Pets deserve basic medical
By Christine Ferguson
The best advise a pet owner can be
given is to provide their new or aging pet the same basic medical care
they would give to themselves or other family members.
Much like babies, puppies and
kittens are not naturally immune to diseases. They receive short- term
antibody protection from their mom, but need a series of vaccines
administered to "pick up where mom leaves off," so to speak. The correct
time to begin vaccinating a kitten or puppy can vary, but for the most
part, the series should begin as early as 6 weeks of age and then every
3 weeks thereafter. Almost all researchers agree that for puppies and
kittens, we need to give at least three combination vaccinations and
repeat these at one year of age.
Law requires rabies vaccines, and
the schedule for vaccinations can vary from state to state. Here in
Idaho, the first time a dog is vaccinated; it is valid for one year.
Thereafter, a rabies booster is given every three years.
There are two classifications of
vaccinations: core and non-core. Your core group is often given to your
pet in the form of a 5-way or 7-way booster. Non-core vaccinations
should be considered for pets that are frequently boarded, show dogs or
cats, or travel out of the area.
At the shelter, we often receive
puppies and kittens that were separated from their mom prematurely. In
this instance, we error on the side of safety, and vaccinate the new
arrivals as early as deemed safe. Any animal that comes to live at our
shelter is vaccinated with all core vaccines suggested for its age and
Once again, like humans, donít
over medicate pets with vaccines they have no need for. If you are
traveling to a state that has reported cases of lyme disease or
heartworm, it is then wise to vaccinate or medicate your pet
accordingly. If you frequently board your pet, pet hotels almost always
require bordetella. Itís smart and prudent to request a vaccination
certificate from your local veterinary care center when your pet
receives its annual boosters. Carry a copy with you, when traveling with
Itís important to understand that
any medication/vaccine needs time to become effective. If you share your
time between multiple homes, plan ahead regarding your petís care. As an
example, if you are planning to administer flea and tick medication, it
is best to begin 30 days before you relocate to the infected area. Most
veterinarians suggest heartworm medication be given on a regular monthly
basis once prescribed. This medication protects your pet against many
different types of parasites, not merely heartworm.
Just as itís suggested that we
consult our personal physician before using a new medication, itís wise
to practice the same procedure with pets. Over medicating or vaccinating
pets can make them immune to the product. In general, most cats and dogs
should receive an annual core booster vaccination with a wellness check
from their favorite veterinarian.
Christine Ferguson is the
president of the Board of Directors for the Animal Shelter of the Wood