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One of the most important parts being a pet owner is making sure your pet is healthy. Good food and a happy home go a long way, but every pet needs vaccinations on a regular schedule to prevent serious diseases and conditions. Even pets that live indoors need to be vaccinated, as they may become infected from a simple walk in the park. At Glen Park Animal Hospital, Dr. Larson advises that puppies and kittens should receive their first vaccinations beginning at around six to eight weeks of age. Your pet will need a regularly scheduled booster every 3 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age and then annual vaccines and check up every year of its life.
Adult cats and dogs need regular animal shots as well as puppies and kittens. Our office will advise you about when you should bring in your pet for vaccinations, but they're generally done as part of a general wellness checkup.
Pet vaccinations are divided into two types: core and non-core. Core vaccinations are the ones that every pet needs to get, and some are even required by law. Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, are only given to pet that need them. This often depends on your pet's lifestyle: whether it roams in woods a lot, if your board your pet in kennels frequently, if your dog runs in the dog park every week. Speak with Dr. Larson during your pet's wellness checkup and he'll advise you on which vaccinations are appropriate for your pet.
Core vaccines for dogs include a combination vaccine called DHPP. It's commonly known as a distemper shot, but it actually protects against four separate diseases. In addition, Indiana law states that all dogs over the age of 3 months be vaccinated against rabies.
Non-core vaccines for dogs include bordetella, also known as kennel cough, for dogs that are boarded frequently, Lyme disease for those dogs that may be exposed to tick areas, and the flu virus strain H3N2 if any other dogs come into your dogs general area. Leptospirosis vaccine is also recommended in general as it causes kidney failure and is spread by wild animal urine, primarily raccoon urine, and raccoons tend to get everywhere.
For cats, core vaccines include their own combination "distemper shot," known as FVRCP. In addition, all cats must be vaccinated against rabies before the age of 3 months.
The main non-core vaccine for cats is feline leukemia. This vaccine is needed for cats that go outdoors, but is recommended in all cats as this is a deadly disease with no cure and the vaccine is very good at protecting your cat from the disease. The other non core cat vaccines are more controversial or have some drawbacks and Dr Larson does not recommend them.
Your pet deserves to live a long and healthy life, and vaccinations are one important tool we use to make sure that happens. If you live in the Merrillville, Hobart, or Gary area, call Glen Park Animal Hospital at 219-915-0057. We'll be happy to make an appointment for your dog or cat to begin its series of core and non-core vaccinations.
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I have been bringing all of my dogs to Glen Park Animal Hospital for the past 20 years and have found their service to be excellent! I am a nurse and have found that the care, competency and compassion that the entire staff gives to the animals is as good as (and in some instances even better than) the "human doctors/hospitals"!! Dr. Larson explains everything and does good follow-up with my "fur-babies". You can tell that the entire staff loves their job!
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