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Should you vaccinate your dog or cat?

Yearly exams and vaccinations are important when it comes to your pets health. If you bring your pet in for any vaccinations, a full exam is included at no additional cost. An exam once a year can help identify any concerns early on, when they can still be easily treated. During the exam, the veterinarian may check your dog or cats eyes, ears and teeth, listen to their heart and lungs, and palpate the abdomen. This is the time to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about your pet. After an exam is done, it will be time for your pet to receive their vaccinations.

Yearly vaccines help protect your pet against common deadly diseases.

The state of Arkansas requires that all dogs and cats at least 4 months of age, be kept current on a rabies vaccine, regardless of whether or not they go outside. Although it may seem overly cautious, it is in your pets best interest. There is always a chance your pet could get loose or an animal could get into your home. If your pet is overdue for a rabies vaccine and is exposed to rabies, it will need to be quarantined for six months or euthanized immediately.

Dr. Snodgrass recommends that puppies receive a series of three (3) DAPP/DHLP vaccines given every 3 weeks starting at 6-8 weeks old, and then boostered yearly. This protects your dog against several different diseases including distemper, parvo, parainfluenza and lepto. Of these diseases, the parvovirus is the most commonly seen, especially in puppies, and can result in death. Parvo is extremely contagious and can survive in the environment from six months to one year after exposure. Distemper is another contagious disease and can attack the dogs respiratory and nervous systems. There is no cure for distemper, and treatment is typically done to alleviate the symptoms.

Any dog that is kenneled, taken to a groomers, or taken to the dog park, should receive a kennel cough (bordetella) vaccine. This will help to protect your dog against tracheobronchitis, which can be spread through the air. Symptoms of this disease include a loud, barking cough.

It is recommended that all cats receive a yearly CVI vaccine. This will protect your cat against the herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. The herpesvirus and calicivirus are highly communicable and can cause an upper respiratory infection, which may require hospitalization to treat. Panleukopenia is also highly contagious and exists everywhere in the environment. This disease causes damage to the cells that line the intestines, as well as attacks the bone marrow and lymph nodes. Hospitalization and supportive care are necessary to treatments, as there is no medication that will kill off the virus. Even after recovery, a cat infected with panleukopenia can shed the virus for up to 6 weeks in their urine and stool.

For cats that go outside, it is also recommended that they receive a leukemia vaccine. This virus is feline specific, and is typically spread through saliva and blood, although it is possible that it can spread through urine and feces. Cats that go outside are more likely to contract the disease through fights. Unfortunately more than 50% of cats infected with the virus die within a couple years.

A few simple vaccinations once a year can save your pets life. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Snodgrass to get your furry friend protected.

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