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Vaccines - Your Pet's Suit of Armor

While nothing in life comes with a guarantee, pet vaccines can serve as a suit of armor, helping to shield your pet from, or significantly reduce your pet's chances of contracting a deadly infectious disease. While only the rabies vaccine is mandated by law, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) regularly updates the list of vaccines they recommend against other contagious diseases.

Rabies Vaccinations and Maryland State Law

pet vaccinations in SolomonMaryland is unique among the fifty states in the breadth of its pet laws. It not only governs the specific regulations certain counties can adopt, but it even designates the Chesapeake Retriever as the state dog. None is more important than provision 18-318 that states each person who owns or keeps a dog, cat or ferret that is four months old or older shall have the dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies. That is shall have, as in must have. Yes, if your pet is not up to date on his rabies shot, you are breaking state law.

The rabies vaccine we use can be given as early as 12 weeks of age in dogs, cats, and ferrets but legally they have to be by 4 months of age in the state of Maryland. We also vaccinate dogs for distemper/parvo and cats for feline distemper every 3 years. All other vaccines for dogs are annual and we vaccinate the cats for upper respiratory (cats' version of the flu) annually.

If you are like one of our many clients who confine their cats indoors, you may be wondering if this is applies to your cat. Let us remind you that rabies can also affect bats and rodents, and should an infected one find its way into your home, your cat can be exposed to the deadly disease. Dogs, cats, and ferrets all need an initial shot at the age of 4 months and booster shots administered periodically with the interval being determined by the manufacturers labeling.

Recommended Annual Pet Vaccinations

While it is not mandated by MD law, Solomons Veterinary Medical Center suggest the following annual vaccinations in accordance with AVMA recommendations

Dogs should be examined yearly at which time they should be vaccinated against distemper, canine adenovirus, and canine parvovirus. If you take him to dog parks or boarding kennels, he should also be inoculated against bordetella and canine influenza, both highly contagious among dogs in close quarters.  We also recommend a leptospirosis shot since the bacterial infection is affecting more and more in dogs in surrounding neighborhoods of Lusby, Broomes Island, Dowell, Port Republic, Prince Frederick, St. Leonard, St. Mary's, as well as California, MD. The leptospira bacterium thrives in marshes and ponds, and infects dogs that swim or drink in contaminated waters. Not only can leptospirosis cause serious, often fatal, health problems for your dog, it can be transmitted to humans.

Cats, especially those who are permitted outdoors, and to a lesser extent, those in multi-cat households fall prey to infectious diseases so we follow AVMA guidelines and recommend cats be vaccinated yearly against feline herpes virus 1 (FHV1), feline calcivirus (FCV), and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). For cats who live outdoors all or part of the time, as well as those who come into contact with outside cats, the feline leukemia virus (FLV) should be seriously considered.

If your pet has been exposed to an animal exhibiting signs of an infectious disease within the areas of Lusby, Broomes Island, Dowell, Port Republic, Prince Frederick, St. Leonard, St. Mary's, and California, MD, contact our Solomon veterinarians today at (410) 326-4300!