Seneca Animal Hospital knows how important your furry friend is in your life. They are more than just pets, they are members of your family. We also know that you want your pet to live their longest, happiest, and healthiest life. Preventative care is needed to keep your pet feeling their best. There are many infectious diseases that can affect an animal's quality of life, and that is why vaccines are a vital part of any pet's health plan. They help animals fight disease before it takes hold, and helps keep pet populations safe from infection. To see exactly why vaccines are so important and how best to ensure your pet’s safety, it’s critical to understand how they work.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines administer a very low dose of a pathogen to a pet, so that their immune system can “learn” to fight it. When a virus or bacteria enters the animal’s body for the first time, they will not possess an immunity, but introducing the disease prompts their system to manufacture antibodies to help fight it, explains the American Veterinary Medical Association. Those antibodies then live in their bloodstream from then on, so should they encounter that pathogen in real life, full-strength, they will already have the ability to fight it.
Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
Your pet needs “core” vaccines and may need “non-core” vaccines. Core vaccines are vaccines that are meant to protect an animal from getting a disease that has a high mortality rate, that can also be spread easily to your pet. Core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/ parvovirus and rabies. Core vaccines for cats include feline panleukopenia/calicivirus/rhinotracheitis and rabies. Without vaccination, rabies is 100% fatal and can potentially be spread to humans, which is why New York State legally requires all dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies.
Depending on your individual dog or cat, your vet may also recommend other vaccines as well. These are called non-core vaccinations and are optional because these diseases usually have a low exposure to most pets. However, they may be needed depending on your pet's geological location, or lifestyle. For example, if you take your pet camping frequently or if deer are prominent in your area, you will want to vaccinate your dog against Lyme Disease (Borrelia Burgdorferi). Not every dog will need this vaccine. There are also non core vaccines for cats as well. For instance, if your cat is at risk for developing feline leukemia, your vet may advise to vaccinate against it to help protect your pet.
Are There Side Effects to Vaccinating?
Usually, no. Vaccines are safe, and we’ve been using the same ones on dogs and cats for years. At most, pets may experience a bit of mild fever, or discomfort associated with the low dose of the vaccines they’ve received. In rare cases, however, you may notice a serious allergic reaction. These include itching and swelling of the skin and face, vomiting and diarrhea, or in the most serious reaction causing difficulty breathing. If you notice any of this, please seek veterinary assistance right away.
Mostly, though, vaccinations are a routine part of any pet’s life. They are there to prevent your pet from getting a highly contagious infectious disease. Want to learn more about vaccinating today? Feel free to get in touch with us at (716) 652-6120!