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Are Annual Vet Visits & Vaccinations for Your Dog Really Necessary?

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Some people feel that because their dog appears healthy that they can skip an annual checkup for their pet. However, an annual vet visit for your dog is an important part of his health maintenance. Remember that dogs age a lot faster than we humans do. Before we know it, that cute little puppy becomes middle aged, and health issues may start cropping up. With regular visits to your pet’s vet, he or she can detect any potential problems before they escalate.

Are Annual Shots and Tests Necessary?

Heartworm, which can result in congestive heart failure, can be fatal if not caught and treated early. It used to be found mainly in the South, but it is now seen throughout the U.S. Therefore, vets recommend that all dogs receive an annual heartworm test and, if negative, a prescription for heartworm prevention medication to protect against this disease.

The debate is still going on regarding the necessity of annual shots and which ones. Research indicates that distemper and rabies shots don’t need to be given yearly once your dog has received initial vaccinations and boosters. The time interval between subsequent rabies vaccinations may vary by law depending on where you live. Frequently, annual vaccinations are given as a “5-way,” with adenovirus cough and hepatitis, canine distemper, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Depending on where you live and whether certain diseases are a concern, it may also include leptospirosis and/or coronavirus. If lyme disease is a concern, you may want to ask for a lyme vaccination for your dog.

The bottom line: Opinions on vaccinations vary from vet to vet. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet about the various vaccinations and for his opinion on whether your dog needs these shots annually.



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