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Frequently Asked Dog Health Questions

There are common questions everyone has when they are caring for their dog. Such as how long rabies vaccinations are good for or if you should keep giving your pet their medications. Get some of these questions answered by a trusted veterinarian.

Why are some rabies vaccinations good for 3 years and others are only good for one?

Dog Vaccinations

The rabies vaccination protocol seems to cause a lot of confusion at times. We often have clients come in and ask why a previous rabies vaccination was only good for 1 year and they are getting a 3 year shot now. We also frequently have owners request the “3 year” shot, assuming that there are different products with differing durations of action. The truth is that we and most facilities only carry one rabies vaccine product. The protocol used in a given area is set by governmental regulation but is similar in almost all areas.

Here is how it works. The FIRST rabies vaccination the pup or kitten receives is good for one year. No exceptions. This also applies if a mature pet gets rabies for the very first time. Then, after one year, the next rabies vaccine will be good for a longer duration, set by state regulators. In Utah and most states, that is 3 years. Wyoming, however, is still 2 years. Each additional rabies vaccine throughout the pet’s life will be good for the longer duration.   It is worth noting that if one is taking her/his pet to a foreign country, some nations may require additional rabies injections per their requirements.

So it is simple, really. If you have a pup or kitten, it will be a one year rabies shot, if your pet is older and getting a booster, it will be a 3 year shot. You don’t even need to pay extra for it!

Why do I need to bring in my dog annually to get his medications refilled? He is doing fine.

Dog Check Up

There are specific rules governing the practice of both human and veterinary medicine. They are found in the respective “practice acts” of a given state. In these rules, it is established that it is required that the Doctor prescribing ANY prescription medication have an active relationship with the patient and has seen the patient within the preceding year. If the patient is approved for refills of medications and is not examined as required, and something bad happens with the medications and the patient, the doctor can be held responsible. Therefore, an annual exam is required for those refills. Beyond the legal requirements, the annual exam is an excellent opportunity to check the health of your pet and correct any new problems that may be afflicting him.   Additionally, for some medications, annual blood testing may also be needed. This is usually recommended by the drug manufacturer. Many of our pain medicines fall into this category.

These rules apply equally whether one gets his/her meds from the veterinarian or from some outside source, such as an online pharmacy. The main situations that require us to refuse refills are orders from online pharmacies for patients we have never seen or patients that haven’t been in for a very long time. The requirements are exactly the same regardless of the source of medications purchased.

Finally, some preventative care medications are prescription, some are not. For instance, heartworm medications are prescription items and an annual exam is required. However, some products like supplements and shampoos are not and can be purchased upon request. Give us a call if you have any questions on a specific item and we can answer them. That said, that annual exam is such an invaluable tool to maintain your pets good health that you want to make sure it gets done, even if it is a challenge to get in.

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