Are vaccinations harmful and not necessary for my pet? Vaccines are necessary. There are many viruses out there which pets are commonly exposed to which can cause severe health issues and in many cases can be fatal. However, not all vaccines are necessary for every pet. Non “core” vaccines which you may have heard of may include vaccinations for Lyme disease, FIP, Toxoplasmosis, Ringworm, Corona Virus, Feline Leukemia Virus, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Leptospirosis, Giardia, etc. Which vaccines to give and the frequency of boostering will vary from pet to pet based on the pet’s age, lifestyle, and where they live. We tailor our vaccine protocol to each pet so that your pet will never receive vaccines it doesn’t need . We base our recommendation on those made by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association (www.aahanet.org). Rabies vaccination is required by law. Every dog and cat in SC and NC must be immunized for rabies by 16 weeks of age, and then every 1-3 years thereafter.
Will vaccinating my cat cause cancer? In cats, any injection can cause an inflammatory recation at the injection site and/or cancer. However, certain types of vaccines are more likely to cause reactions. Because “killed” vaccines are not always effective, chemicals (adjuvants) have been added to help stimulate the immune response. We use Purevax® for rabies, fvrcp and leukemia. We use a combination rabies and fvrcp vaccine so that your pet only has to receive one injection. If we feel your pet needs a leukemia vaccine as well, we administer it using the Vetjet system. The vaccine is adminstered transdermally in the muscle of the back leg by air pressure instead of with a needle. No injection means no cancer! This also provides enhanced immunity and no discomfort!
Do I need to use heartworm prevention year-round? Yes. Heartworms are contracted from mosquitos. In regions of the country like the Southeast, where mosquitos can survive year round, dogs need to be on heartworm prevention year-round and for their entire life. There are many types of prevention out there including some combination flea and intestinal parasite control. Our staff can assist you with which type is best for your pet. Cats are species-resistant to heartworms and typically do not need to be on prevention. However, our most common monthly flea control for cats, Advantage Multi, is also a heartworm preventative, intestinal parasite dewormer, and treatment for ear mites. This means most of our feline patients are on heartworm prevention anyway. Formore information on canine and feline heartworm disease, visit www.heartwormsociety.org.
What is microchipping? Microchipping is a form of permanent identification that is administered under the skin in the back of the neck. It is administered with a 14 gauge needle and can be painful. It is usually recommended to have your pet microchipped when he or she is under anesthesia for their spay or neuter. However, many pets will have it done while they are awake. Any pet that shows up at a shelter or that is picked up by animal control will be scanned for a chip in an attempt at reuniting it with its owner. We use HomeAgain microchips. This company provides a lot of “extras” such as alerting all local veterinarians and shelters when you report your pet missing. For more information, visit www.homeagain.com.
Why do I need to get my pet spayed or neutered? Of course, there is the obvious reason of controlling pet overpopulation by preventing accidental pregnancies. However, there are health reasons as well. Unspayed females will have increased chances of pyometra and other reproductive infections and cancer. Unneutered males will have prostatic enlargement, discomfort, and possible infection or cancer of the prostate as well as the testicles. Neutered males are also less likely to roam or mark their territory. Unless you are planning to breed your pet, there is no disadvantage. Having your pet fixed does NOT make them fat or lazy!
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