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Pet Immunization: How Vaccines Lead to Health and Longevity

pet immunizationFrom the most recent outbreaks of canine influenza to the ongoing perils of parvovirus, infectious diseases among pets is something that won’t ever go away. Like us, pets are susceptible to an array of illnesses that can place other animals and people at risk when not controlled and treated.

In observance of National Pet Immunization Month, West Park Animal Hospital wants to champion the importance of pet immunization and why these vaccines help keep the pet population healthy.


Why Vaccinate?

Over the past decade, vaccines have been the subject of controversy. Do we over-vaccinate? Which vaccinations are really important? These questions have carried over to pet owners who are also curious.

Without vaccines, millions of pets would suffer or die needlessly from illnesses we can now help prevent. Certain diseases like canine parvovirus and distemper are very serious and can often be fatal, especially among vulnerable puppies/kittens and those with impacted health. There are also several life-threatening diseases that can be passed on to humans, such as rabies and leptospirosis.

Through inoculation, your pet will not only be protected from these devastating illnesses, but vaccines also help “build up” the immune system against viruses, bacteria, and other organisms. This strengthens the body’s ability to fight off disease.

What About Indoor Only Pets?

A common misconception about vaccinations is that they’re only needed for those pets who go outdoors. Unfortunately, with such highly contagious illnesses, it only takes one exposure to a sick animal for your pet to become ill. Even contact through window or door screens can place a pet at risk.

It’s not unusual for pets to get outside accidentally (such as through an open door or window). Even 20 minutes of roaming can expose your pet. That’s why we highly recommend all pets be immunized against disease.

Pet Immunization – Core Vaccines

When it comes to pet immunization, every pet is unique. Our team recognizes not all pets require the same vaccine protocol or parasite prevention plan. However, there are some vaccines that are considered essential, and these are referred to as core vaccines.

Rabies – Not only is this vaccine important to prevent the spread of a deadly virus that can harm pets and people, it’s also required by law.

Distemper combo – This combo vaccine for dogs typically covers hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza, and parvovirus, which are all serious and highly contagious diseases. Feline distemper combo includes feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and distemper.

More recently, we’ve seen a rise in the zoonotic illnesses Lyme disease and leptospirosis, making these vaccines important as outbreaks continue.

There are many other vaccine options we might recommend if your pet spends time among other animals or is traveling to an area where recent outbreaks have occurred. These might include Bordetella, canine influenza virus, and FeLV (feline leukemia).

Thankfully, we have options for disease prevention by keeping our pets current on annual immunizations. Not only is this the right choice for your pet’s well being, but it’s also part of being a responsible pet owner. For more information or to make an appointment, please contact us.

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