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Vaccinating Your Pets: Why, When and Against What?

Sharing your home with a pet involves a commitment for the health, safety, well-being and comfort of that animal. There are no guarantees, of course, but there are specific steps to take in fulfillment of that responsibility. It would be a mistake to be captivated by a cute face with no consideration for ongoing financial and emotional needs. A pet owner needs to provide:

Food and Shelter

Exercise and Training

Care and Comfort



Why vaccinate? In most places, it's the law. But, beyond that, it's a wise decision to protect your pet, your family and your neighborhood. The cost, in terms of dollars and heartache, is much higher if your animal contracts a disease that a vaccination protects against. Even though such shots are not 100 percent safe, the risks generally are low.

Initial vaccinations, the so called "puppy shots" are generally begun at about eight weeks. Puppies and kittens lose the natural immunity they receive from their mothers once they stop nursing, so initial vaccinations are usually administered beginning at about eight weeks of age.

Our Edmonton veterinarian will discuss a recommended vaccination schedule with you at the time you bring an animal in for its initial wellness check. Because it is important to only vaccinate healthy animals, we must first examine your pet. At that time, we will also discuss our recommendations for vaccines other than rabies, distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus, most commonly given to pups. Core vaccines for cats, in addition to rabies, include feline distemper, feline calici virus, and feline herpes.

What Else?

Depending upon specific risk factors, area of the country and lifestyle, we may recommend additional vaccinations for your pet, and we will discuss your options with you so you can make an informed decision. Other serious conditions may be prevented by a simple vaccination, including Lyme Disease, Bordetella and Giardia.

Booster shots are administered throughout the animal's life; the timing of boosters is not always uniform, however. As caring professionals, we do our best to remain informed about latest recommendations, and we are aware that there are some conflicting opinions. In discussing your best choices for pet care, we defer to your wishes, and our goal is to provide you the most current and most complete information available to assist you in making decisions.

If you travel with your pet, you should also learn about requirements elsewhere, and make provision not only for required proof of vaccination, but also for microchipping, if necessary.

One final concern: We recommend spay and neuter procedures for all animals, in an effort to lower the population of unwanted pets and stray animals and to prevent animal abuse. It's the humane thing to do and is generally a simple procedure.

There are abundant reasons to bring a pet into your life, but there are even more important reasons to care for it properly. Won't you let us help you? Contact us to learn about all our services.