Our pets are simply our extended family members covered in fur. Why wouldn’t you give them all the same tools to live long, stay strong and experience maximum health?
Vaccines are an inescapable part of any pet health plan. They help animals fight 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 work.
Here are some of the most common questions, and their answers.
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. 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, explains the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Those antibodies then live in their bloodstream from then on, so should they encounter that pathogen in real life, they will already have the tools to fight it.
Will My Pet Be 100 Percent Immune?
This is a tricky question. Some animals who receive vaccines do develop total immunity. Others only develop partial immunity. Still others, if they don’t receive booster shots regularly, may lose part or all of their previous immunity.
That’s why the concept of “herd immunity” is so important. When the entire population is vaccinated to a particular disease, the disease can’t find a foothold. Therefore, even if an animal didn’t have 100 percent immunity, they’re still have protection since the disease wouldn’t be spreading significantly in the area.
However, today’s reports show that not nearly enough animals are getting vaccinated. Let’s all work to change that.
Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
Pet vaccines generally fall into two categories: “core” and “non-core” - also referred to as lifestyle vaccines. Core vaccines include Rabies and Distemper. A non-core vaccine covers diseases such as Feline Leukemia or Lyme disease. During your pet’s annual wellness examination, our healthcare team can help you determine which vaccines are recommended.
Are There Side Effects to Vaccinating?
Vaccines are safe and well-vetted, and we’ve been using the same ones on dogs and cats for years. Pets may experience a mild fever or discomfort associated with the vaccine. In rare cases, however, you may notice a serious allergic reaction: itching and swelling of the skin and face, vomiting and diarrhea, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of this, please seek veterinary assistance right away.
Want to learn more about vaccines and which your pet should receive? Feel free to get in touch with us at 410-379-6789 or email us at [email protected].