Benefits of Immunizations

Calling All Pet Parents: It’s Immunization Reminder Time!

We cannot predict when your pet will get sick. Of course, we wish we could.  Luckily, with the help of vaccines, we can prevent some of the most painful and fatal diseases that at one time took the lives of countless pets.

Busting the “Over-Vaccination” Myth

Some pet parents believe vets overly vaccinate pets. This is simply not true. Our team, along with all other veterinarians, take an oath to use science and our skills to benefit society and protect animals. We promise to prevent needless suffering of animals and their keepers--and this is precisely what immunizations do: protect pets from pain and senseless death.

This is why the myth and rumor of over-vaccination continues to break our hearts and put pets at risk.

Why Does Your Pet Need Vaccines?

Just what impact do vaccines have on your pet? Let’s take a closer look.

Vaccines help your pet’s body build up antibodies that will attack and defeat viruses and bacterial infections that they may later come in contact with. Without vaccines, your pet’s body is unprepared to fend off the illnesses and poses a greater risk, and sometimes guaranteed death, if they cross paths with certain viruses.

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are essential for all cats and dogs. When it comes to vaccines, we consider “core” vaccines universally recommended no matter where you live. Why? These protect both you, your pets, and other animals from serious illnesses. From rabies to parvo, vaccines keep your pet alive and provide you with peace of mind.

Core Vaccines for Dogs:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Adenovirus (canine hepatitis)
  • Rabies

Core Vaccines for Cats

  • Distemper (panleukopenia)
  • Calicivirus
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Rabies

Non-Core Vaccines

Don’t confuse “non-core” with “less useful.” While non-core vaccines may seem less necessary because they are not required, they are just as vital when it comes to safeguarding your dog or cat from illness, suffering, and possible death. We may recommend non-core vaccines that will help your pet, based on lifestyle and pet's overall health.

Non-core does not imply that the diseases they prevent are less lethal or less painful than the illnesses core vaccines prevent.

For example, the leptospirosis vaccine is a non-core vaccine, but leptospirosis can lead to death in dogs. And feline infectious peritonitis is always fatal for cats, yet the vaccine is a non-core vaccine.

Non-Core Vaccines that Protect Your Pooch:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
  • Lyme Disease
  • Canine Influenza
  • Corona Virus

Non-Core Vaccines that Protect Your Cat:

  • Feline Leukemia
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis
  • Chlamydia
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough)

Cat Health Spotlight: What is Feline Leukemia Virus?

While cars are the #1 enemy of cats, Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) takes a close second. Why? While automobile trauma is the leading cause of death for our feline friends, FeLV is a close runner up. 85% of cats diagnosed with FeLV pass away within three years due to related complications from the virus.

Why is FeLV so dangerous? This virus suppresses a cat’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to other infections. And the virus, itself, can cause lymphoma, other cancers, and anemia.

Symptoms of FeLV:

  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Infections: UTI, bladder infection, upper respiratory infection, skin infection
  • Pale or inflamed gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizure
  • Miscarriage of kittens

How Does a Cat Become Infected with FeLV?

FeLV is passed from cat to cat through bodily fluids like saliva, urine, feces, nasal mucus, and breast milk. It can be transmitted from one cat to another when they groom each other, bite while playing, and at rare times when they share a litter box or food dish.

Cats that are allowed out are at higher risk for FeLV.

How Can a Cat with FeLV Be Treated for the Virus?

Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for FeLV once a cat has caught the virus. We can only help manage symptoms and related issues.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Cat from FeLV?

The most effective way to protect your cat from FeLV is to have her vaccinated. The FeLV has significantly reduced the number of cats infected with FeLV over the past 25 years. It is safe to vaccinate kittens and cats. We recommend all cats get vaccinated, even if you intend for them to just stay indoors (because, as you probably know all too well: cats are master escape artists).

Sometimes we suspect caring pet parents are afraid to ask questions about their pet’s vaccines or the possible illnesses their pets are at risk for without vaccines. Don’t hesitate to ask questions at your appointments. We’re here to inform pet owners and protect pets.

Vaccines need to be current to be effective. If you’re unsure how long it’s been since your pet received her last immunizations, give us a call, we are happy to help! 

Photo Credit: Ablokhin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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