Just like their humans, pets can be protected from some of the many infectious diseases that could present a risk to their health and well-being. Most pet owners know that vaccinations form an integral part of their animal’s preventative care. Not only that, but it could prevent the spread of the disease to other pets in the neighborhood, and in some cases, their humans too. In fact, this fast, virtually painless practice has saved the lives of countless humans and animals around the world during the last half-century alone.
How vaccines work
Vaccines are extremely clever. They are synthetic substances designed specifically to trigger our bodies to produce antibodies to fight disease without actually infecting us with the disease itself. They work exactly the same in animals as they do humans. If your pet were to come in to contact with the true, harmful disease, her body would recognize it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it.
The length of protection provided by a vaccine
However, a vaccine does not last forever. Each vaccine has an approximate period of time for which it is effective. After this, your pet’s body will stop producing the antibodies needed to fight the disease and if she is infected, she will become unwell. Therefore, although annual boosters are rarely a necessity anymore, your furbaby will need additional vaccines throughout her lifetime to ensure that her immunity to disease remains as strong as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you of the frequency with which your pet needs her vaccinations. In the case of most pets, the majority of core vaccines will need to be re-administered on a 3-yearly cycle.
Core vaccines vs. non-core vaccines
Vaccines tend to be divided into two groups. Core vaccines are vaccines that would be beneficial for all animals of the species regardless of their age, gender, location or lifestyle. However, non-core vaccines tend to be much more specific and recommended purely based on certain circumstances surrounding your individual pet.
One of the biggest factors that drives the use of non-core vaccines is location. Since there is always a small degree of risk associated with any type of vaccination, unless the benefits of giving the shot far outweigh the potential side effects, your veterinarian probably won’t advise it. However, since some diseases are significantly more likely to be found in specific locations, in these instances your vet is likely to strongly advocate a case for administering the non-essential vaccines.
For example, the risk of Lyme disease in California is currently considered very low. However, this is not the case for the states of the Northeast, such as Connecticut and Maryland, and if you live here, your vet will almost certainly advise that you arrange for your pet to be vaccinated against Canine Borrelia burgdorferi, aka Lyme disease. Alternatively, if you are living in Arizona, your veterinarian might recommend you give your dog the canine rattlesnake vaccine since these creatures are prevalent and bites can be fatal.
Your veterinarian will be happy to work with you to identify the most valuable vaccinations for your pet and create a customized schedule for her preventative care. In doing so, you can minimize the risk to the health and life of your beloved animal and should be able to enjoy a long, happy future together. Contact us and visit our office in Nashville, TN to schedule an appointment and get your pet vaccinated today.