-Dr. Star Gregory, DVM – Zutilla Veterinary Housecalls, Inc.
Unfortunately, the answers to these two questions are frequently not the same. Adult dogs need to visit their veterinarian every 6 months, that’s twice a year. Many pet owners believe that once a year is a sufficient time-frame between veterinary visits and it is not. Having your dog see a veterinarian just once a year is the same as you seeing your doctor every seven years! Our pets age faster than we do so we cannot apply the same protocols to them. A lot can change in 12 months. What many people do not know is that a physical exam is one of the most important things you can do to help your pet live a long healthy life. So if it has been more than 6 months since your dog has seen the vet, schedule his or her next appointment today.
Most people know that puppies and kittens need a series of vaccines, but what about when your pet is an adult? This is becoming a very common concern among pet owners who fear over-vaccinating their pets. While there is no textbook definition for over-vaccinating, some vaccines are labeled for use every three years versus every year to address this issue.
If you are concerned about vaccinating your pet unnecessarily, there is solution; vaccine titers. Your veterinarian can take a blood sample from your pet and have it tested to see if your pet has adequate titers from previous vaccinations to continue to protect them from disease. There is a downside though. Titers are not available for every vaccine, and they are usually much more expensive than the cost of the vaccine. Titers are normally available for Canine Distemper, Rabies, Canine Parvovirus, and Feline Panleukopenia. For other vaccines such as Lyme Disease or Canine Influenza, it is generally agreed that protection does not extend beyond 1 year, or in the case of Bordetella, 6 months.
In summary, if you are concerned about over-vaccination and have some extra money to spend, ask your veterinarian about vaccine titers. With the assistance of your veterinarian, you can keep your pet protected from disease and help your pet live a long healthy life.