Time to Update your Pet’s Vaccinations!

August is International Immunization Awareness Month for people of all ages, but don’t forget, it’s important for your pets to get their shots too! This month while you’re going in for a yearly check-up, go ahead and take your pet to the veterinarian to ensure all their vaccinations are up-to-date.

Vaccinations are essentially the same as immunizations, but our pets rely on us to remember when to have them administered. Vaccines contain antigens that are introduced to the immune system to better prepare your pet for preventing and fighting off future illness.

There a few basic vaccinations that all pets must receive the first time they go to the vet. It’s important to have a set vaccination schedule to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccines, especially if your pet is a young puppy or kitten.

There are specific core vaccinations that all dogs and cats, regardless of age, need for protection against particularly common or especially dangerous diseases. Puppies can begin vaccinations after they are weaned as early as six to eight weeks of age and kittens can also begin receiving vaccinations at six weeks.

Both dogs and cats should receive the rabies vaccine as part of their core vaccinations. Depending on your state’s laws, dogs and cats are required to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and documented proof of said vaccination. It’s a good idea to keep your pet’s medical records on file if you ever need to prove their vaccinations are to date.

Puppies need to have core vaccinations administered to prevent rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper and canine hepatitis. Puppies receive most of their needed vaccines every two to four weeks until they age to 14 weeks or older.

For kittens, their core vaccinations should include ones that protect against rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia or distemper (FVRCP) and feline calicivirus which causes feline respiratory infections. The preventatives for these diseases can be administered through a combination vaccine and should be updated every three years. All of these diseases are common in nature and are frequently found in the general cat population. Outside cats or cats at higher risk for these diseases will benefit from more frequent vaccinations. Kittens should be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they age to 16 weeks or older.

Because some pets are at a higher risk for exposure to various diseases, discuss with your veterinarian the appropriate interval for vaccinations and booster shots to be administered. Frequency of vaccinations can be dependent on your pet’s age, lifestyle, medical history or environment.

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Celebrating International Assistance Dog Week

Some heroes don’t need capes– they have four paws, a tail and a vest to signal their commitment to helping others. They can navigate busy crosswalks for those with low vision, alert a diabetic when their blood sugar is low or assist in other everyday tasks like taking in the groceries or retrieving keys. These are just a few ways assistance dogs act as valuable additions to the lives of their human partners.

Here at Precise, we want to celebrate the important work of assistance dogs with International Assistance Dog Week, starting on Sunday. This year’s celebration will go from Aug. 6 – 12, and we want to take the opportunity to honor the dedication of these canines and educate others on the importance of assistance dogs and their training.

A large part of raising awareness for assistance dogs involves educating others on the responsibilities of these animals. An assistance dog can work under various categories and be a guide dog for a person with low vision, hearing alert dogs for those with partial or total hearing loss, or service dogs which assist people with mobility-related tasks.

Two other types of assistance dogs operate in the field of medical assistance and are labeled as seizure/seizure response dogs and medical alert/medical response dogs. Seizure alert/seizure response dogs alert or respond to conditions like seizures, heart attacks, diabetes, epilepsy, strokes, post-traumatic stress, anxiety attacks and panic attacks. A medical alert/medical response dog is responsible for alerting a person of any oncoming medical conditions previously listed.

Acting as well-behaved helpers and best friends, assistance dogs go through an extensive training process that ensures they’re able to work diligently and attentively for their human partners. Their basic areas of training include manners, task training, obedience, and proofing or public access skills. Assistance dogs wear an official vest, jacket, backpack or harness that allows them to enter any public space such as a store or restaurant alongside their owners to provide them assistance as needed.

Interested in learning more? Check out these personal stories illustrating the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs and their transformative impacts.

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