Personalized Pet Vaccinations and Why They Matter

One of the hottest new trends in veterinary care is the concept of personalized pet vaccinations for your furry family members. While the initial reaction is the idea of a super-customized plan that probably costs an arm and a leg, the reality is that many veterinarians provide this as part of their care of your pet—and we at Ambassador Animal Hospital in Greenville, SC, do, as well.

A personalized pet vaccination treatment plan simply means that we consider the lifestyle of your pet and of your family, and make recommendations on vaccinations and preventative treatments according to that.

For example, if you have an indoor cat in your home with no access to the outdoors (including screened porches), and he has had his kitten series of Feline Leukemia vaccines, chances are that he won’t need that vaccination continued in his adult life.  On the other hand, a cat who goes outside, or lives with another infected cat, would require the vaccine, to prevent the disease, which causes immunosuppression and other illnesses, including cancer.

The truth is, while there are some pet vaccines (like rabies and distemper) that are required in most cases for most animals, there are additional vaccinations that are more specialized to the animal, their history and their lifestyle; here is a short list of some that you may want to consider:

Lyme Disease

Carried primarily by ticks, this disease can cause a myriad of problems, including fever, joint swelling, loss of appetite, and loss of movement in the limbs. If your pet is active outdoors, enjoys playing in long grass, or hiking in the woods, or if you have ever found ticks on your pet, you may want to consult your veterinarian about this vaccine.

Influenza

Just like in humans, influenza can take your precious pooch out for a bit while they struggle through the illness. Mostly respiratory in animals, influenza is contagious and in some cases can be spread from animals to humans, so it’s best to check up on this vaccine during your annual visit.

Feline Leukemia

An autoimmune disease found in cats, Feline Leukemia can be transferred between cats by saliva, nasal secretions, mutual grooming, and shared food/water bowls. If your cat is indoor/outdoor, has any access to the outside world, or you have another cat who is positive for FeLV, you should have your pet vaccinated.

Bordetella

More commonly known as “kennel cough”, this bacterial infection can affect dogs (and rarely cats).  It is highly contagious and strongly recommended for any dog who is considered “social.”  This would include trips to the groomers/bathers, going to the dog park, strolling downtown or at our lovely parks, and visiting pet stores.  Symptoms include: a persistent cough or hack, fever, lethargy, runny nose, and in extreme cases, pneumonia or death.

Leptospirosis

A bacterial infection that is shed in the urine of infected animals, into the grass where they urinate.  It is picked up by companion animals through contact with mucus membranes (sniffing at the urine left behind in the grass, like we all know our dogs love to do). This disease can effect most mammals, and is usually thought to be spread by racoons, possums, skunks, rats, and mice.   It is also zoonotic, meaning it can be spread between animals and humans, making it an even bigger hazard for families. While some animals show few signs of infection, symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, changes in thirst or appetite, and inflammation of the eyes. In extreme cases it can cause kidney and/or liver failure.

As always, if any of these diseases or potential vaccinations concern you, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian at Ambassador Animal Hospital. We are happy to give you advice on what your pet should and shouldn’t receive in terms of vaccinations.

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