Pet Owner Resources

At Pet Vet Vaccination Services, we want our clients to be informed about how to properly take care of their furry friends!  This page is meant to provide basic guidance on pet wellness.  Have a question about Heartworm Disease or which vaccinations are appropriate for your dog or cat?  Keep reading 🙂  Still have questions?  Always feel free to contact us to request additional information.

What are vaccines, and why do they matter?

Vaccines are products designed to trigger protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines stimulate the immune system’s production of antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing organisms that enter the body.

Vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity or prevent certain diseases altogether.

Experts agree that widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and improve your pet’s overall quality of life.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.

Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats.

Pet Vet Vaccination Services recommends that all dogs be tested annually for heartworms and be placed on year-round heartworm prevention.  Watch the video below to learn more.  For more information about heartworm disease, please visit the American Heartworm Society’s website.

Which Vaccinations Does My Pet Need?

At Pet Vet Vaccination Services, we make vaccine package recommendations based upon your pet’s lifestyle.  For example:

Canine Classification Lifestyle Recommendations
Outdoor Enthusiast Most of the time outdoors running unrestrained; unsupervised roaming and supervised or unsupervised hunting or fieldwork Annual Adult Dog Vaccinations with Leptospirosis and Heartworm Testing
Outdoor Socialite Some of the time outdoors; may contact unknown dogs on a periodic basis. Annual Adult Dog Vaccinations with Leptospirosis and Heartworm Testing
Indoor Socialite Multi-dog household, mostly indoors or confined but frequent contact with other known dogs through feeding, elimination, boarding, showing. Annual Adult Dog Vaccinations and Heartworm Testing
Indoor Elitist One- or two-dog household. Indoors mostly, but may encounter unknown dogs by occasional escape or at grooming parlor. Annual Adult Dog Vaccinations and Heartworm Testing
Indoor Pampered Pooch Strictly indoor, never encounters other dogs; sits in the lap for hours at a time; rarely touches bare earth, a real couch potato. Annual Adult Dog Vaccinations (Bordetella Optional*) and Heartworm Testing
Copyright Merial Ltd. 2012.

Understanding the Flea Life Cycle

We commonly hear concerns from our clients who struggle with flea control with their pets. After hearing those concerns and having a discussion about their challenges, I usually conclude that the fundamental problem is that pet owners do not have a good understanding of fleas and the flea life cycle.

Product X is no longer working on my dog.”  “Product Y worked for a couple of months and then I started seeing fleas again.”  With the exception of “non-veterinarian” products (meaning the old insecticide spot-on products containing pyrethrins), I rarely identify instances of true product failures!  Rather, the breakdown tends to be related to either client compliance and/or client expectations of product performance.

Are we blaming you, our clients?  Not at all !  It is our responsibility to educate pet owners on how to control parasites on and around their pets.  Therefore, I did the hard work of going to YouTube and finding a video that adequately and accurately explains how fleas operate.  The video was produced by PetCARE TV and features Dr. Jeff Werber describing fleas and their life cycle.

What else should you know?

  • Make sure you are using flea products correctly and according to the label directions or as otherwise directed by your veterinarian.
    • For topical products, pay close attention to where the product should be applied and any instructions or notices about bathing and contact with other pets or people around the time of application.
    • Do not split medication doses for use on multiple pets.
  • When dealing with an infestation, you must also treat the environment (your home and yard).  Also, every pet in the household should be treated as well.
  • Don’t expect immediate results.  While the new oral products we have at our disposal are very good, the fact remains that the fleas you actually see on your pets only account for about 5% of the total flea population.  The other 95% are in the environment.  As those fleas in the environment mature and jump onto your pets, they will be killed by proper usage of the flea control product.  In Florida, the life cycle can last as little as a couple of weeks, to months or more!
  • If you have any questions, we are happy to help you with your flea woes!  Contact us through our website or call us toll-free at (855) 673-8838 for more information and product recommendations that are suitable for your situation.

Diseases That Vaccines Protect Against

Dogs and Cats:

  • Rabies:  Rabies is an infection of the nervous system that attacks all warm-blooded animals including humans.  It is a public health hazard and a risk to all pet owners.  It is transmitted in saliva by the bite of an infected animal.  There is no cure for rabies and vaccination is the pet’s only protection.  Rabies vaccinations are required by state law (F.S. 828) for pets.


  • Distemper:  Canine distemper is widespread and often deadly.  Signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death.
  • Adenovirus (type-2): Adenovirus or Hepatitis can cause fever, pain, enlargement of the liver, and death.
  • Parvovirus:  Parvovirus is a highly contagious intestinal disease that causes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, death.
  • Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that affects a dog’s kidneys and liver  In severe cases, death can occur.
  • Bordetella:  Bordetella is the bacterial cause of kennel cough.  Kennel cough causes an upper respiratory infection that presents as a persistent, dry, hacking cough.  The disease may last several weeks and is highly contagious.
  • Lyme:  Lyme disease is spread by ticks.  It causes fever, joint pain, lameness, and lethargy.  In some cases, Lyme disease has been linked to more severe illness, including kidney disease.


  • Panleukopenia:  Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is high contagious and usually fatal.  Signs include depression, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis:  FVR is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes sneezing, pneumonia, and ulcers in the mouth.
  • Other respiratory diseases:  Calicivirus and Chlamydia are also feline respiratory viruses.
  • Feline Leukemia:  Feline Leukemia causes immune suppression, which breaks down the cat’s ability to fight off infections.  This leads to the development of cancerous disease and eventually death.