How Do Pet Vaccinations Protect My Pet? Your Questions Answered
Although you know your pet needs vaccinations yearly, you may not fully understand what they protect against, how they work, and which ones are necessary. Our team answers these common questions about pet vaccinations to clear up any confusion.
Question: How do vaccines work to protect my pet?
Answer: Vaccines are designed to trigger your pet’s protective immune response to prepare them for future immunity against infectious diseases. When your pet is given a vaccine, their body produces antibodies that will reappear when a pathogenic threat reappears.
Q: What vaccinations does my pet need?
A: Pet vaccinations are divided into two categories: core and non-core. Core vaccinations are those that every pet needs, whereas non-core vaccinations are given based on a pet’s lifestyle and exposure risk. Common vaccinations for dogs generally include rabies, distemper, adenovirus-2 (i.e., hepatitis), and parvovirus. Canine non-core vaccinations include bordetella (i.e., kennel cough), leptospirosis, Lyme disease, parainfluenza, and canine influenza. For cats, core vaccinations include rabies, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and feline herpesvirus-1. Feline non-core vaccinations include feline leukemia virus (although all cats should have an initial series) and chlamydophila.
Instead of giving every pet the same set of vaccinations, our team will discuss your furry pal’s lifestyle with you to determine what exposure risk they have and which vaccinations would be best.
Q: Why does my pet need vaccinations if they rarely go outside?
A: Do you have a house cat who never steps a paw outside? Or, maybe your tiny Chihuahua is trained to use puppy pads, so they rarely venture outdoors. Despite a decreased exposure risk, these pets also need preventive vaccinations. Wildlife can sneak into attics or basements and expose your pet to rabies or other transmissible diseases. You also may need to board your pet in an emergency situation, and boarding facilities require pets to be current on vaccinations to protect not only them but their other pet guests.
Vaccinations cause few, if any, side effects for most pets and generally protect against far worse diseases. Contact your vet for questions about which vaccinations would be best for your pet.