A place for pets

"I was looking for a vet that seemed to share some of my ideas about animal medicine, which are a little offbeat," said Wicker.

Besides a comfortable bedside manner, Wicker said Zaidel takes an individualized approach to each pet, catering treatment and care on a case-to-case basis and discussing openly with pet owners every option.

One area of pet care that doesn't always give the pet owners much freedom or options is vaccination. Zaidel said Malta Animal Hospital said aside from state mandated vaccines like distemper and rabies, the doctors all lay out the pros and cons of "optional" vaccines in light of side effects like allergic reactions or the development of certain cancers.

"For booster shots, a lot of clients are accepting rather than every year going for them, we spread them out based on well established information that vaccines last longer than originally thought," said Zaidel. "We always distribute them in different locations in the body to ensure we know where we give a particular vaccine."

That's a preventative measure, said Zaidel, so should an unlikely complication occur, doctors know which vaccine caused it.

"We have a standard plan of where each vaccine goes in the body," said Zaidel.

It's also Malta Animal Hospital protocol to spread out the time between vaccines, something Zaidel said isn't done everywhere.

"When it comes to vaccine safety, it's important to not just spread them out in terms of regions of the body, but over time especially in smaller breeds of dogs and cats, we see a lot fewer vaccine reactions when they're spread out over time. It minimizes risk so we're not over stimulating at any one time."

Zaidel's personal experience with his practice's one and only case of vaccine induced sarcoma is what helped drive the vaccine philosophy.

"I had to treat vaccine induced sarcoma once, in my own cat, and it was successful; that's the one and only time I've had to treat [it] and I feel thankful for that because it helped to guide decisions we make," said Zaidel. "We focus our attention on not just finding the vaccine that may be appropriate but the safest vaccine."

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