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Have you ever wondered if the vaccinations your pet receives are really needed? Although getting your pet into the car for the drive to the veterinarian's office isn't always easy, skipping vaccinations can have a serious impact on your pet's health.
Why Are Vaccines Important?
Vaccines not only prevent your pet from catching infectious diseases, but also offer other important benefits, including:
What Do Vaccines Do?
Antigens, substances that trigger the production of antibodies, are contained in vaccines. Antibodies identify foreign bacteria and viruses and react quickly, killing the invading organisms before they can cause disease symptoms.
What About Side Effects?
Inspired by the backlash against vaccines for children, some pet owners have decided to opt out of vaccinating their dogs and cats. Many people who don't vaccinate their dogs or cats express concerns about possible side effects. New York Magazine reported on the issue in its February 2015 edition, noting that widespread vaccine avoidance can trigger outbreaks of diseases that were once thought to be under control, such as distemper.
Distemper affects the nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms of dogs. Dogs affected by the disease may have high fevers, watery eyes, hardened foot pads, coughing, vomiting, seizures and paralysis. The death rate for distemper is high. If a dog doesn't die from the disease, he or she may have lasting nervous system damage.
The distemper vaccine offers a simple way to prevent death and suffering. All vaccines may cause side effects, but side effects are usually mild, don't last long and don't affect every dog. Common vaccine side effects include fever, appetite loss, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or hives.
Before your pet receives a vaccination, his or her veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and may even recommend a few tests to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to receive the vaccine. The veterinarian may also recommend checking his or her immunity level before offering a vaccine.
What Vaccines Are Needed?
Your pet will probably need a combination of core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are vaccines that every pet should have, while non-core vaccines may be recommended based on the area of the country in which you live and your dog or cat's potential exposure to various diseases.
Core vaccines for dogs include rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis, while non-core vaccines may include Lyme disease, parainfluenza, bordetella or leptospirosis. Rabies and feline distemper are core vaccines for cats, in addition to calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. Non-core vaccines for cats include feline leukemia and bordetella.
All pets don't receive the same vaccines. Factors that affect which vaccines are offered include your pet's age, health, habits, lifestyle, vaccination history and potential risk of contracting certain diseases. Puppies and kittens receive a series of vaccinations to bolster their immune systems, while older animals may only need vaccinations every one to three years, depending on the vaccine type, their immunity and local regulations and recommendations.
Even if your pet requires several vaccinations, he or she won't usually need to endure multiple shots. Many vaccines can be combined to make the injection process as easy as possible. Some vaccines are also available in liquid form.
Keep your pets and your family safe by vaccinating your dogs and cats. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
American Veterinary Medical Association: Vaccinations
ASPCA: Vaccinations for Your Pet
New York Magazine: Is the Anti-Vaccination Movement Spreading to Pet Owners?, 2/4/15
WebMD: Pet Vaccines: Schedules for Cats and Dogs, 2016
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Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.