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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!)

National Adopt a Cat Month

Beautiful white cat holds a sign saying adopt me.June is the American Humane Society’s Adopt a Cat month and the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat month, so if you’ve been thinking about adding a feline friend (or two) to your family, hooray! There are thousands of beautiful cats of all ages in shelters – all are just waiting for a good home.

If it’s been a while since you adopted a new cat, it’s also a great time to review tips that can help east the stress of bringing a new kitty into your home. Cats are territorial animals, so they’re most likely going to be confused and scared until they settle in. It’s definitely a process, but it’s well worth the effort.

Here are a few tips for helping new kitties settle in:

Consider Adopting Two: If you don’t already have a cat at home, oddly enough you’ll find things to be easier if you adopt a pair. Obviously, it’s important that they get along – with the shelter full of Spring litters, finding bonded pairs is much easier. Cats need stimulation and exercise, and having two provides exactly that – someone to play with when you’re not around. Trust us, they’ll provide plenty of laughs and love for you along the way.

Provide a Safe, Confined Space: New kitties need safe space like a laundry room, spare bedroom or bathroom to live in while they’re adjusting to their new surroundings. A cozy bed, cardboard box or cat carrier can provide a sense of safety for your new friend, but remember, your kitty needs to be able to stand up and turn around easily. Give them access to plenty of food, fresh water and a clean litter box with an inch or two of litter inside their room , but be sure to keep the litter box away from their food. Nobody wants to have dinner next to their toilet, no matter how clean it’s kept.

Patience is Key: It might take a week or two for your new cat or kitten to feel safe enough to come out and explore. if you have other pets in the home, keep them separated from the newcomer and introduce them slowly. They will be very aware of each other’s presence – a baby gate can help keep boundaries intact.Don’t push things. Always keep dogs leashed when they’re meeting the newest family member. Correct them immediately with a command like “Sit!” or “Stay!” if they show any signs of jealousy or threatening behavior. Be extra careful with small children – they can get overexcited and squeeze or pet too roughly, causing the cat to struggle, scratch or bite out of fear.

Book a Wellness Visit: Your vet will carefully examine your new pet, give them any vaccinations, and advise you on good preventive care routine, including regular dental cleanings. We would be honored to help you keep your new pet healthy and happy longer. Find an AZPetVet location near you. Be sure to ask about our new kitten packages and FREE Vaccines for Life program!

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:

Key Ways to Keep Cats Happy and Healthy

It’s been said that dogs have owners, and cats have staff. Cat people can testify to the truth of this statement! Our furry friends rely on us to keep them safe and fed, so here are some key ways to make sure your furry overlord stays happy and healthy for years to come:

Take them for regular veterinary exams: Your cat needs an annual physical so your vet can monitor health changes – better yet, take them to the vet every six months. During an annual exam, we check for signs that can indicate health problems like dental disease, gingivitis, abnormal thyroid, heart murmurs, kidney disease, tumors, and other possible health concerns. Regular health exams are especially important for senior pets (ages 7 and up), so if you haven’t been to the vet lately, make an appointment.

Weight control – fat cats may be cute, but obesity can kill: An estimated 40 to 70 percent of cats in the United States are obese, which is a strong risk factor for developing diabetes. While diabetes can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes, prevention is a better approach.

If your cat is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about a weight loss program. From reducing the amount that you’re feeding your cat, moving them to a more metabolic-friendly diet, to using a slow-feeding method that’s more aligned to their natural predatory instincts – your vet can help determine the right moves for your pet’s health.

Give them plenty of potty options: What’s the magic number of litter boxes for cats? Simple – one litter box per cat plus one more. So if you have two cats, you’ll need at least three litter boxes.  Three cats require at least four boxes, and so on. Why the extra box? Well, nobody likes using a dirty bathroom (scoop daily!).

Cats can also be quite picky, territorial, or downright jerks to one another. Cats have been known to block access to the box or intimidate others to keep them out of the litter box. Make sure there are options on each floor of your home or in multiple rooms so you can avoid any nasty surprises. Once again – scoop daily!

If you have a sufficient number of clean litter boxes, but your cat refuses to use the box, you may need to change to another litter (avoid highly scented ones!). If the problem continues, have your vet check for medical problems like urinary tract disease, kidney problems, or urethral obstruction.

Play time is more than just play: Take a break every day to play with your cat. Regular play time can help keep your kitty’s weight down, provide mental and physical stimulation, and strengthen your bond. Make sure your cat/s have plenty of exciting interactive toys that satisfy their need to pounce, swat, and stalk – these will go a long way towards preventing the 3 am “I’m awake, get up and play” moments.

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.