Both people and pets are helped tremendously by the medical procedure known as immunization. Immunizing a pet is both smart and very inexpensive protection against a variety of deadly diseases that are known to infect both dogs and cats.  For many pet owners vaccinating their pets is a simple procedure.  While the process is simple, deciding which vaccines to give and when has become more complicated.  New vaccines for emerging diseases need to be given at different intervals and not all pets need every vaccination available to veterinarians.

In just the last decade many new vaccines were developed for diseases that plagued our dogs and cats.  These are great technical and biological advances, but each pet is different and requires individual assessments.  In addition we are learning that some vaccines provide immunity for longer than a year, which means we can vaccinate them for certain diseases less than we previously thought.  “The introduction of so many new vaccines over the past 10 years justifies the need for the veterinary profession to critically address which vaccines are being administered to which patients and at which stage of life.” says Dr. Richard Ford, veterinarian and professor of medicine at North Carolina’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  “Some vaccinations are known to protect for years, while others do not even protect for 12 months.”

So what is our recommendation for your dog or cat?  Research shows that if pets can be seen once or twice a year, more diseases and conditions can be diagnosed early while they are still easy and inexpensive to treat.  Dietary concerns, dental health, senior problems all have caused our veterinarians to begin asking our patients to visit the hospital for an exam every 6 months to help discover problems, correct early signs and educate owners about preventing disease.  At these visits, our technicians and doctors will discuss your pet’s lifestyle and determine which vaccines are necessary.

Puppies and kittens present a special case.  Because the immunity from their mother is waning in those early months, it is important to boost their protection against disease with vaccines given at much shorter intervals, generally every 3 weeks until they reach 16 weeks of age.

Yearly or twice yearly exams by one of our veterinarians allows us to catch more diseases early and start treatments which will make most problems easier to treat and less expensive in the long run.  Considering that our dogs and cats age faster than people, these exams are vital.

At The Animal Medical Clinics, we make every attempt to make your pet’s preventive care as affordable as possible while maintaining the high level of quality your pet needs.  For information about how your pet can qualify for a free 6 month wellness exam, click on one of the links below to learn about our Healthy Canine and Feline Clubs: