As is the case with humans, vaccination can help your dog or cat in avoiding an illness. It is one of the easiest ways of fighting against diseases that may try to knock down your pet. There are several types of vaccines for tackling different diseases. You should visit your vet to determine the best vaccination regime for your pet. Bear in mind that not every pet needs all vaccines. Depending on the medical history, age and lifestyle, a specific vaccination plan for each pet should be developed. Vets usually recommend administering at least the core vaccines to a healthy pet.
How vaccines work?
Vaccines work by making the body’s immune system ready for attacking the disease-causing organisms when, and if, they enter the body. Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system of the body through antigens. Antigens appear as disease-causing organisms to the immune system, and triggers the immune system to build an appropriate defense against the organisms. If the real disease-causing organisms ever enter the body, immune system is ready with the defense plan leading to killing of organisms or reducing their severity.
Core vaccines are those which have been determined to be important for all pets. Following are the core vaccines for dogs and cats.
Vaccines for feline calicivirus, panleukopenia or feline distemper, feline herpesvirus type I and rabies have been determined to be core vaccines for cats. The non-core vaccines are those for Bordetella, feline immunodeficiency virus. feline leukemia virus, and Chlamydophila felis.
Vaccines for distemper, canine parvovirus, rabies and canine hepatitis have been determined to be core vaccines for dogs. The non-core vaccines are those for Leptospira bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi and Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Frequency and Timing of vaccination
A kitten receives most of the required antibodies from her mother through mother’s milk, if her mother is healthy. In addition, starting around 6-8 weeks of age, a kitten should be administered required vaccines. Usually, a series of vaccines are administered at 3-4 weeks interval with the last dose given at 16 weeks of age.
Some vaccines are required to be administered annually while others are administered once every 3 years.
A puppy receives most of the required antibodies from her mother through mother’s milk, if her mother is healthy. In addition, starting around 6-8 weeks of age, a puppy should be administered required vaccines. Usually, 3 vaccines are administered at 3-4 weeks interval with the last dose given at 16 weeks of age.
Some vaccines are required to be administered annually while others are administered once every 3 years or more.
Please contact your vet for determining the exact schedule and timing of vaccinations.
Vaccination and risks
Vaccines have saved numerous lives and are safe for your pet. In some cases, there may be side effects which are usually short-lived. The most common side effects include fever, allergic reaction, soreness at injection site, sluggishness, vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, lameness and even seizures in some cases. Always discuss your pet’s medical history with the vet to avoid any unforeseen circumstances. Make sure to spend some time with your pet after vaccination so that you can take her to the vet in the case of a severe side-effect.