Our pets are important members of our families, and in many cases, play a significant role in the local animal community as well. As pet owners, we are charged with doing everything we can to keep our pets as healthy as possible for their own well-being and beyond. Part of that responsibility is seeing to it that they are taken to their veterinarian for the vaccines they need in order to stay healthy.
Why Vaccines Are Important
Not all animals in the community are pets. Even if your dog isn't directly exposed to another dog that is inflicted with a disease, there is a chance he may encounter a disease from a feral cat or some other animal like a fox or a raccoon. Diseases such as rabies, parvovirus, or distemper, to name a few, have serious symptoms and can even be fatal. Some vaccines, such as rabies, are required across the country because of the danger these diseases pose to both animals and humans.
Both cats and dogs have vaccines divided into core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are represented of common diseases where pets need their immunity properly boosted in order to stay protected themselves and prevent the possible spread of these diseases to other pets and sometimes humans. Non-core vaccines are less universal, but depending on your pet's lifestyle and places where he spends time, some of these may be recommended as well.
For dogs, core vaccines include rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper, and canine hepatitis. Core cat vaccines include feline distemper, feline herpesvirus type I, feline calicivirus, and rabies. Puppies and kittens need multiple doses of these vaccines in order to build their immunity against these viruses. Once they are adults, you and your pet's vet can determine the best vaccine schedule for you, often every one or three years.
You may want your dog or cat to have non-core vaccines as well. Bordetella is a common non-core vaccine for dogs, as it protects against kennel cough. It is more common for dogs who go to dog parks or who are boarded. A vaccine against Lyme disease is available for dogs, especially those who live near wooded areas, or who are hunters. Cats can be vaccinated for feline leukemia as well.
Choosing which vaccines to give your pet is a personal decision, but also a responsible one that you make for your pet and your community. By being vaccinated, your pet will have a greater baseline of immunity and will likely need fewer animal hospital visits in his lifetime.
Get Your Pets Vaccinated Today
To learn more about vaccines and other forms of preventative pet care, contact us at Southwest Veterinary Hospital, PC in Littleton, CO at 303-794-2697 to schedule an appointment.