What are pet vaccines?
Vaccines are those health products that work to trigger protective immune responses. These then prepare pets to fight off possible future infections from any agents that cause such diseases. They work in two ways: to reduce the severity of such diseases should they strike, or to completely prevent such an infection. Vets have a wide variety of such vaccines available to them and animals who have completed an effective vaccination program gain a very high level of vital protection.
Is pet vaccination really necessary?
Yes. It’s a vital part of any pet’s preventative health programme. This should be carefully scheduled and ongoing, as immunity reduces as time passes. Annual vaccinations are the only recognised way to ensure both initial and continued protection against a range of serious and potentially lethal diseases.
Annual vaccination visits are also a useful way for your vet to carry out a thorough examination of your pet, and for you to ask any questions and discuss any key worries or even slight concerns you may have.
Should your pet need to be boarded at any time, say if you are on vacation, then such premises will only accept vaccinated animals. The same is true if dogs are attending obedience classes.
When does my pet need to be vaccinated?
All puppies and kittens should receive their first batch of vaccinations when they are eight weeks old.
The next set of injections should be administered at 10 weeks. Once your pet has received this second round of vaccinations, it is safe for them to socialize with other animals one week after from 11 weeks old.
Puppies and kittens should receive a third round of vaccinations at 12 weeks, and after this you should make sure that they receive a yearly set of booster injections so that they are continuously protected against the most contagious diseases.
What diseases are my pet being vaccinated against?
There are a number of diseases that can afflict cats and dogs, but most pets can be protected from the worst of them if they are vaccinated properly. These include distemper, infectious hepatitis, canine cough (dogs only), parvovirus and Feline immunodeficiency virus (cats only).
These diseases are very common among unvaccinated cats and dogs, and can spread rapidly without treatment. Once contracted, these illnesses can prove painful, distressing, and even fatal.Luckily, most of these illnesses can be prevented with several rounds of injections. Early vaccination has been proven to protect against these diseases (and others), keeping your pet healthier and happier.
Do pet vaccinations have any side effects?
It is very unusual for a pet to suffer any major side effects from being vaccinated – whether it’s a single vaccination or a series of vaccinations. If you do have any concerns about the possibility, make sure you take the time to discuss these with your vet, who can inform you of risks associated with specific vaccines.
In terms of slight side effects, a tiny percentage of animals experience either a stinging sensation when being vaccinated or can seem slightly lethargic for a period in the first 24 hours after receiving their vaccination. Any serious reactions beyond this level are extremely rare occurrences.
Are dog/cat vaccines 100% effective?
As there are a number of varied factors which combine to have an influence on the vaccination process and its overall success, 100% effectiveness can never be guaranteed. This is because immune system responses are biological in nature.
However, in the overwhelming majority of situations after a vaccination, a pet will produce an immune response which offers thoroughly adequate immune protection against that particular disease.
However, you should always be aware that, as with human vaccinations, a very small number of all subjects vaccinated might not acquire the required level of immunity. In such cases, a pet may still be susceptible to that particular infection.
My dog never goes to boarding kennels. Why does it need to be vaccinated against kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a bit of a misnomer, in that it does not only affect dogs who go to boarding kennels.
Kennel cough, or canine cough, is an extremely infectious viral infection that can be spread among dogs in any areas where they socialize. This can include boarding kennels, as well as parks, dog shows and training schools.
It is frequently referred to as ‘kennel cough’ because it used to be prevalent in boarding kennels – if one dog contracted the disease, the others would quickly become infected. However, with proper vaccination, most dogs can now be protected against the illness, regardless of whether or not they are visiting boarding kennels.
My pet doesn’t socialise with others. Does it still need vaccinations?
In short, yes. The most contagious diseases (e.g. canine cough) can be transmitted by air, so even if your dog does not mix with other dogs, close proximity to another dog may be all it takes to pass an infection. In addition, some diseases (such as parvovirus) can be carried into your home on the soles of your feet or clothing. It is important to socialise your dog early, as frequent interaction will help them build up an immunity to minor diseases. For this reason, an isolated dog could actually be more susceptible to disease due to a weakened immune system.