The Need for Cat and Dog Vaccinations in Key Largo, FL
Pet vaccinations are a safe and easy way to keep diseases from spreading among dogs and cats. At Island Hammock Pet Hospital, our doctors and staff are aware of over-vaccination concerns here in Key Largo, which is why we make sure pets only receive the vaccines they absolutely need to stay healthy. We also closely track your pet’s vaccination dates to ensure that they continue to get vaccinated for the right diseases at the right time.
Pets should start getting their booster shots at 6-8 weeks old. For dogs, this includes immunizations against rabies, distemper, and leptospirosis. For cats, this includes rabies, feline panleukopenia, and leukemia.
We offer vaccines for other diseases as well, including kennel cough, Lyme, and influenza. However, we generally only require these for pets that are more at risk than others.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection typically found in damp soil, puddles, lakes, and ponds. These bacteria are often spread via the urine of infected wildlife, which your pet can unknowingly ingest or inhale. It can also be transmitted into their bloodstream via a small cut or scrape on their skin. Leptospirosis symptoms are nonspecific and in some cases nonexistent in pets. Humans can also become infected with leptospirosis, so take precautions when letting your pet explore the outdoors.
Once puppies and kittens receive their initial boosters and reach 1 year of age, we try to avoid vaccinating them every year for the same diseases. Frequent vaccination can often do more harm than good for dogs and cats.
The Alternate Antigen Program
In 2006, the founder of Island Hammock Pet Hospital, Dr. Martha Edwards established the Alternate Antigen Program to address concerns about over-vaccination. The goal is to provide pets with the protection they need against diseases with fewer shots. Instead of giving adult dogs and cats multiple shots each year, we recommend giving certain boosters triennially, or once every 3 years. This way, we can ensure that adult dogs and cats receive fewer booster shots each year.
The Alternate Antigen Program is backed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and demonstrates our commitment to always looking out for your pet’s best interests.