Let’s bypass the scientific definition and make a long story short, a vaccine is a product that helps keep our pets from getting sick. If you want to dig in a little deeper, keep reading, otherwise you can skip to the next section.
Everybody has an immune system — you, your pets, even the birds chirping outside your window at five AM. Think of an immune system as an army whose sole purpose is to protect the body from invaders like bacteria, viruses, and even parasites. The immune system has two divisions, specific and non-specific. The non-specific side does its best to fight off all bad guys with generic weapons. The specific side has specialized artillery to fight one type of invader. These specialized weapons are much more efficient and effective than the generic weapons, so it is in the body’s best interest to mass produce them. However, in order to do that, the body first needs to get the blueprints.
Vaccines work by introducing the invaders into a body to provide the blueprints so that it can mass produce these specialized weapons. Don’t worry, the agent in the vaccine is changed in such a way that it can no longer actually cause illness. The body then produces a white blood cell army that is kept in reserve and ready to fight if that offender is ever seen again. This makes it less likely that bacteria, viruses, or parasites will cause illness or disease in a vaccinated pet.
Why Vaccinate Your Pet?
According to the AVMA, there are five main reasons to vaccinate your pet:
1. Certain vaccinations are required
For example, some cities require a rabies vaccination in order for a pet to be licensed. Rabies vaccinations are also required for your pet to cross most state lines. One vet visit means Fluffy doesn’t get left at the border while your family goes on vacation.
2. Save money
Sick pets are expensive pets. Instead of spending your money at the vet on medications for a preventable disease, use that cash to spoil them with toys.
3. To prevent illness
Nobody likes getting the flu, even your pup. Vaccinating builds that specialized immune system to prevent your furry friends from needing to take sick days.
4. Protect them from the wild
Even if your dog or cat never sees other dogs or cats, it doesn’t mean they’re safe from disease. Wildlife can transmit numerous diseases to our household pals that can be prevented with vaccinations.
5. Protect yourself and others
Not only do pets share their bad bugs with other pets, but they can also pass some diseases onto people as well. That poke in the neck can mean keeping you and your children safe from some illnesses too. Make sure to thank your pet for taking one for the whole team.
How Often Do I Vaccinate My Pets?
This is a question that is best left between you and your veterinarian and it depends on what you are vaccinating for. Core vaccines are ones that are recommended for all pets in a given area, while non-core vaccines are reserved for special circumstances like travel and contact with other animals. Most core vaccines are given yearly to every three years, again depending on your area and your pet’s lifestyle. Non-core vaccines are given as needed and will vary greatly.
Vaccines for Puppies and Kittens
A major mistake committed by unknowing pet owners is not completing the entire puppy or kitten series. One vaccination at eight weeks of age isn’t enough to provide protection for any of the diseases being vaccinated for. Most puppy and kitten series consist of three injections given four weeks apart. It’s only after the series is complete that you should consider your baby protected and ready to take on the world.
Are Vaccinations Worth the Stress?
Absolutely they are. It may be stressful to set aside time for a vet visit, but a vaccination visit may save your pet lots of pain and save you time and money in the long run. If you don’t have time for a vet visit or you and your pet feel more comfortable in your home than a vet’s office, visit FetchMyVet’s vaccination page to learn about in-home vaccinations. Remember, a vaccination appointment is a great opportunity to talk to your vet about food, weight, training, and other ways to improve your pet’s health.
It’s important, especially for vaccinations, to establish your pets with a veterinarian that you can trust. The vets at FetchMyVet are experienced, compassionate veterinary professionals who truly want to help your pet. Is your pet up to date on their vaccines? Schedule an appointment with the vets that pets love to help your pet live a long, happy, healthy life.