up and is now unprotected. By testing annually we cover the bases and know for sure that your pet is not infected with heartworm disease. Another reason is that most of the heartworm preventions on the market today carry a guarantee. That is, they will pay for your pets treatment if it becomes infected with heartworm or intestinal parasites...THE CATCH?....you have to have proof from your veterinarian that an annual heartworm test and fecal test were preformed.
* Depending upon availability