Proper vaccinations protect against harmful diseases by fighting off disease before it takes hold and keep pet populations as a whole safe from infection. To see exactly why vaccines are so important and how best to ensure your pet’s safety, it’s critical to understand how they operate.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines administer a very low dose of a pathogen to a pet, so that their immune system can “learn” to fight it. The American Veterinary Medical Association explains that when a virus or bacteria enters the animal’s body for the first time they will not possess an immunity, but introducing the disease prompts their system to manufacture antibodies to help fight it. Those antibodies then live in their bloodstream moving forwards, so should they encounter that pathogen in real life--full-strength--they will already have the tools they need to combat it.
Will My Pet Be 100 Percent Immune?
Some animals who receive vaccines do develop total immunity while others only develop partial immunity. If they don’t receive booster shots regularly, they may lose part or all of their previous immunity.
That’s why the concept of “herd immunity” is so important. When an entire population is susceptible to a particular disease and are then vaccinated, the disease can’t find a foothold. Therefore, if an animal didn’t have 100 percent immunity, it wouldn’t matter because other animals wouldn't be infected in order to pass it on. However, today’s reports show that not nearly enough animals are getting vaccinated.
We want to be a part of changing those statistics.
Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
Your pet needs “core” vaccines and may need “non-core” vaccines. Core vaccines for dogs include Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Rabies. Core inoculations for cats include feline Panleukopenia, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Rhinotracheitis and Rabies. Depending on your dog or cat's lifestyle, your vet may recommend other vaccines as well. For instance, if your dog loves going hiking with you in wooded areas, they are at risk of developing Lyme Disease. We may then recommend a Lyme vaccine to help combat the chances of infection from ticks.
Are There Side Effects to Vaccinating?
Vaccines are safe and extremely well-vetted. They are same vaccines that have been used on dogs and cats for many years. In some cases, pets may experience a mild fever or some discomfort associated with the low dose of the disease they’ve received. In rare cases, there can be an allergic reaction which can include itching and swelling of the skin and face, vomiting and diarrhea, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, please seek veterinary assistance immediately. For the most part, vaccinations are a routine part of any pet’s life and there is usually no cause for concern.
Want to learn more about vaccinating today? Feel free to get in touch with us at (773) 525-0472