Spring is the perfect time for your pet’s annual health exam, which should include a discussion with your veterinarian about your pets’ current age, environment, and lifestyle. It also should include a full examination to look for any abnormal changes in body condition or behavior. Currently, there are more than 40 different veterinary health exam programs in the US mainly due to the prevalence of various diseases in each part of the country. Your veterinarian will be able to help you understand what diseases your pet could be exposed to in your area.
Vaccinations are an important part of the annual health exam. Until recently, annual vaccinations were considered the norm for maintaining a healthy pet. However, major veterinary organizations, such as the American Animal Hospital Association, American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association, have taken a closer look at the best recommendations for a comprehensive vaccination schedule, and their findings may surprise you.
Current research shows that some vaccines may provide immunity for greater than one year. For this reason, some veterinarians are adopting a “skip-year” vaccine protocol and giving vaccines only every other year as a disease preventative for the pet. During the annual health examination, on the off vaccine year, a titer (test to determine if adequate antibodies for a particular disease are present) is taken to be sure that the pet is still protected. The USDA drug insert for vaccines still recommends yearly vaccination boosters. It is up to you and your veterinarian to decide what will be best for your pets’ health.
The 2003 American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Guidelines indicate that there are three vaccines no longer recommended: Corona virus (killed type and modified live type), Giardia lamblia (killed type), and Adenovirus-1 (also known as canine hepatitis vaccine). Again, it is important that you check with your veterinarian before discontinuing any vaccine. Certain areas of the country may have limited outbreaks of these diseases and therefore vaccinations would be a good idea.
Remember that the overall health exam and consult with your veterinarian during your pets’ annual or bi-annual visit can be even more important than the actual vaccinations in discovering hidden medical problems with your pet. If found early, most conditions and diseases can now be treated or managed to allow your pet to enjoy a wonderful quality of life.
If your pet has not seen a doctor in over a year, now’s a good time to spring into action and make an appointment today. It will be good for your pet’s health and your peace of mind.
Source: Peter H. Eeg, DVM, National Veterinary Consultant for Invisible Fence®Brand