Questions and Answers about Pet Vaccinations
1. Are vaccinations really necessary?
Yes! Vaccinations help protect your pet from a number of potentially serious and even fatal diseases, such as Rabies. Vaccines cost considerably less than the treatments available for the diseases that pets are normally vaccinated against. Even indoor dogs and cats should be vaccinated. In Ohio it is state law that these pets are to be vaccinated against Rabies.
2. How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines contain viruses or bacteria that have been modified so they don't cause the disease. When an animal is vaccinated, it stimulates two parts of the animal's immune system. One is the production of antibodies, the other is the stimulation of cell mediated immunity, which, in combination, mount a response against the disease in question. If your pet is exposed to that disease, the two parts of the immune system will react quickly to stop the disease.
3. Are vaccinations 100% safe and effective?
Although we cannot guarantee that a vaccine will fully protect an animal against a given disease, vaccines have proven to be the simplest and most effective method of preventing numerous diseases in our pets. Despite everyone's efforts to design a safe vaccination protocol for your pet, vaccine reactions can and do occur. This is not common. Some of these reactions are mild (some discomfort at the injection site, lethargy or loss of appetite for a day or so). Some have more severe reactions such as an allergic reaction or immunologic reaction. If your pet has reacted to a vaccine in the past please inform us.
It is important to administer vaccines only to healthy animals. If the animal is already suffering from an illness or receiving certain medications, its immune system may not be able to respond to the vaccine. That is why it is so important to have your pet vaccinated by a veterinarian after a thorough wellness examination.
4. How often does my pet need vaccinated?
Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first 4 months of life. As they nurse, they receive antibodies from their mother's milk which protect them from disease the first months of life. As maternal antibodies decrease, your veterinarian will give your puppy or kitten a series of vaccines spread over a period of 6 to 16 weeks of age to provide them with the best possible possible protection. It is important to follow the schedule given to you by your veterinarian. Your puppy or kitten is not fully protected until they have completed the series.
Puppies or kittens should not be exposed to unvaccinated dogs or cats, sick dogs and cats, or taken to places where they can be exposed until they have completed their puppy or kitten series of vaccinations.
Our pets should have their vaccines boostered yearly. The rabies vaccine lasts for 1 year the first time it is given, after the booster it is only required every 3 years due to its long action. By boostering your pets vaccines yearly, we can ensure they stay healthy. This also gives us the opportunity to examine your pet on a regular basis and monitor for any changes in attitude, weight and body shape, masses, appetite, and other indicators of disease. We can't help your pet if we don't examine them!