Choosing to become a pet parent means accepting a wide range of responsibilities. One of the most important is keeping your animal as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, domestic animals are just as prone to becoming unwell as we are, and there are just as many contagious and infectious diseases that can compromise their health and wellbeing. Pet vaccines can prevent many of these conditions from occurring and help our animals enjoy a long, active life.
Preventative care takes many forms, but one of the most important aspects of any preventative care program is pet vaccines. Pet vaccines work in just the same way that human ones do, tricking the body into producing antibodies to fight a disease that isn’t really there so that it can defend itself should your pet actually come into contact with the relevant harmful virus or bacteria. Vaccines are highly successful and have been proven to save countless animal and human lives around the globe. However, vaccines are only effective for a number of months. After this time, their ability to trigger the production of antibodies fails and your pet becomes vulnerable to the disease once more. In order to remain fully protected, your pet must have the vaccine re-administered before the initial shot becomes completely ineffective.
Why are pet vaccines so important?
As we know, there are a number of different infectious diseases which can affect our animals. Some of these are treatable if diagnosed quickly, while others can cause pain and debilitating symptoms, permanent damage to your pet’s body and, in some cases, even be fatal. Fortunately, a robust preventative care program that includes the necessary vaccines can help protect your beloved furbaby from many of the ailments that could prove a threat to your pet’s health and life.
Nevertheless, regular vaccines are not only important for protecting your pet. Since these diseases spread extremely quickly, if you fail to vaccinate your pet you could be responsible for transmitting it to other animals which aren’t protected, causing them to experience dreadful symptoms or even a premature death.
Finally, there are a few infectious diseases, including rabies, which can be transmitted from animals to humans. By not vaccinating your pet, you could potentially be putting your own life and that of others at risk.
What vaccines does my pet need?
The exact vaccines that your pet needs will depend on her species, her age and where you live. Most veterinarians agree that there are some ‘core’ vaccines that should be given to all animals of a species regardless of their individual circumstances. In addition to this, there are some ‘optional’ vaccines that would not necessarily benefit all animals but could prove invaluable to those creatures in certain circumstances. For example, a Lyme Disease vaccine for a dog that lives in North-eastern states where ticks carrying the disease are prevalent or a rattlesnake vaccine for a canine that lives in Arizona.
Our veterinarian at Jones Veterinary Hospital will be able to tell you exactly what vaccines would be most suitable for your animal, and how often your pet should receive them. It is important to bear in mind that infant animals have developing immune systems and therefore need a number of small-dose vaccines spread over a number of months before they can move onto an adult vaccination schedule.
How are pet vaccines administered?
Pet vaccines are administered in exactly the same way as a human vaccine via a shot into the body. The process is quick, fairly painless and your pet can return home shortly after.
Are pet vaccines safe?
There has been some controversy over the safety of pet vaccines for many years. Nevertheless, the resounding majority of people agree that the benefits outweigh the small risks associated with their use.
As with all medical procedures, there is a small chance that your pet will experience post-vaccine complications. Mild side effects can include lethargy, loss of appetite and soreness at the site of the injection. However, a small number of animals may find that they are hypersensitive to the vaccine and experience an allergic reaction. If your pet develops a persistently itchy rash, breathing difficulties, severe cough, vomiting and diarrhea or any other worrying symptoms, speak to our veterinarian as a matter of urgency to rule out an allergic response to the vaccine.
If you would like to find out more about preventative pet care including information about pet vaccines, please do not hesitate to contact our Andalusia, AL office.