Search Locations
Find Us
Open 7 Days a Week

Why Do Pets Need Vaccinations?

Pets need vaccinationsLike people, pets need vaccinations to stay healthy and to help prevent communicable diseases.

Vaccinations help prevent many illnesses that can affect pets. There are different vaccines for different diseases, as well as different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination have risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet, depending on factors like age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

Most vets recommend administering core vaccines to healthy pets, however, not every pet needs to be vaccinated against every disease. Talk with your veterinarian about a vaccination protocol that’s right for your pet, and in compliance with your state and local laws. Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some require yearly rabies vaccination, while other areas call for rabies vaccines to be administered every three years. In almost all states, proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory.

Understanding How Vaccines Work
Vaccines help prepare the immune system to fight disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which are similar in structure to the disease-causing organism but don’t actually cause the disease. The vaccine enters the body to mildly stimulate the immune system to fight the ‘disease’. If a pet is exposed to the real disease, the immune system is prepared to destroy the disease-causing organism entirely or reduce the severity and duration of the illness.

Vaccinations for Puppies 
Puppies receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. Your veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three- to four-week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Dogs
Some adult dogs may receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every three years or so. Your veterinarian will provide guidance.

Vaccines for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk and lifestyle. Non-core vaccines include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

Vaccinations For Kittens
Kittens receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Once the kitten is around six to eight weeks of age, your veterinarian should administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Cats
Vaccines for panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle. These include vaccines to protect against feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus. Adult cats might be revaccinated annually or every three years.

Your veterinarian can help determine what vaccines are best for your pet. Don’t forget, AZPetVet offers a FREE Vaccines for Life program that can help keep your pet healthy and protected for life, and save you some $$ along the way. (Use the savings for healthy treats and toys – they deserve it!)

The Importance of Dental Health

Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Dental care for humans and animals alike is something that should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is a critical part of keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues that come with dental disease. Want to know just a bit more? Dr. Tressa MacLennan from our Scottsdale location did a quick segment with a brief overview! Check it out:

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms in Pets

symptoms of allergies in petsCoughing, runny eyes and nose, stuffiness and congestion – people agree that seasonal allergies are miserable!

But did you know that pets can suffer from seasonal allergies, too?

Pets with seasonal allergies will exhibit very different symptoms from people. Here are some of the top symptoms to look for:

  • Constant scratching and licking 
  • Chewing of feet and pads
  • Scratching or rubbing of the face
  • Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent hot spots in dogs and facial scabs in cats
  • Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)
  • Foul odor from skin or coat may indicate secondary infections

Environmental allergens that are inhaled or come in contact with skin and cause irritation are known as atopy. Seasonal examples of atopy include ragweed, which will usually occur in the fall months. Reactions to spring pollens from trees and other plants will most commonly occur during April and May when trees and flowers are in full bloom.

Scratching is the single most common symptom of allergies in pets. Dog will often chew their feet and pads, which is a huge tip-off that they’re dealing with an environmental allergic reaction to pollens, mold or dust mites. This condition is known as allergic dermatitis.

Ear infections in dogs are also quite common symptoms of allergies. If you notice your dog or cat scratching at their ears, it’s likely that some form of allergen is causing irritation.

There are many products and treatments available to help ease allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for you and your pet.

 

How to Prevent Heartworms in Dogs

prevent heartworms in dogsWhat are Heartworms and how can I prevent them in my dog? 

Heartworms are every bit as disgusting and horrifying as the name suggests – they live inside the heart, lungs, and arteries of affected animals. A single worm can grow up to a foot long. Think about that for a minute.

Adult female heartworms also produce tiny baby worms called microfilaria that circulate through the bloodstream. Baby worms. Swimming in the bloodstream. It’s the stuff of horror movies. Only you and your vet can help prevent it.

How is Heartworm Disease Spread? 

Mosquitos are nature’s vampires and they spread heartworms. When an infected animal is bitten by a mosquito, it not only ingests the blood, but also the microfilaria contained in the host’s blood. Over the next 10-14 days, the microfilaria mature into infectious larvae.

The mosquito is now highly infective, primed and ready to transmit the larvae the next time it bites an animal. It will take about six months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms in the host animal, and from there, the cycle begins all over again.

  • Mature heart worms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats.
  • Each mosquito season put animals at risk for developing the disease or growing numbers of worms in already infected animals.

Signs of Heartworm Disease in Dogs 

In the early stages, many dogs will show few symptoms or worse, no symptoms at all. The longer the infection is present, the more likely symptoms will develop. Get your dog tested, and onto a course of preventive treatment if your vet recommends it. Signs of heartworm disease may include:

  • Mild persistent cough
  • Lethargy/avoids exertion
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

Signs of Heartworm Disease in Cats 

While most heartworms do not survive to adult stage in cats, it can happen. The signs can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include:

  • Coughing or asthma-like attacks
  • Periodic vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

Treatment of Heartworm Disease 

Prevention, prevention, prevention. Effective treatments for heartworms in dogs do exist, but they are expensive and painful for your pet. There is no treatment for heartworms in cats. 

How Often Should Cats See the Vet?

Cats need to visit the vet at least once per year, but ideally they should be seen every six months.

February is National Cat Health Month, so we’re going to look at some of the reasons why you need to make an appointment for your kitty ASAP!

 

  • Teeth cleaning & dental care (it’s also Pet Dental Health Month!)
  • Spaying & Neutering – cats are prolific breeders, so it’s a must
  • Changes in a cat’s health can happen quickly, so preventive care is important
  • Sick cats often show no signs of being ill – they hide symptoms and pain well
  • Early diagnosis of health problems equals early intervention/better outcome
  • Regular vaccinations are vital to protecting your pet from diseases

Don’t wait for veterinary visits – make regular head to toe exams for your cat part of your routine. While you might not know what to look for, you’re far more likely to pick up on any changes in your pet’s health, and as a bonus it helps your pet get used to being handled.

So when is the last time your cat got a health check up? If the answer isn’t within the last six months, then it’s time to give us a call.