Why do indoor cats need rabies vaccinations?

There are a few great reasons for vaccinating your indoor cat for rabies.

  • Rabies is a deadly disease that causes a horrible death for your animals. Rabies can also harm humans and is potentially fatal.
  • Exposure happens. Dr. Townsend has seen two separate cases of rabies (six months apart) in unvaccinated indoor cats because they were exposed to rabid bats inside the house.
  • It’s the law. While we are not enforcement, the state of Maine requires all pets to be vaccinated against rabies.

When should I spay or neuter my pet?

This is a question that should be answered by one of our veterinarians following a consultation. In general, six months of age is a great time to do the surgery based on development and “ease” of surgery (both for the veterinarian and the pet’s recovery). However, the spay / neuter surgery may be done earlier or later based on a number of issues such as potential for exposure to a sexually intact pet or delayed development like a giant breed dog.

Why do a “heartworm test” if my dog is on a year-round preventative?

  • In our area, tick-borne disease is rampant. Our “heartworm” test also tests for three of the most common tick-borne diseases. This allows us to treat dogs as soon as possible after exposure when treatment is most effective.
  • We have seen cases of heartworm-positive dogs that have been on year-round preventatives, so resistance is occurring. This is mainly seen in the southeastern U.S. right now, but it is a scary development that we should take seriously.

When should I start my pet’s first vaccines?

  • The first “core” vaccinations (diseases every pet should be vaccinated for) should start at 8-9 weeks of age.
  • Booster vaccinations should be given every four weeks until the pet is at least sixteen weeks of age.
  • “Non-core” vaccinations (like Lyme in dogs – although we might argue this is now “core”) should be mixed in based on discussions with one of our veterinarians.
  • Rabies may be given any time after twelve weeks of age.

Why should I have my dog on heartworm preventative year round?

  • Heartworm preventative also prevents infection and disease caused by intestinal parasites, “worms.” These worms can cause severe disease in people as well, especially children. It is for this reason a monthly preventative for heartworm and intestinal parasites is absolutely imperative.
  • Though we are not in such an affected area like Florida, we routinely see mosquito exposure from April to November. Many people will find mosquitos in their house during the winter so treatment needs to continue throughout the year.