August is National Immunization Awareness Month! Suppose you are thinking about adding a new furry friend to your household, or you just adopted one. In that case, you will likely have to get your pet vaccinated during their first visit to the vet. Vaccines are the key to helping your new pet live a long and happy life. Continue reading to discover more about vaccines, and why their importance will continue to be highlighted all month long!
1) What are vaccines?
Vaccinations are products used to help trigger protective immune responses against diseases to help your pet fight them off should they be exposed in the future. Every year, we are encouraged to get the flu shot at our local clinics in the colder months, to help our bodies respond and fight off the flu virus if we end up contracting it. This same concept applies when you get your pets vaccinated. While no vaccine is 100 percent effective, it can help your pet resist illnesses or recover much more quickly if they do become infected.
2) Why get your pets vaccinated
When puppies and kittens are first born, they are very susceptible to contracting infectious diseases, as their immune systems are very weak. While the breastmilk from their mothers contains proteins and vitamins to boost their immunity, it will eventually wear off once they grow and get older. In the state of Indianapolis, it is mandatory by law to have your pet vaccinated against rabies. Vaccines can also lessen the severity of future diseases, and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. The use of vaccines has prevented millions of unnecessary deaths in cats and dogs simply because they are protected against deadly diseases that continue to live in the environment.
3) Which vaccines are important
Young puppies or kittens will have to get a series of vaccinations to ensure optimal protection against illnesses. Depending on where you live, and your pet’s lifestyle, your veterinarian can recommend which vaccines would be best for your pet. “Core” vaccines are ones that are recommended and administered to most pets, while “non-core” vaccines are reserved for pets with more unique needs. The primary core vaccines for dogs include DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza), and Rabies. DHPP is administered in a single injection. The major core vaccines for cats are Feline Calicivirus and Feline Rhinotracheitis, Feline Panleukopenia (also known as Feline Distemper), and Rabies.
4) How Often Should I Vaccinate my Pet?
Each pet has its own unique needs; therefore, each vaccination plan will be different. It used to be considered normal to have your pet vaccinated every year. Still, with time and research, veterinarians have seen that vaccines can protect pets beyond one year. After your pets’ initial round of vaccinations, they will be provided with boosters every two to three years to ensure the immune system stays strong!
Having a vaccinated pet will allow them the luxury of being around other dogs, and it will allow them to participate in doggy daycares, enter boarding facilities, and even go on dogs walks if you have a dog-walker or pet sitter.