Discount vaccination clinics and the vaccination clinics run at pet stores are attractive because of the low prices on their vaccinations.. But they leave owners with a false sense of security that their pet is “healthy” just because it received vaccinations. And, pets leave with undiagnosed illnesses, at risk for getting sick and the same painful conditions that they went in with.
Good health is not All about the vaccinations. It’s not even Mostly about the vaccinations!
Sure, vaccinations are important to preventing infectious diseases. They have been critical to reducing the numbers of really bad diseases that once plagued our pets like parvovirus, feline leukemia, rabies and distemper. Unfortunately, they do nothing to protect pets against lifestyle associated diseases like ear and dental infections, metabolic diseases or diseases associated with aging, such as arthritis or thyroid disease. These non-infectious causes of disease make up the majority of diseases seen in pets today (thanks to everyone giving the vaccinations!). These are also the diseases most likely to cause pain and wear-and-tear on the body that will shorten pets’ lives.
The only way to have your pet assessed for the presence of or the risk of acquiring the most commonly seen non-infectious diseases is to have a veterinarian perform a Comprehensive exam on your pet once a year (or every 6 months in the case of older pets, whose health changes more rapidly).
You just aren’t going to get this at a pet store vaccination clinic or at a discount vaccination clinic. They don’t have the time or the resources for a through exam and consultation with you. Many pet parents come to me with a pet problem and tell me that there pet “just got an exam” at the Discount Clinic a couple of months ago so they don’t understand how I can be telling them that their pet has a long-standing problem now. When we try to get records on that “exam”, all we get, at best, is a Temperature, Pulse and Respiration and the name of vaccines given. That’s all they record- even if they do a cursory, superficial gander at the pet before vaccinations.
If your pet’s exam does not include the use of an otoscope and ophthalmoscope to look INTO ears and eyes, respectively, your pet’s exam in not thorough. Without looking IN the ears, not just AT the ears, a veterinarian cannot diagnose deep ear infections. Without looking INTO the eyes, retinal disease, hypertension, and optic neuritis will not be identified for early intervention before blindness occurs. If the vet doesn’t manipulate the joints, they have not checked them. If the vet doesn’t spend more than 20 seconds listening to the heart WHILE feeling the pulses in the back leg, your pet’s cardiovascular system has not been thoroughly examined. If the vet does not discuss your pet’s weight, lifestyle, exercise routine, diet, etc with you, you are missing out on a terrific opportunity to learn how to keep you pet in top form and minimize disease.
The vaccinations given at clinics, furthermore, are determined most often by either what the pet owner says they want or what the company says needs to be given to every pet. There is rarely any consultation with the Pet Parent about the pet’s lifestyle risks to determine which vaccines are most important. So, sometimes pets are under vaccinated, because pet owners lose track of when their pet received what last. Some times they are over vaccinated because they don’t need what the company “cookbook” says every pet should have. Any Full Service Veterinary Staff worth their salt is going to ask you, every time you visit, about your pet’s lifestyle, any changes, and help you make up-to-date, safe and necessary vaccination choices for your pet.
Preventive health options, other than vaccines, are available for pets to help them live longer and be more active with their families. Discount vaccinations clinics are not able to take the time to explain about new products and services available to pets to help them live better. Your Full Service Veterinary staff makes the time to teach interested pet parents about the products/ services that are available that will benefit each pet, while helping pet parents sort out the gimmicks!
It’s true that you will pay more for vaccinations at a full service veterinary clinic. But, that’s because you are going to get Full Service, not the rush job.
Even if you decide to save the extra $10.00- $20.00 on vaccinations and get them done at a clinic, please try to save up that little extra to still take your pet in to his or her Full Service Veterinarian for a Comprehensive Physical Exam and Health Consultation at least once a year to protect your pet’s health!