Veterinarian serving Jacksonville, FL and nearby communities answers your questions about vaccinations
At San Marco Animal Hospital, we offer puppy and kitten vaccinations in Jacksonville FL and nearby communities. We also offer client education, answering your questions and helping you understand your pet’s health needs. Vaccinations are a topic of concern and confusion for many.
The right time for vaccination
We cannot overstate the importance of vaccinating young animals. Puppies and kittens have fragile, not fully developed, immune systems. They are far more vulnerable to common contagious diseases than adult animals are. Furthermore, pets are much like people, in that diseases tend to be most dangerous to babies and the elderly or ill. For kittens and puppies, we recommend vaccinations beginning at six weeks of age.
There is currently considerable disagreement among the veterinary community, as well as pet owners, regarding vaccinations for adult animals. In the past, nearly all veterinarians recommended annual booster shots for all pets. However, today we have a better understanding of vaccinations, thanks to years of research and advancing science.
We know that formulas often provide immunity for much longer than one year, and that overuse of certain vaccines may have long-term health implications. Any risks or negative side effects of necessary vaccinations are minimal when compared to the risk of potentially fatal disease. However, it is senseless to expose an animal to additional vaccinations if it already has immunity. We typically recommend a schedule of every three years for adult animals, although this may vary depending on the specific vaccination in question and the likelihood of exposure.
What vaccinations does your pet need?
Core vaccinations include herpesvirus and calicivirus for cats, parvovirus and adenovirus for dogs, as well as rabies and distemper for both. These immunizations cover the most common and deadly canine and feline diseases. They are essential for the health and safety of new puppies and kittens. In the cases of feline rabies, the vaccination is also required by law.
There are many other vaccinations available, which are considered non-core. That means your pet might not need them at all, or the risk of the specific disease is generally low. For example, Lyme disease is found in Florida, but it is not common. In northern locations it is far more prevalent. Therefore, the Lyme vaccination is considered non-core, and many clients forgo it. However, you might opt to include it if your dog frequents a tick-infested area, if you plan on traveling or moving to the northeast, or if you simply prefer to avoid any risk.
When you visit San Marco Animal Hospital, we will discuss the vaccinations that are available, and help you choose which ones are best for your furry friend. We work with you to devise a customized plan to keep your pet safe and healthy.
Some of the factors to consider when choosing vaccinations include:
- Location – Dr. Venkat Gutta has been practicing veterinary medicine in the Jacksonville, FL area for more than a decade. He and his team are quite familiar with the local prevalence of various canine and feline diseases. This is one of the advantages of choosing a local veterinarian.
- Lifestyle – The likelihood of exposure to certain diseases can depend on you and your pet’s typical activities. For example, a dog that is kept in your home and exercised in your yard is much less likely to contract kennel cough than one that has daily walks in the dog park and frequent stays at a boarding facility.
- Travel plans – Are you planning to move, or take your pet on vacation with you? If so, please discuss your plans with Dr. Gutta. This is important because many vaccinations are location-dependent.
- Your concerns and preferences – Some of our clients prefer to minimize any kind of medication, fearing unwanted side effects. Others worry about potential disease exposure and prefer to give their pets maximum immunity. We strive to educate and assist our clients in making these important decisions, but we always respect your choices and preferences.
- Health of the animal – Some cats or dogs may be especially susceptible to a condition due to other health factors, making vaccination more desirable. On the other hand, some animals may have conditions that increase the risk of adverse reactions, in which case it is best to avoid extra vaccinations if possible. Every animal is different, and we are committed to helping you choose the best solutions for your dear friend.
If you have questions about vaccinations, or you would like to schedule an appointment with San Marco Animal Hospital, please call 904-399-5557.