Vaccinations

PictureProper vaccination is a crucial step to preventing contagious, potentially life-threatening diseases. It is far easier to vaccinate to prevent diseases such as distemper or parvovirus than it is to try to treat the illnesses. As a matter of fact, several diseases that are easily preventable with proper vaccination cannot be successfully treated and can kill beloved pets. This is often the situation with diseases such as feline leukemia, distemper, and even in many cases of parvovirus. It is very important to make sure that your pet's vaccinations are kept current and that you discuss vaccinations with our doctors, so that your pet can receive the proper vaccines at the proper intervals.

Not every animal needs every vaccination, but all pets need some vaccinations. The doctors will examine your pets and make recommendations as to the proper vaccination protocol for your individual pets. This decision will be based on a variety of factors, including your pet's age, health, prior vaccination, potential exposure to diseases, and lifestyle. So a 10 year old dog that never leaves the house will requite a different vaccine protocol than a 2 year old show dog. And an indoor cat may require different vaccines than one that lives outside. In addition, all kittens and puppies must receive a series of vaccines to make sure they are adequately protected. Once your pet is an adult, the animal may be given some vaccines annually and others at longer intervals.

Some of the vaccines recommended in our area include:

Dogs

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvovirus
  • Lyme disease
  • Kennel cough
  • Rabies

Cats

  • Distemper (feline panleukopenia)
  • Feline rhinotracheitis
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline leukemia
  • Rabies

The doctors at the Animal Hospital of Chester County recommend that all pets be examined prior to receiving vaccinations. This ensures that your pet is as healthy as possible, so the vaccines will work correctly. Pets with illnesses, organ problems, or parasites may not be able to respond properly to the vaccines and the vaccines may not work as well as needed. The veterinarians may suggest fecal examinations, blood work, or other laboratory tests to make sure that your pet is in tiptop shape before being vaccinated.

Many of the vaccines are given as combination injections. So do not be surprised to find that your pet is vaccinated against 5 or even 6 contagious illnesses with only one injection! Additionally, some vaccines, such as kennel cough, do not require an injection. The vaccine is administered through painless nose drops during the office call. Finally, the doctors will let you know if your pet requires boosters of the vaccines. This is a requirement in young pets, as they receive injections until they are 16 weeks old. Boosters are also often needed for older pets with no history of vaccinations. So, stray pets may need two injections, approximately 3-4 weeks apart, to gain proper immunity.

The vaccine needs of adult pets will vary and the doctors will design an individualized vaccine booster program to meet your pet's needs. Some pets will need some vaccines every year, some may have blood tests to check their immunity levels, and some will only need vaccines every third year. The doctors understand that you may have many questions about the proper vaccines for your pet. They look forward to answering any questions and developing a vaccine schedule that meets your pet's unique needs.