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Countryside Veterinary Clinic administers pet vaccinations in Charles Town as a basic part of pet wellness care. If you are not familiar with veterinary concerns or have never owned an animal up to this point, it is understandable that you might not know exactly what the pet vaccinations can do to safeguard your new pet’s health. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions we get from pet owners regarding dog vaccinations and cat vaccinations.
What is a vaccination? A vaccination is an injection designed to make an animal's immune system create antibodies against specific infections. This protection is necessary once the antibodies transferred from mothers to newborn puppies and kittens wears off, which generally occurs within weeks of birth.
Are pet vaccinations harmful for my pet? In the vast majority of cases, vaccinations cause no ill effects in pets. Some animals may react with mild side effects such as fever, swelling, redness and digestive upsets.
What does "core vaccinations" mean? Core vaccinations protect against a handful of particularly common and dangerous illnesses. Both cat vaccinations and dog vaccinations target rabies among these illnesses, since rabies is invariably fatal to pets and easily spread to humans and other mammals. Canine Influenza is another important vaccination, it is a growing concern as it has recently become more prevalent due to a mutation that has crossed over from Equine Influenza.
Which core vaccinations will my pet need? Core dog vaccinations include protection against rabies, canine hepatitis, parvovirus, and canine distemper. Core cat vaccinations include protection against rabies, feline calicivirus, feline distemper, and FHV.
What other kinds of vaccinations should I consider? In some cases we may recommend additional optional vaccinations depending on your pet's risk to other types of diseases. If your dog spends a lot of time in boarding facilities, for instance, we may recommend that he receive a vaccination against "kennel cough." Dogs that have a life style which brings them into contact with other dogs, such as going to dog parks, visiting pet stores, going hiking, walking, camping at camp sites, etc. should be vaccinated since the disease is highly contagious and is passed easily when there is contact - especially nose to nose - with other dogs. We also highly recommend vaccinating your pet local tick-borne ailments, particularly Lyme disease as we have many deer here in Charles Town and Ranson that carry ticks.
Why does my pet need booster shots? Just as the original immunity provided by a mother's milk fades over time, prescribed vaccines have a limited protective span, and when they wear off your pet will once again be vulnerable to certain deadly diseases. Updates or "booster shots" keep the level of immunity at a consistent strength to ensure the best possible protection for life.
How often must vaccinations be updated? Different vaccines provide protection for different lengths of time, ranging from just one year (in the case of rabies) to several years. We can provide you with a schedule showing when each vaccine should be updated. If for some reason you miss a scheduled update, make sure you bring your pet to us as soon as possible for a new shot.
We urge Charles Town animal owners to schedule the necessary pet vaccinations and updates at our clinic. Dr. Dibbern will be happy to provide your pet with the protection he needs to help ensure a long and healthy life.