Benefits of Pet Immunizations
As a caring and responsible owner, you undoubtedly want to protect your pet from harm. One of the ways in which you can do that is to make sure that your pet has the correct immunizations, and has them kept up to date by following the guidelines for regular booster vaccinations.
What are vaccines?
Pet vaccines work in exactly the same way as human vaccines, which is by introducing a controlled and compromised form of a disease-causing pathogen into the body. This stimulates the immune system and teaches it to recognize those specific harmful pathogens, but because the vaccine uses a compromised form, no illness or infection will occur. However, if your pet then encounters the true pathogen in the future, their immune system will recognize it and begin to fight it immediately, protecting them from the associated illness.
Vaccines can vary and while some only require a single shot to be given, others require your pet to have a series of smaller doses of the vaccine to be effective.
In many areas, local or state ordinances require specific vaccinations of household pets to help protect against the spread of infectious diseases.
What are the benefits of pet immunizations?
It is widely accepted by most veterinarians and animal health experts around the world that vaccinations are a crucial part of disease control and that the widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has saved the lives of millions of animals.
By choosing to vaccinate your pets, you are not only prolonging their health and wellbeing by protecting them from debilitating disease, but you are also helping to prevent the spread of such diseases to other animals in the vicinity which might not have been vaccinated. In areas where there is a large population of un-vaccinated pets, serious, contagious diseases can spread extremely quickly thanks to the natural habit of animals to stick their paws, noses and mouths into things that they shouldn’t!
However, immunizations don’t only protect the four-legged members of your family. Some dangerous diseases - such as rabies - can be transmitted from pets to people, which could put your family at risk.
Are there any risks associated with pet immunizations?
Just like humans, some pets do experience mild side effects as a result of their immunization. These can include swelling, redness and itching at the site of the injection and a slightly raised core temperature. These usually subside within 48 hours and are rarely a cause for concern.
It is possible for an animal to have an allergic reaction to an immunization, but instances of this are rare and the general consensus among veterinary professionals are that the benefits of immunizations far outweigh the risks.
How do I know what immunizations my pet needs?
What immunizations your pet should have will vary depending on their species, age and general health. Almost all animals will receive the ‘core vaccines’ for their species.
For dogs, the core vaccines include:
- Canine distemper.
- Canine hepatitis.
- Canine parvovirus.
For cats, the core vaccines include:
- Feline calicivirus.
- Feline distemper.
- Feline viral rhinotracheitis.
Your veterinarian will be able to advise you which vaccinations your pet needs and how often any booster shots should be received. It is important for pet owners to make a note of these appointments and to ensure that they keep them so that their pets remain as protected as possible.
Immunizations for puppies and kittens
Puppies and kittens should always be given their initial vaccinations, which usually happens after they leave their mother at around 8 weeks of age. Some breeders choose to vaccinate their animals before they go to their new homes. Therefore, it is advisable to check with them at the time of securing your animal whether or not they will have received their first immunizations when you take them home. If not, then you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for your new pet to get their initial vaccines as soon as possible after they have come to live with you.
Pet immunizations should be a priority for any responsible owner as they can protect your pet and your human family from a variety of painful, debilitating and even fatal conditions. Speak to Dr. Roth to discuss which vaccinations are right for your pet and organise a schedule of immunizations and boosters today.