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Frequently Asked Questions about the “We Care” Community Pet Services Mobile Unit

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Animal Welfare Department (AWD) “We Care” Community Pet Services Mobile Unit.

Why are vaccinations especially important in puppies and kittens?

  • Puppies and kittens have immature immune systems that make them highly vulnerable to severe infectious diseases such as parvo in puppies or panleukopenia in kittens. 
  • Vaccination helps them survive their critical development period by safely “jump-starting” their immune system against the most dangerous diseases.

Why do puppies/kittens need a series of vaccines?

  • Giving multiple vaccine doses (usually 3) during the critical period between 8 to 16 weeks of age helps each puppy and kitten reach an optimal level of protection.
  • A single vaccination is not enough to protect a puppy or kitten, multiple “boosters” are necessary for protection against common illnesses. 
  • Often breeders or previous owners will give a single vaccination and assume the animal is “fully vaccinated”.  This is NOT true and the pets are still very vulnerable to diseases. 

Why vaccinate adult animals?

  • Although puppies and kittens fare the worst, adult animals can also suffer significant illness from preventable infectious diseases such as parvo and distemper.
  • For diseases that can be transferred to people such as Rabies, vaccination is legally required.

Why are booster vaccinations required in adults?

  • Protection from vaccinations decreases over time and must be boostered or the pet will no longer be protected from common diseases like parvo.
  • In the case of Rabies, vaccine boosters are legally required.

Why should I spay or neuter?

  • Part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other mishaps.
  • Another contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater chance of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and mammary cancer. 
  • Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.)
  • Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.
  • Our local shelter sees between 15,000 and 18,000 unwanted and homeless animals every year!!  Continuing to breed animals contributes to the huge number of unwanted pets.  Even if you find homes for your dog’s puppies or your cats kittens, that means you are taking a home away from a needy/homeless pet that might have had a chance to get out of a shelter. 

Why should you microchip your pet? 

  • One out of three pets go missing. And without proper ID, 90 percent of lost pets never find their way home. A microchip is your pet's permanent ID. It's the size of a grain of rice and goes beneath your pet's skin like a vaccination. When scanned at a shelter or vet clinic, it reveals your contact information and your dog or cat can be returned to you.