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Which Vaccines Does My Pet Really Need?

By Species, By Topic, Care & Wellness, Cats, Dogs, Medications

In years past, you took your pet to the veterinarian once a year where they received all the annual vaccines with their wellness exam, heartworm preventative and flea and tick medication. One stop and you were on your way! Today, there are many more vaccines available to protect your pet. All of these new vaccines, however, may not be appropriate for each individual pet in all circumstances.

There is no longer a “one-size-fits-all” vaccination program. With individualized programs, your pet’s vaccines change based on the time it spends outdoors, the other pets it lives with, where you live, the pet’s age, housing arrangements, and travel. What this means to you is that your pet must see your veterinarian yearly (twice a year once they become a senior) to update and assess its wellness. At these visits, it is also important to inform your veterinarian of any changes from the last visit. This requires you to share in more of the responsibility for your pet’s well being, as opposed to having your veterinarian make standard decisions for you. Some vaccines, like Rabies, will be dictated by State Law or local ordinances. Other standard vaccines, such as Distemper, will still be required regularly, while still, other vaccines may be necessary due to your pet’s “risk” factors. Your veterinarian can discuss those possible risk factors with you and, perhaps, even highlight some factors that you haven’t thought about.

  • Does your cat go outside or is it a 100% indoor cat? Or, was your kitten an indoor kitten and now it goes out sometimes?
  • Do you travel with your pet?
  • Do you walk your dog in the park?
  • Do you go to dog shows?
  • Do you kennel your pet?
  • Did you recently add or adopt a new pet into your house? Or foster a pet for a while?

As you can see, the vaccination program that you began with your pet as a kitten or a puppy may not necessarily be the same program that your pet will be on in its later years. New vaccines may be added depending on your pet’s lifestyle at that particular age.

Even though it is not as “easy” as it was years ago, DO NOT neglect your pet’s vaccinations. Many people fear vaccines as they read horror stories on the Internet. While it is important not to over-vaccinate, since vaccines have greatly decreased the number of infectious diseases we treat, it is equally important to vaccinate appropriately. It is much easier to prevent these diseases with vaccinations, as opposed to trying to treat the disease process. Some of the diseases are not treatable (i.e. Rabies), and can be fatal (i.e. FIV), while others are not simple to make an accurate timely diagnosis and can remain with your pet for years (i.e. Lyme)! Vaccination is the best way for you to protect your pet and have many healthy and happy years with them!

Call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 to start your pet’s vaccine schedule.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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