Do I really need to vaccinate my pet?
Every animal is different, so every immunization schedule should be individually tailored to your pet’s specific needs and risk factors. The factors that are considered are health status, breed, age, lifestyle, environment, and travel habits. That means not every pet needs all available vaccinations… but it means also that ALL dogs and cats need some vaccinations. In general, vaccinations cost considerably less than the treatments available for the diseases pets are normally vaccinated against. Every pet should be vaccinated — even indoor dogs and cats can be exposed to a rabid bat, the number ONE transmitter of rabies in our area. Rabies is a deadly disease for pets and humans and therefore it is legally required by law to vaccinate your dogs and even indoor cats against Rabies.
Risks for various types of diseases will vary from city to city across the country, and may even fluctuate within different areas of the same city. This is why it is so important to work closely with your veterinarian Markham to determine which immunizations are important for your pet, and how often he should have them.
Vaccines work by stimulating the animal’s immune system. They contain modified viruses or bacteria that can’t cause the disease. Should your pet later be exposed to that disease, the immune system will react quickly to destroy the disease-causing agent. However, the protection derived from vaccines declines over time which is why we need to repeat or booster the vaccines.
What vaccines does my pet need?
There are basically two categories of vaccines. The first category contains the core vaccines, and includes the vaccinations that are considered essential for our pets, involving diseases that are easily transferred and/or fatal. These diseases are rabies, hepatitis, parvovirus and distemper, for dogs and rabies, panleukopenia, feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis in cats. All are found throughout the continent of North America.
Other vaccinations are considered to be non-core vaccines. This second category includes protection against diseases that are dependent upon environmental exposure or lifestyle. These are the vaccinations that you will need to discuss with your veterinarian in Markham to determine if your pet needs them, and may include, bordetella and leptospirosis vaccines for dogs and feline leukemia in cats. As an example if your dog is kenneled frequently, or is in regular contact with other dogs through shows, parks or grooming salons, you may need to keep up with some of the non-core vaccinations as well.
How often are vaccines given?
Puppies and kittens have a very standard schedule of vaccinations that needs to be met during their first year of life. After this initial year, the core vaccinations should be administered every one to three years, based on your veterinarian’s in Markham recommendations. Even if you decide that vaccinations every three years are the best choice for your pet, an annual examination by your veterinarian is essential to keep your pet healthy and happy. Keep in mind that an annual check-up is the equivalent of a human only heading to the doctor’s office every five to seven years. A lot can happen during this time, which is why it is so important for your vet to take a look at your furry kids regularly. Early detection of problems can mean more effective treatment options and a healthier pet overall.
Are there any health risks to vaccines?
Some pet owners worry that vaccinating their pets will carry health risks as well. While any medical procedure, including vaccinations, do carry some degree of risk, the risk is generally much greater if you do not have your pet vaccinated at all.
If you are concerned about the potential side effects that the vaccinations can bring, you can talk to your veterinarian in Markham about what is best for your pet. Keep in mind that your vet is there to protect your pet, and will not bring unnecessary risks in his health care. He will base his decision to vaccinate on a number of factors, including the lifestyle and age of your furry friend, as well as his potential to be exposed to a variety of diseases.
Reactions to vaccinations are relatively rare, and will generally include pain or swelling at the point of injection. Sometimes pets have an allergic reaction to a vaccination, which will appear fairly quickly after the shot is given. If you suspect an allergic reaction in your pet, contact your veterinarian in Markham immediately. These situations can be very serious, but fortunately are quite rare.
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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham
Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.
Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.