Keeping your pet’s vaccinations up to date is essential to ensure the health and wellbeing of your furry family member.
As the chief veterinarian of at Miami-Dade Animal Services, I can attest to the thousands of pets entering the shelter every year that either have no vaccinations or lack documentation to show vaccines were ever administered.
While not an exact measure, we estimate that over 70 percent of the more than 29,000 pets received by the shelter last year had no identification, which either means the pet had no vaccine or we could not identify any vaccination history. This presents an incredible challenge for shelter veterinarians and shelter pet caregivers.
While rabies is the only state-mandated vaccination pets must receive, there are many dangerous and sometimes fatal viruses that pets also need protection from. It is important for pet owners to consider how their pets may come into contact with other animals and the environmental factors which may increase their pet’s risk for exposure to illness or disease.
We don’t typically think of a nice walk with Fido around the neighborhood or a trip to the dog park or dog-friendly beach as potentially dangerous activities for our pets. In fact, any interaction with another animal or exposure to areas in which other animals have been can create an unsafe environment for pets that have not been protected through vaccination. Common vaccines administered by your veterinarian will protect your pet against parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, bordetella, and canine influenza.
In addition to protecting your pet’s health through routine vaccination it is important for all dogs to be provided with year round heartworm and flea/tick preventive. Heartworm is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito which can result in a life threatening condition for your pet. Fleas, ticks and mosquitos are year round concerns for pets in sunny south Florida.
Your veterinarian can provide a treatment protocol to ensure your pets are fully protected from these dangerous pests and the diseases they cause. With more than 200 veterinarians located throughout Miami-Dade, finding the right practitioner to protect your pet has never been easier.
There is no better time to expand your family by adopting a shelter pet from Miami-Dade Animal Services located at 3599 NW 79 Ave. in Doral, or from our neighborhood Pet Adoption Center at Petco in South Miami located at 6200 S. Dixie Hwy.
For more information call 311.
Maria A. Serrano, DVM, is chief veterinarian at Miami-Dade Animal Services.