Regular Pet Vaccinations Key to Veterinary Health

Our animal hospital team is regularly asked by owners why regular pet vaccinations are so important. To understand this concept, it is first important to understand what pet vaccinations are.

A vaccination is a medical procedure, usually administered in an animal hospital setting, designed to induce immunity against infectious diseases. This is relatively similar to vaccinations given to small children early in life and to the public during flu season. While all medical procedures, including vaccinations, are associated with potential risks; the benefits clearly warrant vaccinating our patients. Vaccines save countless lives by protecting beloved pets from many diseases.

Cat and Dog Vaccinations

As a member of the Cherokee Trail family of veterinary hospitals, we evaluate each pet’s situation individually to determine their vaccine needs.

Puppy and Dog Vaccinations: Every puppy should begin their vaccine series at six to eight weeks of age, and be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they are approximately four months of age. After the initial series, some dog vaccinations need a booster during the pet’s annual exam with their veterinarian, while others can be given every three years. Most animal hospitals will determine the schedule, based on the dog’s breed, lifestyle, and other factors. Many jurisdictions also require dogs to have a rabies vaccination prior to having them licensed.

Cat and Kitten Vaccinations: Just as with dog vaccinations, kittens should also begin their vaccine series at six to eight weeks of age. They should also be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they are approximately four months of age. Some cat and kitten vaccinations need a booster annually during a regular animal vet clinic exam, while others can be given every three years. Again, it is up to the animal vet clinic to make a determination of when a particular vaccine is warranted.

Just as not all veterinary hospitals are the same, not all pet vaccinations are equal. We carefully select the vaccines which we deem to be the safest available for cats and dogs. Some vaccines contain a compound called an adjuvant, which helps make the product induce a stronger immune response. This may increase the risk of vaccine-associated problems in cats. At Lake Murray Animal Hospital in Gilbert, our veterinary team only uses adjuvant free vaccines in cat and kitten vaccination treatment.

Pets should always be monitored carefully after receiving vaccinations. If there is a change in behavior or health indicating an adverse reaction, contact an animal vet clinic immediately for guidance. A few symptoms of an ill reaction include vomiting, swelling of the vaccination site, and lack of eating, drinking, or eliminating waste.

Pet owners interested in puppy, dog, cat, and kitten vaccinations can contact us directly at (803) 892-7070. If it is after business hours or an emergency, please contact the Cherokee Trail family of veterinary hospitals at (803) 359-6611.