Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Why Your Pet Benefits from Routine Vaccinations

Having your pet vaccinated on a yearly basis helps to protect them against disease by fortifying their immune system. How does this work? Just like human vaccines, pet vaccines contain antigens that, once inside your pet’s body, will stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies are able to detect and fight off any diseases that enter the body. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) cites five core reasons for vaccinating your pet:
· Many different diseases can be prevented with regularly-scheduled vaccinations.
· By preventing disease, vaccination also helps your pet avoid experiencing the debilitating effects of that disease and having to undergo costly, stressful treatment.
· Some animal diseases can also be passed on to humans, such as rabies and Lyme disease. Vaccinating your pet against these diseases makes getting infected far less likely.
· Pets that are not vaccinated are vulnerable to certain prevalent diseases seen in wildlife. Rabies and distemper are viral diseases with a high mortality rate that can be quickly passed on to your pet from bats, raccoons, skunks or foxes.
· Pennsylvania state law requires that dogs and cats over 3 months old be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Distemper for dogs and FVRCP for cats are also highly recommended.

Are Pet Vaccines Effective?

Vaccines cannot be used to treat an existing problem. However, they are an effective deterrent against infection and can give your pet additional protection to keep them healthy. Human vaccines have made certain diseases, such as polio and smallpox, virtually non-existent in much of the US. Likewise, with pet vaccines, our goal is to minimize the prevalence of rabies, distemper, and other diseases that can harm our pets.

What Are the Risks?

Medical treatment always has its share of risks, but the benefits are far greater. Most pets respond perfectly well to vaccines. For those that do not, many experience only mild, short-term effects. In rare cases, some cats may develop tumor growth at the vaccination site. Fortunately, there are vaccines available for cats designed to prevent these kinds of reactions.

It is important to note that our hospital recommends only the most necessary vaccines for your pet to avoid over-vaccinating. If your companion is unlikely to encounter kennel cough or Lyme disease during their lifetime, they will not need those vaccines. We encourage you contact us if you ever have questions regarding vaccines and which ones your pet will need most.