Routine Check-Ups

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"


Vaccines are the most effective way we can protect your pet from developing several serious infectious diseases. Poquoson Veterinary Hospital gives core vaccinations to adult cats and dogs every third year as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association. Other vaccines may need to be given more often. We will discuss your pet's lifestyle and risk factors to determine which vaccinations should be given.

Preventing your pet from becoming ill protects you and your family. Rabies and Leptospirosis vaccines protect your pet from developing diseases that could be contagious to you or your family. Regular deworming also protects your family from worms that can be spread to family members by an infected pet. We feel vaccinating is in the best interest of the general public as well, because some of the diseases can be transmitted to humans. Keep your pet up to date on its vaccines and parasite prevention to promote their good health and yours as well.

Read more about the vaccines that are recommended for dogs, cats and ferrets at the bottom of this page.

Parasite Prevention

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a particularly serious problem in our area due to the warm weather and large number of mosquitoes. Treatment of an infected dog is an involved process, which requires months of follow up care. Dogs need a test yearly and prevention should be given monthly. Heartgard is guaranteed effective when given as directed. (The manufacturer's guarantee is void if prevention is purchased through an online pharmacy.)

It is also possible for cats and ferrets to become infected with heartworms. Because their hearts are small, a cat or ferret infected with just 1 or 2 heartworms may become seriously ill. There is no approved treatment for heartworms in cats or ferrets, so monthly prevention is very important.

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, giardia and coccidia are very commonly found in young and outdoor pets. Both hookworms and roundworms can be spread from your pet to other members of the family. Puppies and kittens need to be dewormed every 2-3 weeks starting as early as 2 weeks of age. We recommend annual testing and treatment for intestinal parasites.

Fleas & Ticks

Fleas and Ticks not only make your pet uncomfortable, but they may also spread diseases such as tapeworms, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fleas and ticks are common in our area and should be prevented by applying medication every month.

With the use of modern preventative medicine, we hope to give you and your pet a long and healthy life together!

Microchip Identification

According to the American Humane Association, only a small percentage of lost dogs and cats ever find their way home from shelters. Nearly 20 million pets are euthanized every year because their owners cannot be located. To give your pet the best chance to be identified, we recommend multiple forms of pet identification including microchip implantation. Home Again

A microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice. Each chip contains a unique identification number which may be detected by animal caretakers. You may update your contact information with the registry as needed. An ID tag or collar might be lost, but a microchip should remain with your pet for life. Microchipping is a safe, permanent way to identify your pet. A tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice is injected by a veterinarian or licensed technician, just under the pet's skin. Animal hospitals, shelters and humane societies across the country use microchip scanners to detect the ID number contained on the chip. The database then matches that ID number to your name and the emergency contact numbers that you provide to the registry. Manufacturers of the microchips provide the scanners to hospitals and shelters across the U.S. and Canada.

The procedure for implanting the microchip is routine and does not require anesthesia. It is an injection, similar to getting a vaccination. The microchip will not wear out or need replacement, nor will it migrate under the skin. It is a safe, effective, durable and dependable form of permanent ID.

Vaccinations for Dogs

Puppies begin their vaccinations as early as 6-8 weeks of age and are given boosters every three weeks through a series of three to four total immunizations.

  • Distemper / Hepatitis / Parvovirus – This combination vaccine protects your dog against three serious diseases. After the puppy series and the 1-year booster, this vaccine has been shown to be effective for 3 years.
  • Rabies – Vaccination to prevent this deadly disease is required by law. Puppies are vaccinated at 3 months of age and then a year later. Adult dogs need to be vaccinated once every third year.
  • Leptospirosis – Vaccination is given to dogs at risk once per year. Because Leptospirosis can be contagious to people, this vaccine may protect your health as well as your dogs.
  • Bordetella / Parainfluenza – These two organisms are frequent causes of upper respiratory tract infections. The vaccination is given twice yearly.
  • Lyme disease – ten percent of our patients test positive for exposure to Lyme disease. Vaccination is recommended for dogs at risk for tick exposure.

Vaccinations for Cats

Kittens can begin the vaccination series as early as 7 weeks of age. We recommend that all cat owners have their new feline friend tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV, also known as Feline AIDS) prior to vaccinations and prior to introducing them to other cats.

We comply with the recommendations of the American Association of Feline Practitioners regarding the sites where vaccines are given.

  • Panleukopenia (Distemper), Rhinotracheitis, Calici and Chlamydia psittaci - This vaccine is given to kittens, at one year of age and then every third year.
  • Feline Leukemia – All cats need to be tested and outdoor cats need to be given this vaccine. There is no treatment for this serious disease.
  • Rabies – Vaccination to prevent this deadly disease is required by law. We recommend the use of a genetically engineered (Purevax) vaccine which may be less likely to cause reactions. This vaccine must be given at three months of age and then annually thereafter. A three year vaccination is also available.

Vaccinations for Ferrets

Most ferrets purchased from a pet store have been given only their first distemper vaccine; they will need to have a booster and their rabies vaccination.

  • Distemper – Ferrets can get this very serious disease from dogs or other ferrets. Ferret kits need distemper vaccines every 3 weeks until they are 16 weeks old and have had at least 2 vaccines. Adult ferrets should have a distemper booster every year.
  • Rabies – Vaccination to prevent this deadly disease is required by law. Kits should be vaccinated at three months of age. Adults need a booster vaccine every year.