VACCINATIONS, PARASITE PREVENTION, RABIES, AND HEALTH CERTIFICATES
"Women and cats do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” - Robert A. Heinlein
"One Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure"
Wellness visits are the time to implement strict measures to prevent infections whether it is from viruses which can be prevented with vaccination, to preventing flea and tick infestations. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have established preventive health guidelines in response to startling statistics that show that while veterinary visits are declining, preventable diseases are on the rise. So, simple adherence to some basic prevention protocols are encouraged to ensure the good health of all of our pets.
Petchester Veterinary believes that there are no “one-size-fits-all” vaccination protocols. Though we encourage all pets be vaccinated since it is the most effective way to prevent disease, we also realize that certain animals, depending on their habits and habitats, can be more at risk or become a risk to others--animals and humans alike. Certain situations. like if an animal travels, is boarded in a kennel situation, is exposed to other animals at the dog park, groomer, or obedience classes, can imply additional risk so vaccination protocols are designed individually. We also may recommend doing antibody titers in place of repeat vaccinations but will work with you to understand your pet’s risk factors so that we can recommend only vaccinations that he or she needs. More specific recommendations can be found under young animal vaccinations.
Rabies (for dogs, cats, and ferrets) is one of the vaccinations that is mandated by law since this also poses a significant human health risk. Furthermore, rabies is endemic in many of our native mammals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Under New York State Law, dogs and cats must receive their first rabies vaccination no later than 4 months after birth. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine and an additional booster given annually, or every three years depending on the type of vaccine used. A rabies tag will be issued after vaccination which should be identified on the collar. All animal bites or contacts with animals that are suspected of being rabid must be reported to the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000. After hours, callers should follow instructions in the recorded message for reporting public health emergencies 24 hours a day. To learn more about rabies and its prevention, all Westchester County, New York residents can visit Westchester's Health Department’s website.
When traveling, interstate and/or internationally, you will need official APHIS (Animal and Plant Inspection Service) health certificates delineating immunization status. Our veterinarians are USDA- accredited which is necessary to issue these documents. In order to obtain these certificates, you must review the requirements of the country of destination and can do this by going to the link at APHIS and bring the necessary information and documentation with you when you come in for your office visit.
When it comes to pets and parasites, most people immediately think of external parasites like fleas and ticks. Even though they are quite small, it’s usually fairly obvious when a pet has them. Unfortunately, there are many other internal parasites that go undetected, such as intestinal worms. These are important to treat since they can be transmissible to humans. That’s why, when you bring your pet to see us, our veterinarians will conduct a comprehensive fecal analysis and discuss how you can protect your pet and your family from potential parasites. There are other internal parasites, such as heartworms, which are crucial to prevent since they can be deadly to both dogs and cats. More information about the guidelines about parasite prevention can be found at the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).
Pets suffering from flea allergies account for more than 50% of veterinary dermatological cases. In addition to causing pets severe discomfort, fleas can also transmit parasites and diseases, including tapeworms and Bartonella—which causes "cat scratch disease" in humans.Thankfully, there are many flea treatments available to help protect your pet and your home. Our veterinarians will be happy to discuss which product will best suit your pet’s needs.
Ticks are also a serious problem in our region not only because of their parasitic nature but also because they are vectors for other bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia species and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fortunately, we now have good tick preventives available. However, since these are not always full-proof, we always recommend regular, thorough, whole-body, external evaluations to look for attached ticks and to remove them as quickly as possible.
There are a whole host of intestinal parasites that may affect your animals from roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms to Giardia sp. and Coccidia sp. What is even more important is that many of these can be zoonotic (transferrable to humans), so eliminating these from your pet is crucial. Thankfully, there are medical treatments to treat these infections and these will be discussed with you beginning at your first young animal visit.
Heartworm can be transmitted by 60 different species of mosquitos and can occur in all 50 states of the US. Though dogs are the primary hosts of this parasite, it can occur in many other species such as domestic and wild cats, wild canids, ferrets, and even humans. For this reason, we recommend a heartworm preventive once a month for all pets.