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Is it necessary to vaccinate my pet?

Bringing your pet to the vet might not always be easy, but skipping vaccinations can seriously impact their overall health. Vaccines not only prevent your pet from catching infectious diseases but also offer other important benefits, including:

  • Reduced disease transmission: This not only protects your pet but also safeguards other animals that are too young to receive vaccines yet.
  • Lower veterinary costs: Treating diseases that vaccines prevent can be expensive.
  • Reduced zoonotic disease* risk, such as rabies and leptospirosis can be transmitted from animals to humans. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of such diseases.
  • Compliance with local businesses and regulations, such as doggy daycare, puppy school, boarding and travel, might require pets to be vaccinated.

*Diseases transmitted from animals to humans

How Vaccines Work?
Vaccines prepare the immune system to fight microorganisms that could pose a risk to your pet. While vaccines mimic disease-causing organisms, they do not actually cause the diseases. When a vaccine is administered, the body recognizes it as a “disease-causing agent,” which stimulates the immune system. Consequently, if your pet is exposed to the real disease in the future, their immune system will be primed to recognize and combat it swiftly.

Why Do Puppies and Kittens Need Multiple Vaccinations?
The immune system of young animals have not encountered many disease-causing agents, making them highly susceptible to infections. Although they initially receive some protection from antibodies in their mother’s milk, this immunity wanes over time. The first vaccination kickstarts their immune system’s defence against these agents, while subsequent doses continue to stimulate the production of antibodies for lasting protection.
Maternal antibodies can also interfere with a vaccine’s effectiveness, which is why a series of vaccines is recommended for puppies and kittens to ensure full immunity once maternal antibodies fade. Incomplete vaccination schedules can leave them vulnerable to infections.

Does My Pet Needs a Consultation before Vaccination
In pets with existing health issues, their immune response to vaccination might be compromised. That’s why a thorough examination by a veterinarian is important before vaccinating your pet. The veterinarian may also recommend checking antibody titers before administering a vaccine.

Understanding Antibody Titers
Antibody titers are blood tests that measure specific antibodies in circulation. Although these tests don’t directly reflect a pet’s immunity status, they can help determine if a pet is still protected from past vaccinations. Antibody titer testing is especially useful for pets that have had adverse reactions to vaccines.
If a pet tests positive, a vaccine booster might be unnecessary and re testing or vaccination booster is recommended within the next 1 -3 years. For those testing negative, vaccination is advised. However, remember that titers are usually pricier than booster vaccinations and should not replace annual health check-ups.

Vaccine Side Effects
While all vaccines can potentially stimulate the immune system and cause side effects, these effects are generally mild and short-lived.
Common side effects include lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, hives, or soreness at the injection site. Serious side effects, like difficulty breathing, face swelling or injection site tumours, are rare. If you suspect a vaccine reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What Vaccines are Needed?
Your pet will likely need a combination of core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are essential for protecting pets against severe diseases with global distribution. Non-core vaccines are recommended based on potential exposure risks, depending on your pet’s location and lifestyle.

Core vaccines Non- core vaccines
Dogs C3: Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus and Canine Hepatitis -Kennel cough: Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella Bronchiseptica
Cats F3: Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus. -Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)
-Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
-Chlamydia felis

Keep in mind that not all pets require the same vaccines. Factors such as age, health, lifestyle, and disease risk influence the vaccination decision. Puppies and kittens need a series of vaccinations to bolster their immune systems, while older animals may require vaccinations every one to three years, depending on the vaccine type. Many vaccines can also be combined to simplify the injection process and reduce the number of shots.

As you can see, the benefits of vaccinating your pet far outweigh the potential risks associated with vaccines. Vaccines serve as prevention rather than a cure, so keeping your pet up to date with vaccinations is crucial for their well-being. If you believe it’s time to vaccinate your pet, don’t hesitate to contact us!