National Immunization Awareness Month

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month according to the American Animal Hospital Association.  Is your pet protected?

Vaccines are a large area of controversy, both in human medicine and in veterinary medicine.  Vaccines have been proven to save lives by protecting people against potentially deadly diseases.  The same holds true for veterinary medicine.

That being said, not every person or animal needs every vaccine that is available.  Doctors and veterinarians choose which vaccines are necessary for each patient.  When a doctor or veterinarian chooses to give a vaccine, he or she has determined that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

Suburban Animal Clinic follows vaccination guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association.  We also ask you questions and have you fill out a questionnaire to determine what vaccines your pet really needs.  We don’t believe in giving a pet every vaccine available.

Rabies vaccines are required for all dogs and cats.  This is for the pet’s protection, as well as the protection of everybody who comes into contact with that pet.  Even cats who never go outside need a rabies vaccine.  Bats are the #1 carrier of rabies in Franklin County, and it is possible to unknowingly get a bat in your house, which your cat will happily chase.   See the following blog about rabies:

All dogs should receive Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, (aka DAP or DHP) as well as Parainfluenza and Bordetella (Tracheobronchitis).  These are known as CORE vaccines, meaning that these diseases are prevalent in most areas.  Not all dogs need the following NON-CORE vaccines: Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, and Canine Influenza.

All cats should receive the FVRCP vaccine (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Chlamydia, & Panleukopenia).  These diseases are highly contagious, and even indoor only cats should have this vaccine.

Cats should be tested for, and receive, a Feline Leukemia vaccine as kittens.  Once adults, if the cat is indoor only, and doesn’t board or go to the groomer, they may not need it again.

The FIV vaccine (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is given in rare circumstances, typically to cats who are housed with an FIV positive cat.  This vaccine will cause future FIV tests to read a false positive, so any cat who receives this vaccine must be permanently identified, usually with a microchip.

Both dogs and cats may be eligible for vaccines that last up to 3 years depending on health and risk of exposure.

Check out the following blogs on vaccines:

Many pet owners, in an effort to save money, will visit vaccine clinics.  While this is great for receiving vaccines, keep in mind that these clinics typically give only the core vaccines.  They don’t adjust their protocol for each pet based on risk.  They also will likely not do a complete exam.  At Suburban, every pet who comes in for vaccines receives a complete nose to tail exam.  Many times abnormalities are found on routine exams, even when the pet is showing no signs.  If you do have your pet vaccinated at a vaccine clinic, please be sure to still visit your regular veterinarian for an annual exam.  Read more about exams at

Some pet owners, especially those with litters of puppies, will give vaccines on their own which they purchased from a store or catalogThis is never a good idea!  You don’t know if these vaccines were handled or stored properly prior to you purchasing them.  Without proper handling and storage, and if not given correctly at correct intervals, there is a good chance your pet will not be fully protected.  We have seen several such cases with parvovirus, where the pet was vaccinated with vaccines the owner purchased elsewhere.  Read more at

Annual exams and vaccines are very important for the health of your pet.  Make sure to follow your veterinarian’s vaccine protocol for your pet.  Your pet’s health, and maybe life, depends on it!

Suburban Animal Clinic is located in West Columbus off I-70 near I-270. Suburban Animal Clinic serves Galloway, Hilltop, West Side, Georgesville, West Jefferson, Grove CityGrandviewUpper Arlington (including OSU Campus area), Hilliard and Dublin.