Vaccinations

Vaccines in green are included in the Free Vaccines For Life program.

When should I get my pet vaccinated? Vaccinations can begin any time after your pet is six weeks old. Your puppy will need additional vaccinations every four weeks after that, until they are at least 16 weeks old. This is usually four sets of shots.

Which vaccinations should I get? Below are the various diseases for which pets are vaccinated. Rabies is required by law in Mississippi and Tennessee. Greenbrook Companion Animal Hospital uses a three year vaccine for Rabies. Whether your pet requires vaccinations for other illnesses depends on many factors. You should discuss which vaccines are best for your pet with Dr. McCain.

DOGS

  • Rabies. Rabies is a viral disease causing temperament changes, inability to swallow and convulsions. It is ultimately fatal and can be transmitted to almost all warm blooded animals including humans.
  • Distemper. Distemper is a highly contagious virus that affects the respiratory system. It causes fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and in many cases, death. (Distemper is not included on the Free Vaccines for Life program but may be purchased for an additional charge)
  • Parvovirus. Parvo is a highly contagious disease that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It often leads to death.
  • Parainfluenza and Adenovirus. These cause a highly contagious respiratory disease which can lead to pneumonia.
  • Lyme disease. Lyme disease is spread by ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferii bacteria. It causes severe pain, lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. It can also cause crippling joint, cardiac, kidney and neurological disease.
  • Bordetella. Bordetella is more commonly known as kennel cough. This vaccine is required by many boarding facilities.

CATS

  • Rabies. Reported feline rabies in cats exceeds that of all other domestic animals. Rabies is a viral disease causing temperament changes, inability to swallow and convulsions. It is ultimately fatal and can be transmitted to almost all warm blooded animals including humans.
  • Feline Panleukopenia. Also known as feline distemper, it is caused by a different virus than in dogs. It is highly contagious and often fatal.
  • Feline Calicivirus/Herpes virus. These viruses are responsible for 80-90% of upper respiratory infections in cats. This vaccine will help to minimize the severity of the infections.
  • Feline Leukemia. FeLV is the leading viral cause of death in cats. It is spread through bites, casual contact with infected cats, and from mother cats to her kittens. It is usually fatal once symptoms develop.
  • Rhinotrachetis Virus. FVR is the cause of severe upper respiratory infections in cats causing sneezing, discharge from eyes and nose, and corneal ulcers.

I have read that vaccinations are dangerous. Is this true? There has been a growing concern that pets are being over vaccinated. Whether this is because we are vaccinating for too many illnesses, or vaccinating too often are both being evaluated by the profession. As a result, it is important that you speak with Dr. McCain about which vaccinations are appropriate for your pet, how often they should be administered, and what the effects of these vaccines may be. Due to the the devastating effects of these illnesses, the benefits often outweigh the risks. One change that has been made by Greenbrook Companion Animal Hospital to minimize the frequency of vaccinations, is the adoption of a three year rabies vaccination to reduce the frequency of this administration. Dr. McCain believes that it is very important for pet owners to be fully informed, and will take the time necessary to give you all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision.

How often should I visit the vet for check-ups? We recommend that you bring your pet for a check-up every six months. Pets are frequently exposed to organisms that can cause disease in your pet. In addition, pets age seven times faster than people. This means that changes in your pet’s health can occur very quickly. By visiting the vet for a semi-annual wellness exam, the vet can frequently detect problems early, preventing more serious problems from developing. Twice a year visits help your pet’s doctor to detect, treat, and ideally prevent health problems before they pose a serious risk to you pet.  You must have an annual exam if you are enrolled in the Free Vaccines for Life Program