Vaccinations are undoubtedly one of the most controversial aspects of pet care, but experts agree that they remain a crucial part of animal wellness. Many pet owners opt not to get their animals sufficiently vaccinated simply because they don’t understand enough about how vaccinations work and why they are so important.
To enable you to feel informed ahead of your pet’s vaccination appointment, here are some of the most frequently asked questions put to our team about veterinary vaccinations.
What are vaccines?
A vaccine is the name given to a health product that is used to trigger a safe but effective autoimmune response from your pet. Each vaccine is designed to replicate the infectious disease it is designed to prevent and in doing so, will prompt your pet’s body to release antibodies to fight it. Although there is no risk of harm, your pet’s immune system will still remember the response and will fight the real disease automatically should your pet come into contact with it.
How long does each vaccine prevent disease for?
Every vaccination has a set period for which it is considered most effective. After this time, the protection that it offers can begin to diminish. It is for this reason that veterinarians strongly advocate a schedule of preventative vaccines that should be strictly adhered to. Failing to ensure that your pet gets the right vaccinations at the right time could leave her susceptible to disease.
Since each pet is unique, a generalized vaccination schedule may not always be appropriate. Therefore, it is recommended that veterinarians create customized vaccination programs for each animal in their care.
Which vaccines should my pet have?
Again, every pet is different and although there are a group of core vaccines that all animals of a certain species should have, there may also be individual, non-essential vaccines that could be considered beneficial for your pet. For example, immunization against tick-borne diseases might be advisable if you live in an area where ticks are particularly active. Our veterinarian at Denton Veterinary Center will be happy to advise which vaccines your pet should have as well as exactly when they should be administered.
My cat stays indoors all of the time, does she still need to be vaccinated?
Not vaccinating their feline is one of the biggest mistakes made by cat owners. While your furbaby is much more likely to be affected by a contagious disease if she roams away from your home and comes into contact with other animals, some contagious diseases are airborne and can enter your property through an open window or door. In other circumstances, bacteria or parasites may gain entry to your home via another host such as another pet or even on the clothes and shoes of humans.
Are vaccines safe?
By far one of the most common concerns of pet owners is the safety of vaccines. Millions of animals have been saved from illness and death caused by infectious diseases. Nevertheless, as with all types of medical treatment or procedure, there is some degree of risk associated with the use of preventative vaccines. However, severe adverse reactions are extremely rare, and veterinarians do everything that they can to minimize the risk to your pet. This includes assessing your animal for the suitability of each vaccine ahead of administering them.
Will my pet experience any side effects from the vaccine?
Not all pets will experience side effects after being given a vaccination, but it is a fairly common occurrence. These side effects should be fairly mild. However, if your pet were to experience any of the following you should seek veterinary care immediately:
⦁ Itchy skin / presence of hives
⦁ Swelling around the muzzle, neck or eyes
⦁ Persistent vomiting/diarrhea
⦁ Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
⦁ Collapse / unconsciousness
If you have any questions about vaccines that we haven’t covered here, feel free to call our Denton, TX office and speak to our knowledgeable and experienced team of professionals.