Wellness Care & Vaccinations
At Westmount Animal Clinic we like to focus on preventive medicine whenever possible. To help your pets stay healthy it is important to have a physical examination at least once a year for young pets and twice a year for senior pets. At this time we assess your pets’ overall health, nutritional status and answer any questions you may have regarding your pets’ health and behaviour. We will provide you with updated information on current recommendations for preventive health care as well as parasite prevention . Simply put regular yearly/bi-annual exams focus on keeping your pets healthy and confronting problems before they get out of hand.
Although some vaccines are generally recommended for all dogs and cats, our veterinarians can assist you in selecting vaccines for your pet based on the unique set of risks faced by your pet. Some factors to be considered include the number of pets in the household, exposure to other pets or wild animals, age and health status of your pet, as well as travel and kenneling considerations. By measuring blood titre levels of antibodies to the core vaccines we can determine whether immunity needs boosting or not (at this time titers are available for dogs only).
Research has shown that both puppy and kitten maternal antibodies can persist for months and their immune systems are initially slow to develop, both contributing to poor immune response to early vaccination. In our practice area it is recommended that those pets at high risk should get their first vaccine at 8 weeks, but both puppies and kittens really need the 12 week and especially the 16 to 18 week booster to maximize their immune development.
Adult cats get the respiratory series which includes a herpes virus (Rhinotracheitis) and Calici virus and the Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) vaccines yearly, all combined into one injection. It is much safer to give these “unadjuvanted” vaccines yearly than to use the extended three year vaccines with adjuvants, that have been shown to cause sarcoma cancer in some cats.
*We only give the Feline Leukemia Virus vaccine to those outdoor cats at risk.*
Our core canine vaccines; Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus are licensed for only 1 year but have been tested to last longer. As such we promote testing your pet’s immunity levels with a quick blood test at the time of their first adult check up. It is better to know if your pup has an adequately functioning immune system and can mount lasting immunity to vaccines, rather than just giving a vaccine injection that some pets will not need. If indeed the immunity drops below protective levels, we can then boost the vaccine with confidence.
Rabies vaccine is given once every three years for the life of your pet and because titre testing is so expensive, usually only pets going for export get their Rabies immunity levels tested.
*Bordetella vaccine if needed is given yearly to some and twice yearly for those at high risk such as those frequenting day cares, boarding facilities and grooming parlours or in some cases given incidentally only when your pet needs to be kenneled.*