Vaccinations

Vaccinations are not only safe and effective, they are an important and fundamental aspect of maintaining your pet’s health. Vaccines protect our pets against debilitating diseases and help ensure they live longer, healthier lives. Over the years, vaccines have virtually eliminated a number of fatal diseases that were once common and in turn, have saved the lives of millions of pets. Unfortunately, many infectious diseases still pose a significant threat to unvaccinated dogs and cats.

Feline Vaccinations

Cats are very different creatures than dogs – they have different immune systems, and there are different diseases that can affect their quality of life. The vaccine recommendations our doctors make for your cat are always based on a review of your cat’s health history, environment, activities, and lifestyle. In general, the vaccines we recommend protection against Rabies, “Distemper” (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia) and the Feline Leukemia virus.

Rabies

The Rabies vaccine is recommended (and required) for all pets. Rabies is a virus that kills all mammals that are exposed, including humans. Therefore an important method of protecting your family from this virus is vaccinating your pets.

Feline Distemper

Feline panleukopenia (also called feline distemper) is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease of cats. Because of the serious nature of the virus and the continued presence of the virus in the environment, vaccination is highly recommended for all cats.

Calici Virus and Rhinotracheitis

Feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis virus are the most common causes of upper respiratory tract disease in cats. Most cats are exposed to either or both of these viruses at some time in their lives. Once infected, cats will never completely rid themselves of the virus. But, even if your cat has already been exposed, vaccinating them will minimize the severity of their respiratory infection.

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the leading viral killer of cats. The virus is passed from one cat to another through bite wounds, casual contact with infected cats, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. If your cat goes outside or has contact with cats that go outdoors, your cat is at risk of being exposed to this virus. Therefore, we recommend the Feline Leukemia vaccine for all cats that go outdoors.

Canine Vaccines

Not every dog needs every available vaccine. Our vaccine recommendations are based on a review of your dogs’ health history, environment, activities, and lifestyle. These recommendations may change over the course of your dog’s life, as travel habits, environment, and health status may change. We consider all of these factors to determine the appropriate vaccines for your dog.

Rabies

The Rabies vaccine is recommended (and required) for all pets. Rabies is a virus that kills all mammals that are exposed, including humans. Therefore an important method of protecting your family from this virus is vaccinating your pets.

Distemper

We consider the Distemper Vaccine to be fundamental protection for your dog, and we usually recommended this vaccine for every dog living in our area. The Distemper vaccine protects your dog from four viruses that can make your dog very sick: Parvovirus, Distemper virus, Adenovirus-2, and Parainfluenza. The abbreviation for this combination vaccine is frequently written as “DHPP,” or “DAPP” in their medical record.

Other vaccines that we may recommend for your dog include a vaccination against upper respiratory infection (Bordetella brontispetica), Lyme disease, and Leptospirosis.

Bordetella

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that causes respiratory disease in dogs. It is one of the most common bacterial causes of canine infectious tracheobronchitis, or “kennel cough”. Bordetella bacteria are highly contagious, easily transmitted through direct contact or the air, and resistant to destruction in the environment. Our doctors may recommend the Bordetella vaccine for your dog if you take them regularly to a groomer, a boarding facility, or you take your dog in public places where they may encounter other dogs, such as dog park.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the black-legged (deer) tick, which is found in overwhelming numbers in our community. Symptoms of Lyme disease include joint pain, depression and even kidney failure. If your dog spends any time outdoors at all, especially near fields or woods, then a vaccination against Lyme disease is essential.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a serious disease that dogs get by drinking, walking or swimming in water contaminated with microscopic bacteria. This bacteria is spread by infected mice, rats, raccoons, possum, and even other dogs. The good news is, leptospirosis can be prevented with a simple shot. Ask us if your dog is at risk!

How often will my pet receive vaccinations?

Vaccines are administered each year during your pet’s annual wellness exam. Our veterinarian will determine which vaccinations are necessary for your pet based on an assessment of your pet’s health history and their risk of exposure to disease.

How will my pet respond after receiving vaccines?

Most pets experience mild soreness at the site of the injection after vaccination. The soreness may last for up to 24 hours, but usually, it disappears within a few hours. Some other responses your pet may have to vaccinations include discomfort and swelling at the site of the vaccine, a mild fever, and a mild decrease in appetite and activity.

We always ask you to closely observe your pet during the first 24 hours after they have received their vaccines. Vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of their face, or extreme lethargy are signs of a more serious response to their vaccine. If you see any changes that concern you, do not hesitate to call us.

Are any vaccines required by law?

Pennsylvania law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against Rabies virus. This vaccine is first given by a veterinarian at 12 weeks of age and is the only way to prevent your pet from succumbing to the Rabies virus.

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