Veterinary Medical Center of Gulf Coast offers a progressive new approach to veterinary care. Our Wellness Program embraces a focus on preventative medicine based on the specific life-stage of your pet. Each patient is assessed individually based on factors such as species, breed, age, and environmental challenges. Next we offer recommendations for prevention, nutrition, and diagnostic work-ups appropriate for your pet.
Our role is to educate you on those procedures and medications especially beneficial for your pet. This allows us to be more flexible with our recommendations, and gives you more control of your pets healthcare.
The key to Veterinary Medical Center of Gulf Coast Wellness Program is an emphasis on the annual health examination. Each year when your pet comes in he or she will receive a comprehensive physical exam and age appropriate ancillary diagnostics (such as blood pressure screening, parasite tests and blood work) to screen for early signs of disease.
For participants in the Veterinary Medical Center of Gulf Coast Wellness Program, any vaccinations due at the time of the annual exam will be given at current participant rates. Patients with health-related concerns will be recommended more advanced diagnostics when needed. More frequent re-evaluations will most-likely become necessary for those pets with ongoing illnesses.
Please contact us for more information or to enroll your pet in the Veterinary Medical Center of Gulf Coast Wellness Program.
Pets, like people, can be protected from some diseases by vaccination. Although this resource provides basic information about vaccinations for your dog or cat, your veterinarian is your best source for advice regarding your pet's vaccination needs.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians.
Is it important to vaccinate?
Yes! Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. Experts agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these serious disease agents continue to be present in the environment.
Does vaccination ensure protection?
For most pets, vaccination is effective and will prevent future disease. Occasionally, a vaccinated pet may not develop adequate immunity and, although rare, it is possible for these pets to become ill. It is important to remember that although breakdowns in protection do occur, most successfully vaccinated pets never show signs of disease, making vaccination an important part of your pet's preventive health care.
Are there risks?
Although most pets respond well to vaccines, like any medical procedure vaccination carries some risk. The most common adverse responses are mild and short-term, including fever, sluggishness, and reduced appetite. Pets may also experience temporary pain or subtle swelling at the site of vaccination. Although most adverse responses will resolve within a day or two, excessive pain, swelling, or listlessness should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Rarely, serious adverse responses occur. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet has repeated vomiting or diarrhea, whole body itching, difficulty breathing, collapse, or swelling of the face or legs. These signs may indicate an allergic reaction. In very rare instances death can occur. Visit with your veterinarian about the latest information on vaccine safety, including rare adverse responses that may develop weeks or months after vaccination. Remember that while vaccination is not without risk, failure to vaccinate leaves your pet vulnerable to fatal illnesses that are preventable.
Why do puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations?
Very young puppies and kittens are highly susceptible to infectious diseases. This is especially true as the natural immunity provided in their mothers' milk gradually wears off. To keep gaps in protection as narrow as possible and to provide optimal protection against disease for the first few months of life, a series of vaccinations are scheduled, usually 3-4 weeks apart. For most puppies and kittens, the final vaccination in the series is administered when they are 12 to 16 weeks old.
Which vaccines should my pet receive?
Discuss with your veterinarian your pet's lifestyle, access to other animals, and travel to other geographic locations, since these factors affect your pet's risk of exposure to disease. Not all pets should be vaccinated with all vaccines just because these vaccines are available. "Core" vaccines are recommended for most pets in a particular area. "Non-core" vaccines are reserved for pets with unique needs. Your veterinarian will consider your pet's particulars, the diseases at hand, and the application of available vaccines to customize a vaccine recommendation for your pet.
How often should my pet be vaccinated?
Your veterinarian will tailor a vaccination schedule to suit your pet's needs. For many years, a set of annual vaccinations was considered normal and necessary for dogs and cats. Veterinarians have since learned more about diseases and pets' immune systems, and there is increasing evidence that immunity triggered by some vaccines provides protection beyond one year. The immunity triggered by other vaccines may fail to protect for a full year. More than one successful vaccination schedule is possible. Talk with your veterinarian about what is best for your pet.
A Final Thought
Many factors are taken into consideration when establishing a pet's vaccination plan. Your veterinarian will tailor a program of vaccinations to help your pet maintain a lifetime of infectious disease protection.