Many pet parents ask us: Is it really necessary? We believe in practicing the best medicine, which means only such care that is in the best interest of your pet.
Your pet may not need certain kinds of preventative care depending on his or her habits and lifestyle.
But what is really necessary? To stay healthy and happy for a long time, your pet needs core vaccinations, heartworm protection, and flea, tick, and parasite preventatives all year-round!
‘Are Vaccinations Always Necessary?’
Basically, yes. Core vaccinations are life-saving care.
The rabies vaccine is required for both cats and dogs by North Carolina law regardless of the health of the pet. This is to protect humans! The rabies vaccine is killed, which means it cannot make your pet sick. There may be some mild soreness at the injection site.
Some vaccinations may not be necessary. Other vaccinations, such as lepto or lyme, depend on your pet’s health, history, exposure, and lifestyle. We may recommend not administering certain vaccinations to sick or senior pets.
Dr. Goetz is very cautious. AHBC uses only the safest vaccinations, which have been extensively studied and proven safe and effective. We do caution that allergic reactions can happen with any vaccine. We watch carefully for any vaccine reaction; in the event of a vaccine reaction, we can prescribe pre-vaccination medication such as Benadryl.
What are core vaccinations for dogs? In addition to the rabies vaccine, core vaccinations in dogs include DA2PP, commonly called simply distemper, which protects against canine distemper, hepatitis (adenovirus), parvovirus, and parainfluenza, a respiratory infection.
The bordetella vaccine, which is administered on the nose, prevents tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, which is intensely contagious and especially important for any dogs who go to daycare, boarding, grooming, or dog parks.
What are core vaccinations for cats? In addition to the rabies vaccine, core vaccinations for cats include FVRCP, commonly called feline distemper, which protects against three potentially deadly airborne viruses: rhinotracheitis (herpes), calicivirus, and panleukopenia. (Feline distemper is unrelated to canine distemper). FVRCP also prevents feline leukemia.
‘Is Heartworm Protection Really Necessary?’
Yes. Yes. Yes! All dogs and cats should be on heartworm protection, consistently and year-round. North Carolina is a hot spot for mosquitos, and mosquitos transmit heartworms.
It only takes one bite one time to transmit heartworms from an infected mosquito into your fur baby.
It is simply terrible for a dog or cat to suffer or die from heartworms. Heartworms damage the heart and lungs. Treating a dog for heartworms costs much more than heartworm preventative products, and is much harder on the dog than simply preventing heartworms in the first place.
Numerous studies prove dogs and cats can get heartworms any day of the year, even in the dead of winter. Yes, even indoor cats: 28 percent of feline heartworm cases are discovered in indoor-only cats. There is no medical intervention for cats with heartworms.
Pets are almost never completely unexposed to mosquitos and other parasites, including fleas. We humans track the outside in every time we come through the door.
‘Is Flea Protection Necessary? Is It Safe?’
A hundred times yes. North Carolina is flea-zone central.
We often see pet parents whose home is infested with fleas but who only have one indoor-only cat! Fleas are present year-round, although we often see a surge of flea activity during cold periods because we track them inside and during wet periods when they hatch.
We offer many safe flea preventative products in different forms: topical, oral, and collars.
Dr. Goetz believes in using only the safest and most efficacious products available. She uses our flea preventatives on her own dogs and cats, and she has carefully researched and approved all the products we carry both in house and on our online pharmacy. Over-the-counter flea preventative products are simply not as effective and not as safe.
We advocate for prevention. Flea infestations are very hard on both you and your pet. They take up to three months to resolve if you treat all your pets and the entire home and up to six months if you only treat the pet. Flea bites are painful and can spread disease and parasites such as tapeworms.
No flea preventative kills fleas instantly. But the preventatives and treatments we prescribe at Animal Hospital at Brier Creek kill fleas before they lay eggs, while OTC products may not.
At AHBC, we do everything we can to keep your pet safe, happy, and healthy.