Vaccination. Just Do It.
It is so important to vaccinate your pet. Routine vaccination is one of the simplest things you can do to give your pet a longer, healthier life. Vaccination prevents many diseases that can be fatal, and can lessen the severity of others by triggering immune responses in pets – basically, they teach the body how to fight particular infections. There are a few vaccines that every animal should receive (the core vaccines) and a few more that are only recommended for animals at risk for exposure to those diseases.
The core vaccines are:
feline viral rhinotracheitis,
feline calicivirus infection,
canine parvovirus infection, and
Feline leukemia and canine kennel cough are usually recommended as well.
Some people are afraid of vaccinations because they don’t understand how vaccinations work. (We are happy to explain, but it takes longer than a blog post. If you really want to understand, please ask for a more detailed explanation at your next visit.) But you don’t need a medical degree to understand that veterinarians have vaccinating pets for over a century without causing diseases in pets. In fact, once-common diseases have become rare in places where routine vaccination is common.
It’s normal for pets to feel a bit tired for a couple days after getting vaccinated – their immune systems are working hard to figure out what to do with all those new antibodies. Keep a close eye on your pet for a day or two after getting shots. Look out for:
Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Itchy skin that may seem bumpy ("hives")
Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
These are symptoms of an allergic reaction, which is very rare, but can be serious when it does happen.
Every vaccine is a little different. Some only need to be administered once; some need to be repeated a couple weeks later to take full effect. Some vaccines provide immunity for only a year, others may last longer.
Spring is a great time to get caught up if you’ve fallen behind with your pets’ vaccinations. Call to find out what vaccinations your animals are due for, and don’t hesitate to set up an appointment if you’re behind. It’s so much better for your pet to feel a bit under-the-weather for a day or two than to catch rabies or parvo!