The importance of vaccinating your pet

Keeping a pet means keeping it as fit and healthy as you can, and part of this involves getting your pet vaccinated as regularly as isrecommended by veterinary professionals. Diseases that can be detrimental to your pets’ health – and in some cases, even cause death – such as distemper, rabies, parvovirus and hepatitis, can all be prevented with timely vaccinations.

While it’s naturally important to keep your pet healthy with vaccinations, bear in mind that they can also help to keep you and your family healthy, too, as some canine illnesses can be transferred to humans.

Are they any official guidelines for vaccinating your pet?

The AAHA, or American Animal Hospital Association released a series of guidelines back in 2003, advising pet owners on when they should get their furry friends protected against various diseases, and how often, and these were revised a little over a decade ago.

Perhaps most importantly, the guidelines stated that no two dogs are the same, and so every vaccination schedule should be designed to meet each dogs’ needs, also accounting for the differing risk factors depending on the breed, current health status, age, lifestyle etc.

The risks of each type of disease will also vary depending on which city you are in, and they may even vary from one area of a city to another. Knowing this, it’s important to discuss a vaccination schedule with your local veterinarian, who will always be the best person to guide you.

Are there any health risks associated with pet vaccinations?

While there may always be a risk associated with any medical treatments for your pet, the risk is usually minimal, and it is far outweighed by the risk of not vaccinating your pet. Concerns about any negative affects upon your pets’ health, should always be discussed with your veterinarian, and they will give you the best advice that is relevant to your pet and their circumstances.

Some dogs have been known to react to vaccinations, but this is rare and often comes in the form of swelling or pain at the site of the vaccination, or in even more cases, a dog may experience an allergic reaction.

The basics of vaccinations that you should know:

There are two types of vaccinations given to pet dogs: core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are made up of those vaccinations generally considered to be essential for all dogs, no matter their age, breed or any other factors. They protect against potentially fatal diseases like adenovirus, parvovirus and distemper.

Non-core vaccines are usually those that protect against diseases which are prevalent only in certain environments or when your pet is exposed to a type of lifestyle.

How often should you vaccinate your pet?

Standard vaccination schedules are in place for all puppies, and they should be maintained throughout the first year of their life. After the first year, parvovirus, adenovirus and distemper vaccinations should be given once every year to three years, and your veterinarian will be able to advise you on an exact schedule.

There is a school of thought that states the importance of a yearly vaccination schedule, but the AAHA guidelines recommend vaccinating upon the individual condition and circumstances of your pet, of which your veterinarian will be able to determine.

When it comes to Rabies vaccines, each state and city will have its’ own governmental recommendations for how often it should be given.

Titer tests for pets:

If you are concerned about a vaccine and whether it’s necessary for your pet, you can ask your veterinarian to perform a ‘titer test’; a blood test that measures the antibodies for diseases that may or may not be present within your dogs’ body.

If you have any further questions about vaccinating your furry friend, please get in touch with your local veterinarian and they should be able to give you the most up to date and relevant advice and guidance.

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