September brings with it the close of summer, the beginning of fall and the start of school. As parents, my wife Diana and I find it difficult to say goodbye to our daughter as she goes off to school. While we are very proud of the woman she has become, we really do feel like it is still our job to protect her from the rest of the world! The same is true for our furry family members. We want to protect them and keep them healthy and safe. Just like in humans, the use of vaccinations in pets has helped to all but eradicate certain diseases commonly seen in dogs and cats.

We vaccinate dogs against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella (kennel cough) and Rabies. Rabies vaccinations are legally mandatory due to the fact that it is such a dangerous disease for both animals and humans. Rabies is preventable and yet still kills 55,000 people worldwide each year. If your pet is not current on their rabies vaccine and comes into contact with an animal that may potentially carry rabies or if your pet bites a person without proof that their rabies vaccine is up-to-date they will have to be quarantined and possibly even euthanized. Don’t take this chance and make sure your pet is protected.

In cats we vaccinate against Rabies, Panleukopenia Virus and Adenovirus (hepatitis). Especially in the case of outdoor cats, vaccinations are extremely important. That said, indoor cats can still be exposed to dangerous viruses and so it is very important that we keep them protected.

We follow the most current vaccination protocols as outlined by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). That said, each pet is unique and we always take your pet’s age and medical history as well as lifestyle into consideration when identifying what vaccinations will be given to them. Puppies and kittens, just like in babies, require boosters to help build their immune system, putting them on the right path for a long and healthy life.

As a veterinarian I find it heartbreaking when families come in with an ill pet. Knowing that there are such dangerous diseases out there which we can keep our pets safe from with a simple set of vaccinations, I urge you to please air on the side of Prevention. Treatment can not only be expensive, it can also be dangerous and sometimes impossible. As September rolls around, please check to make sure that your pet is protected and safe, the same way we want our children to be as they begin a brand new school year.