Keeping Up With Pet Vaccinations

One area I have trouble with keeping up with is vaccinations.  With so many pets I would think that I would do better at keeping track of when the appointments are due, but as with many things, I am usually running a bit behind schedule. My veterinarian gives me encouragement to be on time and reminds me of why it is so important. I know life can get away with us, and we get busy, or our finances may limit what we can afford. I would like to discuss what shots are necessary, some affordable options, and how you can stay on track with your pets’ vaccinations. 

I’m being honest in the fact that I procrastinate and overload my schedule to the point that I forget some of the basics. I’m sure that many of you have the same problem. It’s very easy to think that your pets are protected in your own home but as we will discuss it may take only the simple bite of a mosquito to transmit disease. 

The basic shots for dogs are distemper and rabies, additional shots like Bordatella (Kennel Cough) or Lyme disease may be suggested by your vet. The distemper shot, as we commonly call it, actually contains vaccines for 4 different diseases.  Distemper, or DHPP, contains vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. 

Cat shots are similar, they include basics like distemper and rabies. For cats the ‘distemper’ shot is called the FVRCP-C and contains vaccines for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Chlamydia. There are also optional shots for Feline Leukemia and FIV Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. 

I just want to help you and I understand the importance of getting our pets vaccinated and why. It's easy to get busy and forget, and many believe that their pets are safe in their own homes.  Some of the above-mentioned diseases are spread through close contact with other animals, but there are preventable diseases like heartworm that are transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. 

While you are getting vaccines for your pet, be sure to follow up with a heartworm test and exam. This is where I get behind. Then I end up paying for the blood test all over again.  Before being on any preventative, dogs must be tested. Now we realize all the things we should be doing and why, how can we stop procrastinating, stay on schedule easier, and find a better way to afford vaccinations? 

First, talk to your vet. Get familiar with what shots your pet needs and ask how you can make it easier. Many vets will offer 2-year vaccinations that will save money and the number of vet trips. Ask about local shot clinics that are offered in your area. I know there are a number of ‘Shot Saturdays’ at our local farm supply store. These are offered by qualified veterinarians, of course. Call ahead to be sure of the rules, some are offered outside and some are inside the store. 

In the end, it’s the law to keep your pet vaccinated, and being on time is also a part of that law.  These laws were put in place for our protection as well as for our pets, so finding a way to get it done is essential.  Taking the time to get familiar with the programs available in your own community can make it easier and less expensive for your family.  You may come across other pet health resources, as well. These resources can make your pet’s life fuller and more satisfying.  For you, a longer, happier life with your pet is the end result.