Wellness Exams and Vaccines

Wellness Examinations  Healthy Pets = Happy Homes

Regular comprehensive physical exams are one of the most important steps that you can take to protect your pet. Our pets have shorter life spans that we do and since pets age faster, they are more likely to develop health problems each year. The physical exam is one of the most effective ways to detect problems early. Early detection leads to prompt treatment and better health.

  video otoscope Just like when you go to your doctor, the physical exam may also include recommended vaccinations, blood work,urinalysis, or other lab tests on a periodic basis. These recommendations are based on the breed, age, and overall health or your pet. Some tests such as fecal examinations for parasites and the blood test for heartworms are performed on a yearly basis. Other tests, such as a general blood screening panel, may be recommended less often for a young health pet, and more often for senior pets, breeds that are predisposed to certain illnesses, or pets with a history of illness.

The need for vaccination ("dog shots" and "cat shots") can be a confusing subject, so the following is a general overview.  We will create a vaccination schedule that will fit your pet's needs and lifestyle.  We separate our vaccine into "Core" and "Non-core" vaccines. 

Core Vaccines:  Core vaccines are defined as those vaccines which ALL dogs, regardless of circumstances, should receive. Core vaccines protect animals from severe, life-threatening diseases.  These vaccines include Rabies and Distemper combination vaccines.

Rabies (1 and 3 year):  In the state of Massachusetts, Rabies vaccinations are required by law.  Rabies is a contagious and fatal viral disease that is transmissible through saliva to humans.  The first rabies shot in an animal's life is always only good for one year.  This applies regardless of the animal's age at the time of vaccination. 

Canine Distemper Combo (1 and 3 year):  One of the most frequent misconceptions about canine distemper is that is has something to do with the temperament or personality of the dog.  This is not the case.  Canine distemper is actually a contagious viral disease that can be passed from one dog to another, usually through the aerosolization of respiratory secretions that occurs when an infected dog coughs. The distemper vaccine can contain one or more of the following:  Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus/Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. 

Feline Distemper Combo (1 and 3 year):  Our feline distemper combo covers 3 different, highly contagious diseases in cats:  Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s and cat's exposure risk. These include vaccines against Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme), Leptospira bacteria (lepto), Canine Influenza (CIV), Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough), and feline leukemia.  Due to the wildlife and tick exposure on Cape Cod, we highly recommend both the Lyme and Lepto vaccinations for dogs.  If your dog or cat board or your dog goes to dog parks, we strongly recommend kennel cough and CIV.  If your cat goes outside we strongly recommend both the leukemia and FIV.

We can discuss what is best for your pet during your office visit!