National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an event designed to raise awareness about the importance of immunization, otherwise known as vaccination. Vaccines are products designed to trigger protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines stimulate the immune systems production of antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing organisms that enter the body.  They provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity or prevent certain diseases altogether.

Nothing has done more to reduce disease problems than vaccines, in people and in animals. Widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Some of us have lived through epidemics of animal diseases like parvovirus that have a 50% death rate. We still see these diseases sporadically, but not like we used to due to widespread use of vaccines.  Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases thereby improving your pet’s overall quality and length of life.  At your pet’s preventive care exam, we will assess your pet’s lifestyle and recommend the vaccines they need, while avoiding unnecessary vaccines that they don’t need.

5 reasons to vaccinate your pet

  1. Vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses.
  2. Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented.
  3. Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and also from animals to people.
  4. Diseases prevalent in wildlife, such as rabies, leptospirosis and distemper, can infect unvaccinated pets.
  5. Local ordinances and state law require rabies vaccinations of household pets.

Pet immunizations are divided into two basic groups: core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are those recommended for every dog and cat, while non-core vaccine administration depends on your pet’s lifestyle (for example, if you board your pet often at a kennel with other animals).  We use risk factor questionnaires to help us determine which vaccines your pet needs so we don’t over-vaccinate them with things they don’t need.

Core Vaccines for Dogs

  • Rabies- needed every 1-3 years depending on the vaccine used and patient risk
  • Distemper/Parvovirus- after the 1 year booster this only needs to be given once every 3 years

Non-core Vaccines for Dogs- these are all annual vaccines and only given to dogs at risk:

  • Bordetella
  • Canine Influenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme Disease

Core Vaccines for Cats

  • Rabies- we use Purevax , the safest feline rabies vaccine on the market. It is given annually.
  • RCP, also known as feline distemper. After the 1 year booster this only needs to be given once every 3 years.

Non-core Vaccines for Cats

  • Feline Leukemia- annual booster.

If you are not sure what your pet has had or what it needs, check your Pet Page on our web site or contact us.  Our doctors are happy to help you decide which vaccines your pet needs.