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Are Boosters necessary?

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Primary vaccination is essential in order to prevent the return of the once common deadly infectious diseases in dogs and cats. Recent research indicates that not all vaccines require yearly boosters. However, there is no evidence that annual booster vaccination is anything but beneficial to the majority of pets. Research has shown conclusively that abstaining from some boosters can put your pet at risk.

In the past, veterinarians recommended booster vaccinations for dogs and cats on a yearly basis. However, as research into vaccines progresses, recommendations for booster frequency continue to evolve. The appropriate interval for boosters will vary with individual circumstances and vaccine type. Recent studies have demonstrated that some viral vaccines may convey at least three years of immunity. This is not the case with bacterial vaccines, which usually still require annual boosters.

A cat that is totally indoors and lives in an apartment building would be a reasonable candidate for less frequent vaccination, while a cat that goes outdoors or is in frequent contact with other cats would be considered to be at high-risk and should be vaccinated more frequently. Ultimately, how frequently your cat should be vaccinated is determined by your cat’s lifestyle and relative risk. Ask your veterinarian about the type and schedule of vaccines that is appropriate for your cat.

Prior to vaccine administration, your veterinarian will perform a health or wellness examination. You will be asked specific questions about your pet’s health status, and your veterinarian will check your pet’s head, neck, chest and abdomen, muscles, skin, joints and lymph nodes. Annual vaccines mean annual examination by a veterinarian; veterinarians frequently detect infections of the teeth or ears, and sub-clinical diseases (diseases that are not presenting definite or observable symptoms) such as underlying heart conditions, metabolic problems or organ dysfunction during these visits. Early diagnosis allows more effective and successful treatment and may improve the quality of your pet’s life.

It is important to ensure that your pet receive a complete physical examination on at least an annual basis, and more frequently as they approach their senior years.