WHAT ARE VACCINES?
Vaccines contain antigens that trigger an immune response and prepare the body to fight future attacks from disease-causing organisms. A vaccination comes in different forms that include injectable, intranasal and oral. If your pet is ever exposed to the real disease, their immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO VACCINATE MY PETS?
Your pet can be exposed to diseases from other animals at the dog park, on the trails, socializing in the backyard, pretty much anywhere they go. They can also be exposed to many diseases such as Rabies, Leptospirosis and Distemper from wildlife and some of these diseases can be passed to your family. By getting your pet vaccinated it may prevent them from contracting potentially fatal diseases as well as keep you and your family safe.
ARE THERE RISKS TO VACCINATING MY PETS?
Just as with other medical treatments, there are potential risks associated. However, it is important to consider the risks versus the beneficial protection for your pets, your family and the community. Most pets respond well after vaccinations but some pets may have adverse reactions that are generally mild and short-term. Due to the fact that vaccines stimulate the immune system in order to provide protection in the body your pet may experience mild side effects such as:
⦁ Mild discomfort or swelling of the injection site
⦁ Scratching at area of injection
⦁ Decreased appetite and activity
⦁ Mild fever
⦁ Sneezing, mild coughing or other respiratory symptoms after an intranasal vaccination
Some more serious side effects would include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the muzzle or face, or collapse.
Paws to consider: Severe reactions are not common but you should notify your veterinarian right away if any of them develop.
WHICH VACCINES SHOULD MY PET GET?
Your pet should receive the basic ‘core’ vaccines recommended by your veterinarian. Each area or geographical location will differ in what is considered core depending on certain diseases that are commonly seen. In Colorado our core vaccines include DA2PP (includes distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza), Rabies and Bordetella. Leptospirosis is also included as a core vaccine in any area that has wildlife (including Parker.) There are other vaccines that may be considered not core vaccines and are included in your pet’s treatment plan based on where you live as well as your pet’s lifestyle.
Paws to consider: Many local or state ordinances require certain vaccinations of household pets.
HOW OFTEN DOES MY PET NEED TO BE VACCINATED?
The answer to this will depend on a variety of factors such as your pet’s age and lifestyle. For example, puppies and kittens are highly susceptible to contagious diseases because their immune systems are not fully developed. They will need several vaccines in their first year of life to ensure their body will produce the antibodies needed to provide adequate protection. As your pet ages, vaccines are given every 1-3 years depending on the duration of protection of each vaccine, your pet’s health status as well as the vaccination schedule followed by your veterinarian.
At Veterinary Center of Parker, Inc. we offer monthly wellness packages that are designed to take the guesswork out of knowing what your pet needs every year. They include the vaccines your pets need at every stage of life. Give us a call at 720-851-0820 today to get more information!
The Veterinary Center of Parker, Inc. is pawsitively excited to bring you Pet Tips & Advice. With each issue we hope to bring you a bit of information that you will find useful for you and your pet.
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