Preventive Health Care Vaccinations for Your Pet

As medical professionals, we know it is far easier to vaccinate to prevent diseases than it is to try to treat the illnesses. While not every pet needs every vaccination, all dogs and cats need some vaccinations.



As medical professionals, we know it is far easier to vaccinate to prevent diseases than it is to try to treat the illnesses. While not every pet needs every vaccination, all dogs and cats need some vaccinations. Our veterinarians will examine your pet and make recommendations as to the proper vaccination protocol based on a variety of factors, including your pet’s age, health, prior vaccination, potential exposure to diseases, and lifestyle.

To be certain your pet is as healthy as possible, Ballston Animal Hospital requires a physical examination prior to receiving vaccinations. Pets with illnesses, organ problems, or parasites may not be able to respond properly to the vaccines. Vaccinations could even be harmful to an animal with existing health problems. The veterinarian may suggest fecal examinations, blood screening, or other laboratory tests to make sure your pet is well enough to be vaccinated.

In addition, all kittens and puppies should receive a series of vaccines during their first year to ensure they are adequately protected.

Vaccines Recommended for all Dogs:

Additional Dog Vaccines—Please ask your veterinarian about your pet’s exposure risks to these other diseases.

Vaccines Recommended for all Cats:

Additional cat vaccine — please discuss possible exposure of your cat to Feline Leukemia with your veterinarian. This vaccine is only recommended for kittens and cats that go outside.

Your veterinarian will let you know if your pet requires boosters of the vaccines. Note that puppies and kittens should receive booster immunizations until they are at least 12 – 16 weeks old. Older pets with no vaccination history will also require booster vaccines. The needs of adult pets will vary and the doctor will design an individualized vaccine booster program to meet your pet’s needs.

A Note on Pet Vaccinations: Potential Risks and Side Effects.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the increased use of vaccinations in pets over the last century has been hugely successful in preventing death and disease in millions of animals. Certain diseases are much less prevalent now than they were in the past in the United States as a result of pet vaccination campaigns such as Rabies, Parvo, and Distemper. The benefit of controlling the spread of these diseases is broad — all of them can affect populations of wildlife, and some of these diseases can be spread to people. Rabies, for example, is a very serious disease, fatal if transmitted to people. Therefore, immunizing your animal against diseases helps protect your pet, your family, and your community.

As is the case with human medicine, the use of any vaccination runs some risk to the health of the patient. These risks must be carefully weighed against the benefits of protecting your pet and your family from the spread of disease. Some pets may experience mild reactions to vaccines that should subside within a couple of days, including tenderness or swelling at the injection site, decreased activity, fever, or loss of appetite. More serious problems can occur following vaccinations that indicate a serious allergic reaction, such as vomiting or diarrhea, swollen face or legs, overall severe itching, breathing difficulties, or collapse. If any of these symptoms occur, please contact your veterinarian immediately; after hours call the nearest emergency facility.

A rare but serious reaction, injection–site sarcoma, can occur at vaccination sites in cats. A small bump at the injection site following vaccination is normal and should disappear after a few weeks; but sometimes bumps that persist for longer periods of time, or that increase in size, should be checked out by your veterinarian. For more information about this please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

Our veterinarians understand that you may have many questions about the proper vaccines for your pet. We look forward to answering any questions and developing a vaccine schedule that meets your pet’s unique needs.

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