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.