Vaccines are an important part of any pet’s preventative healthcare routine. However, many clients question whether or not they need to have their pets vaccinated and which diseases pose the highest threat. Vaccines are designed to stimulate protective immune responses to prepare the body to fight future attacks from disease-causing agents. Immunization has been proven to be one of the easiest and safest ways to help your pet live a long healthy life.
Vaccines prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don’t actually cause illness. These antigens stimulate the production of a mirror-image antibody produced by the cells of the immune system. The immune system has a memory, which means exposure to the same antigen results in a more rapid response. This rapid response, better known as immunity, stops the infection before it can cause illness. Immunity refers to a pet’s ability to react immunologically in the presence of an antigen. Therefore, vaccines serve to train the immune system to recognize antigens of deadly diseases and quickly attack. Unfortunately, with medicine nothing is 100% effective and health risks are present.
Although vaccinations have the potential to protect pets against life-threatening diseases, certain risks are present. These risks are not ignored, but instead evaluated to give your pet the best protection with the least risk. Factors that should be considered include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. It is vital to discuss with your veterinarian a vaccination protocol that’s right for your pet. Our veterinarians can discuss which vaccines are right for your pet. Depending on your dog’s lifestyle and exposure the doctor will recommended what is best for your pet.
There are some diseases that we vaccinate for that protect your family from zoonotic potential. A zoonotic disease is a disease that could pass from your pet to you or your family. It is possible for a disease like leptospirosis to be transferred from your dog to you or your child.
For many boarding and grooming facilities (including ours) require vaccines to offer protection to your pet and to others around them.
Our staff wants to provide the best possible medical care for your pet, and client education is a necessary part of our mission. To make vaccines and veterinary visits more cost effective enroll your pet in the Pet Health ClubSM. Click here to learn more.
Tyler Wolfram works at Western Veterinary Clinic and graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Animal Science.