Throughout 2020, many people in our West Loop community have added new cats and dogs to their families. Whenever we welcome new animals into our homes, it’s important to set them up for health success. It’s important to create a safe space for them, ranging from setting up a bed to puppy and kitten proofing your home. Another important step is to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians to start their vaccination schedule. Our team will not only assess your pet’s overall health and go over the mandatory and optional vaccinations for your pet’s happy and healthy life.
It’s best to schedule your first appointment with one of our veterinarians within a few days of bringing your new pet home. Our veterinarian will review everything you need to know about appropriate care for their age. At West Loop Veterinary Care, we understand a reluctance with regards to vaccinations exists, however, there are legal requirements and specific disease dangers in our community and surrounding states. Our team will provide a personalized recommendation for the vaccination schedule specific to your pet’s needs based on its age, health, and lifestyle. Before scheduling your appointment, make sure to gather any health paperwork you may have received from your breeder or shelter.
Why Cat & Dog Vaccinations are Important in Chicago, IL
Vaccinations and pest prevention are important for cats and dogs because they help prevent disease in animals and reduce the risk of diseases spreading to people. Rabies is a good example. Each year, rabies kills nearly 60,000 people worldwide. Most of those deaths occurred because individuals caught the virus from unvaccinated dogs. In the United States, laws require cats (even indoor cats in Illinois), dogs and ferrets to be up to date on their rabies vaccinations. As a result, only one or two people in the United States die each year from rabies, which is nearly 100% fatal once symptoms appear. Rabies is not the only zoonotic illness that can be prevented by the vaccination.
When you meet with our veterinarian, they review the core vaccines that every pet should receive, as well as determine if any non-core vaccines are appropriate for your pet. Core vaccines are important for prevention of common diseases. Some of these diseases are treatable if they are contracted and some are not. Core vaccines are necessary for all cats and dogs due to the risk of exposure, severity of the disease, or the transmissibility to humans. Some non-core vaccines may also be appropriate because a disease is common in our area or because of the lifestyle you and your pet will lead. When the dog flu broke out in Chicago in 2015, the West Loop neighborhood was ground zero because of the density of pets living and interacting in the neighborhood. Therefore, the canine influenza vaccine is often recommended for dogs in our area, especially those dogs that visit dog parks, dog beaches, and daycare.
Core Vaccines for Cats & Dogs Include:
- FVRCP- Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, and Feline Calicivirus
- Canine Distemper/Parvovirus
- Canine Leptospirosis
- Canine Influenza
Kittens and puppies typically receive vaccinations on a schedule with the following intervals:
- 6-8 Weeks
- 9-12 Weeks
- 12-15 Weeks
- 15-17 Weeks
Even once your cat or dog receives its core vaccinations, it may need booster shots to provide continued protection from disease throughout its life. Our team can talk with you about what is best for your pet and which boosters may be appropriate. In some instances, it may be possible to perform bloodwork to determine the level of protection your pet has from a particular disease and whether additional boosters are necessary. These blood tests are called titer tests and help measure the level of antibodies your pet has to a particular disease.
As we have seen from the COVID-19 pandemic in humans, and from the dog flu outbreak several years ago, unchecked viruses and other illnesses can cause serious health problems and rapidly spread throughout a community.
Maintain a Schedule with your Veterinarian
West Loop Veterinary Care is committed to providing outstanding care for pets and excellent service for the people who love them. This includes partnering with you to determine an appropriate schedule of annual health visits, appropriate vaccinations and preventative care to help your cat or dog live a healthier, happier and longer life. Call 312-421-2275 and schedule a preventative care appointment for your cat or dog today. You can learn more about pet vaccinations from the American Veterinary Medical Association.