Importance of Pet Vaccinations
Vaccinations play an essential role in protecting your animal from potential diseases. Pet vaccinations can also help you avoid expensive treatments for completely preventable illnesses. Additionally, vaccinations ensure protection of diseases that are prevalent in the wildlife, such as rabies and distemper. Vaccines contain antigens, which induces a primary immune response in the body. This way if your pet is ever exposed to the actual disease their immune system is prepared to recognize and fight it off. Because the vaccination works by stimulating the immune system, it is perfectly normal for your pet to have mild symptoms such as soreness and fatigue after receiving vaccinations. Majority of animals respond very well to vaccinations. However, it is still important to keep an eye out for more serious side effects such as swelling around the face or persistent vomiting. If these symptoms occur contact your veterinarian immediately.
Canine Distemper—Canine distemper is a contagious viral disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies/dogs. This disease also affects wildlife in the area, such as foxes, coyotes, and raccoons. Because of this, contact between your dog and wildlife can facilitate the spread of this disease.
Canine Parvovirus—Parvovirus is a very contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies under the age of four months are at a particularly higher risk. The virus is spread from dog-to-dog contact and affects the gastrointestinal tract of the dog. The virus can also live on the surface of objects like kennels and water bowls.
Leptospirosis—Leptospirosis is a disease caused by an infection from a bacterium found worldwide in soil and water. Due to this, dogs that drink from rivers or lakes are at an increased risk of expose to the disease. Dog are most commonly the ones at risk for this disease, however, the disease can be manifested in cats as well.
Rabies—Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is secreted in saliva and is typically transmitted through a bite. Once signs and symptoms of rabies present themselves the disease is nearly always fatal. Because of this, it is of the upmost importance to vaccinate both your dogs and cats against rabies.
Feline Leukemia—Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most common infectious diseases in cats. The virus lives in the saliva and other secretions of infected cats and is transmitted through cat-to-cat contact, most commonly in the form of a bite. Cats that are most at risk for this disease are those that may encounter infected cats outside. For that reason, we particularly urge owners of outdoor cats to vaccinate against feline leukemia.
**This is by no means a comprehensive list of vaccinations. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle he/she may require a slightly different vaccination regiment. For a more detailed list of the vaccinations that your pet needs talk with your veterinarian at your next visit.
Blog by Nicole Lathrop, senior at Colorado State University