A Plan That Meets Your Needs
At Kensington Veterinary Hospital we offer a wide range of conventional medical options, including medicine, surgery and dentistry. We have close working relationships with the many specialists, which allows us to offer an even higher level of care. Our goals are to offer your pet the best possible care, to be as thorough as we can in assessing your pet’s needs, and advising you of our findings. In partnership with you, we hope to help you formulate a pet care plan that best meets your needs and budget. We work with scheduled appointments, and we make every effort to stay on time….but sometimes, due to unforeseen situations, emergencies, etc., we may fall behind. We know your time is valuable, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.
THE VACCINATION QUESTION: Should you vaccinate your pet?
Vaccinations are injections that are given to your pet to protect them against specific diseases. These diseases can be caused by bacteria or viruses, which can make your pet only slightly sick or could cause death, depending on many factors. Historically speaking, most veterinarians have recommended that vaccines be given annually, with the exception of rabies, which is generally recognized as protective for three years in adult animals. In some situations, more frequent vaccinations may have been recommended.
Until recently, there was not much information available regarding how long a vaccination’s protection lasts. Annual vaccinations have been the standard, and this is still very common. After very careful consideration, we at Kensington Veterinary Hospital have reevaluated our vaccination philosophy and significantly changed our recommended vaccination schedules. We prefer to individualize a vaccination plan and schedule to an animal’s lifestyle and exposure risk, and give only the truly needed vaccines, only as often as immunologically necessary, and not too many vaccines at one time.
Recent studies indicate that immunity against certain diseases from properly stored and administered vaccinations may last up to several years. Immunity against other diseases may only last one year. There have recently been links discovered between the administration of certain vaccines in cats and the development of a particular type of tumor (called a fibrosarcoma). The specifics of this connection are not yet understood. There also appears to be a link between excessive vaccinations and immune mediated diseases, and this is certainly an area of concern. Each vaccination plan is customized to the pet’s lifestyle, exposure risk, owner preferences, and doctor discretion. These choices will be discussed during your office visit with the veterinarian.
Our Current Recommendations:
Dogs & Puppies
Distemper/Parvo Vaccine (DHPP/DAPP):
The initial vaccine should begin at 8 weeks of age and be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks of age until past sixteen weeks of age. Depending on breed, exposure or veterinarian’s evaluation of risk factors, an additional vaccine may be recommended. Ideally perform a titer (blood test to assess level of immunity from vaccination) one month after completing vaccinations.
One Year Later (approximately 16 months old): Titer preferred, or repeat DHPP vaccination
One Year Later (approximately 28 months old): Perform titer; vaccinate only if protective levels are low, otherwise repeat titer in 1-3 years. Vaccinate only when need is indicated by decreasing levels of immunity.
One intra-nasal vaccine should be given no earlier than 12 weeks of age to ‘at risk’ dogs (those with active social contact, boarding, showing, or impaired respiratory function) , with a booster being administered one year later then annually if risk of exposure or boarding (protection generally lasts 6-12 months).
As currently mandated by state law, one vaccine is given after 12 weeks of age. This vaccine should be boostered one year later, then every 3 years (unless necessitated by possible exposure). We do participate with the County of San Diego low cost Rabies vaccination clinics on the fourth Thursday of each month, 9a.m-12:30 pm, 2-4:30 pm- these are no appointment, low cost vaccinations.
Cats & Kittens
FVRCP (Feline Rhinotrachetis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia virus):
Upper Respiratory Vaccine: The initial vaccine series should begin at 8 weeks of age and be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks of age until past sixteen weeks of age. Ideally titer one month after final vaccination to assess level of immunity.
One Year Later (approximately 16 months old): Preferably titer, or FVRCP Vaccine
One Year Later (approximately 28 months old): Perform titer; vaccinate if protective levels are low, otherwise repeat titer in 1-3 years. Vaccinate only when need is indicated by decreasing levels of immunity.
FeLV: Feline Leukemia: For cats at risk only!
Every kitten and cat should be tested for Feline Leukemia (this is usually tested in combination with Feline Immunosuppressive Virus/ FIV). After a negative blood test, a series of 2 vaccines are to be given 3 to 4 weeks apart (start series at 9 weeks of age or older). Repeat annually only if outdoors unsupervised or at risk. If you cat is not an outdoor cat or does spend time outside but does not interact with other cats, please discuss the need for this vaccine with your veterinarian.
For cats at risk only! The feline Rabies vaccine to be given at 14 to 16 weeks of age, boostered one year later. We carry two feline Rabies vaccinations- a one year, non-adjuvanted vaccine, and a three year vaccine. We prefer the one year as it may be safer. This vaccine is recommended for cats that are either outside or bite.
FIP: Feline Infectious Peritonitis: For cats at risk only!
For cats at risk only! We do not recommend this vaccine for most of our feline patients. If the vaccine is absolutely necessary, two intranasal vaccinations are given 3 to 4 weeks apart. Vaccines cannot be given before 16 weeks of age or older.
FIV Vaccination (Feline Immunosuppresive Virus)
We generally do not recommend this vaccination.
There are many other vaccinations on the market, or in development, for cats and dogs. We evaluate these as they come to market for safety, and to assess whether they are a good idea for our patients. Our recommendations will change with time, as we feel appropriate.
At Kensington Veterinary Hospital we are able to perform many types of surgeries. These include the more ‘routine’ surgeries such as ovariohysterectomy (‘spay’), castration (neuter), wound repair, lump removals, digit or limb amputation, bladder stone removal, as well as many types of internal and reconstructive surgeries. We are very proud of our state of the art surgical suite, top of the line anesthesia and equipment, and most of all our very dedicated and well-trained staff. We take surgical safety and pain management very seriously, and treat each patient as though they were our own. We promise to do our very best to ensure the best and safest outcome for each patient. If we do not feel we can offer the best possible surgical answer for a patient, we will suggest referral (see the Specialist Referral section) to a trusted and highly competent board-certified surgeon.
Dr. Brook Niemiec of Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties on the significance of periodontal disease in animals.
Proper pet dental care is extremely important to good health! Dental disease, which is often ‘silent’ in animals (they may not show obvious outward signs) is the cause of serious disease of the liver, kidneys, heart, bones, joints, and of course oral pain and odor. Animal teeth have very large and deep roots, which are extremely difficult to properly evaluate in an awake animal, or without dental radiographs. We are very proud to offer a very high quality of dental care at KVH, with highly trained staff and doctors and excellent equipment. Your pet’s teeth will thank you for it!
There are times when the severity or complexity of a patient’s dental disease will be better treated by a highly qualified, trusted veterinary dentist. These patients will be referred to:
Dr. Brook Niemiec
Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties
We are often asked about ‘anesthesia free dental cleanings’. There are very few situations where this procedure is appropriate, as it is only a superficial cosmetic cleaning.
This video may be helpful, and of course feel free to ask us
We love our state of the art digital radiology equipment! This allows us to get excellent radiographic images, in addition to making it very easy for us to easily and quickly share radiographs (via e-mail or disc) with specialists, etc, as needed. We also work closely with a board certified veterinary radiologist who helps us review challenging radiographs as well as performing ultrasound and other more complex diagnostic tests, to help us offer your pet the best possible care.