At Hampstead Animal Hospital we strongly recommend keeping your pet up to date on vaccinations and annual wellness exams. Regular wellness exams allow your veterinarian to evaluate your pet's general health and become aware of any health problems before they become serious illnesses. Every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to five to seven human years, so it is important that your pet receives a wellness exam at least every year, and more often when he or she enters their senior years. Many aspects of your pet's health can change in a short amount of time, so make sure your pet does not miss even one exam!
There are many available vaccines and not all pets should be vaccinated with all of them. Your veterinarian will consider your pet's risk of exposure based on many factors such as your geographic location, travel plans, and contact with other animals. The frequency of vaccinations is also based on individual factors. Your veterinarian will tailor a vaccination program that is best for your pet.
Kittens and puppies require a series of vaccinations (similar to children) due to their developing immune system. An incomplete series of vaccinations may lead to inadequate protection so it is critical to complete the entire regimen.
In many communities, including Rockingham County, rabies vaccination is required by law for all cats and dogs over the age of 4 months. Rabies is a serious, often fatal, disease that can spread from infected animals to people. Vaccinating your pets against rabies also helps to protect your family and may save your pet's life if they bite someone—unvaccinated animals may have to be euthanized to test for rabies if they bite someone.
In summary, vaccinations are part of a total wellness plan for your pet and your veterinarian will determine the best schedule based on your pet's risk and lifestyle.
To read more about the vaccines we recommend for cats and dogs click on the link below:
What vaccinations does my dog need?
Your veterinarian will recommend vaccinations after considering several factors: what kind of exposure to disease your pet has, what diseases are common in the area you live, what kind of stress factors your pet faces, and the overall health of your pet. At Hampstead Animal Hospital your veterinarian may recommend many or all of the following vaccines to keep your dog protected:
Rabies: Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. It is given to puppies after they reach 12 weeks of age and then every one to three years in adult dogs. It is considered a core vaccine and in most places is required by law.
Canine distemper (DHPP): What we call the canine distemper vaccine is actually a combination of four vaccines: distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza. It is given to puppies in a series of three or four vaccines and then given every one to three years to adult dogs. Along with rabies, DHPP is considered a core vaccine.
Bordatella (kennel cough): The classical combination for uncomplicated kennel cough is infection with parainfluenza or adenovirus Type 2 with Bordetella bronchiseptica. Classically, dogs become infected with this when they are kept in a crowded situation with poor air circulation and lots of warm air (i.e., a boarding kennel, vaccination clinic, obedience class, local park, animal shelter or grooming parlor). Talk to your veterinarian to see if this vaccine is recommended for your pet.
Lyme: Lyme disease in dogs is caused by the transmission of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that can occur through a tick bite. This vaccine prevents infection in dogs vaccinated before any exposure to the bacteria. It is given to puppies in a series of two vaccines and then annual vaccinations are needed for continued protection.
Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease in dog, multiple animal species and humans that occurs in countries around the world. Dogs will typically come into contact with the leptospira bacteria in infected water, soil, or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected animal.
What vaccinations does my cat need?
At Hampstead Animal Hospital your veterinarian may recommend many or all of the following vaccines to keep your cat protected:
Feline distemper (FVRCP): This is a combination vaccine that protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia – all of which are extremely contagious and cause severe disease and potentially death. It is extremely important to keep your cat up to date on their distemper vaccine. This vaccine is given to kittens in a series of three or four vaccines and then given every one to three years to adult cats.
Rabies: Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. At Hampstead Animal Hospital our veterinarians recommend giving this vaccine annually to cats.
Feline leukemia (FeLV): Feline leukemia virus is a common infection of cats. It's the cause of more cat deaths, directly or indirectly, than any other organism and is widespread in the cat population. This vaccine is given to kittens in a series of two vaccines and then given annually to adult cats.
Please visit our page Vaccinations: What to expect after your pet's vaccination to learn about the signs of vaccine reaction to monitor for!