What’s Better for your pet’s health – a vaccination clinic or a veterinarian?

Chihuahua NurseI love my job! I love our practice, our patients and our clients, but as a long-practicing veterinarian, I still get frustrated and flummoxed by the request to just give a pet “shots” and not to worry about the exam.

The examination of your pet, annually under age seven and twice yearly over age seven by a veterinarian, is more important than vaccinations. Vaccinations are a health care tool used to protect against common diseases, but the examination from nose to tail is the key to keeping your pet healthy throughout his/her lifetime. But when we know that our furry friends are aging faster, approximately 4 to 6 years for every six months of human time, why would you choose “shots” over an examination that can help to detect changes or recommendations from your veterinarian on how best to prevent health issues?

Vaccination clinics offered by various entities are no replacement for building a relationship with a veterinarian. A vaccination clinic, in my opinion, in this day and age is just inappropriate – would you take your child for “shots” by some random person in a warehouse store? For my daughters, no way – I want the relationship I have with their pediatrician as an expert and respected resource that has helped us with numerous things, big and small. For our patients, I want to offer the same – a personal relationship and partnership that helps maintain the health of their pet throughout the changes that life throws our way and cuts through the glut of misinformation abounding in the world and on the Web.

Dr. V. of the Pawcurious blog summed it up even better in a recent blog post and infographic.

There are 15 comments

  • Cynthia Rose says:

    I would agree that vaccinations are no replacement for a real veterinarian. Vaccinations are important, but they do not supersede the role that a vet can play. It is important to have a balance of both.
    Cynthia | http://www.villageanimalhospitalcincy.com/veterinary-services

  • You guys are right, vaccinations are never a replacement for a veterinarian visit. you should always get your pet examined annually. That is the best way to make sure that they are doing ok. You will find that you can catch so many diseases early on and prevent them from getting worse.

  • Helen says:

    I’m so glad that you brought up this issue that pet owners are using vaccinations as a reason not to take care of their pet’s health. Vaccinations are a very useful defense against the most dangerous diseases; but animals still need checkups just like humans do. Animals can’t tell us when they are sick or in pain, and most of the behavioral signs of illness can go unnoticed by an ignorant owner. Regular visits to a veterinarian will help avoid many health problems that endanger your pet.

  • As a pet lover I would also agree it is wise to have your pet looked over, especially an aging one. Just like we do as as we get older. Let the doctor poke around you for lumps and unusual deformities. This is something a vet has to do to your pet. A needle can’t do that.

    Pet’s Parlor

  • Arnold Flint says:

    It’s interesting that you compared your daughter’s relationship with her pediatrician to your clients’ relationships with you. I totally agree that veterinarians should have great relationships with pet owners. I think a lot of people overlook how vital that relationship is to the health of an animal.

  • I’m glad that you can get your pet vaccinated. No need to spread diseases that were cured a long time ago. Some of those conditions might be harmful to people too. I’m just glad that the whole crazy anti-vaxxer movement hasn’t reach animals yet. Thanks for the info!

  • Jason Strong says:

    My wife and I just got a puppy today and we couldn’t be more excited about it. We really want to take care of him but we don’t know what we are doing quite yet. This has some great insights that I think will help us know what we can do to take good care of him.

  • Joel says:

    Thanks for clarifying that vaccinations clinics shouldn’t replace a good veterinarian. A friend of mine has a few cats, and she’s had them vaccinated. I’m not sure whether she has a vet though. I’ll have to ask. Thanks!

  • It’s good to know that the actual health evaluation of your pet is more important than vaccinations. I agree that you should get an idea of your pet’s overall health rather than just protecting against a few diseases. I’ll try to be better about taking my dog in for check-ups as well as booster shots in the future. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of veterinary clinics and vaccination centers!

  • Tara Allen says:

    That is smart to take your pet to an animal hospital for vaccinations. I would agree that make sure your pet is healthy throughout their life is very important. That is nice that vets are able to help a pet maintain their health continually.

  • Kyler Brown says:

    My wife and I just bought a dog for our daughters, so I figured I better learn all the proper protocol that comes with a dog since I will probably be the one taking care of it the most. I liked this article, and it makes sense to me to get the best care for animals, and that includes an exam. Thanks for sharing this post, as this definitely has helped.

  • Luke Smith says:

    I have talked to pet owners, and they like taking their animals to someone they can trust like the vet. I can agree with them on that, and would do the same thing. It is always good to have well-trained people that are willing to help.

  • Hazel Adams says:

    I think that you should use both a vaccination clinic and a licensed vet. That way you can get benefits from both. I think that it is important to be able to to do both.

  • I agree that too many pet owners are just relying on vaccinations to keep their pet’s health in check. I am not saying that vaccinations aren’t important, but that you also need to be visiting a vet regularly also to make sure all needs are taken care of.

  • April Cook says:

    I just got a dog and want to make sure he is as healthy as possible. I didn’t know that I should be having him examined twice a year. I thought that just getting shots would be enough, but now I know that’s not true! Thanks for the information!

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