By: Misa Nash
Nowadays, vaccinations are a controversial topic, but it’s important to keep the conversation going. There are many sources of information online that provide answers to some of the questions you have. It can get confusing. We decided to provide some information to help clear the fog surrounding vaccinations.
What age should vaccinations begin and why?
Up until 6 weeks of age, puppies and kittens are protected by antibodies in the mother’s milk. As they wean, they become more susceptible to illnesses around them. Beginning vaccinations at that crucial age can help them build a strong immune system. Contrary to popular belief, our pets need vaccinations as adults, as well.
How often should my pets get vaccinations?
Depending on what is used by your veterinarian, vaccinations are usually done annually. While some offer them less often, yearly is the best practice. Depending on your county, rabies vaccinations may only be recognized yearly. It also gives your veterinarian the opportunity to notice any changes they may be seeing in your pet. Using these visits as preventative care is the best option for keeping your pet protected.
Why are vaccinations important?
Vaccinations are important to help your pets live longer lives. They help prevent many diseases including deadly ones including distemper and parvo. Unvaccinated pets are a risk to other animals and people near them. Zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis are vaccinated against. These can be spread between humans and animals.
How do vaccinations work?
When your pet is vaccinated against a disease, a small amount of the organism is modified so it will not cause disease in the animal and is administered to your pet. The organism in a vaccine will stimulate your pets immune system to generate a protective immune response.
Can my pets have reactions to vaccinations and what do I do?
Just like any vaccinations or medications, a reaction can occur within an individual animal. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any swelling, extreme soreness or lethargy in your pet after vaccinations. Often, reactions can be lessened by administering Benadryl to your pet before or after the vaccinations. Always consult your veterinarian for dosage.
Can I give my pets vaccinations at home?
Home vaccinations are discouraged and often not recognized by veterinarians for many reasons. Vaccinating an animal is a very specific process. It has to be handled correctly and kept at a certain temperature. They are have to be mixed and administered very carefully. Rabies vaccinations are not legally recognized if not administered by a veterinarian. It’s safest to have a veterinarian administer them, in case of an adverse reaction.
It can be so easy to overlook the vaccinations needed for our pets. Life happens and sometimes we forget. Maintaining an annual vaccination and exam appointment is important for everyone’s health, including your own. Talk to your veterinarian about any other questions or concerns you have. Figure out the best schedule for you and your family to keep everyone protected.