What are vaccines?

Vaccines are substances designed to trigger an immune system response that will protect the body from illnesses caused by various bacteria and viruses. Vaccines for pets are used to keep them healthy by providing immune protection against several diseases that may harm both animals and people.

Why should pets be vaccinated? Why is it important to vaccinate your pets?

Vaccines are more of a preventive measure than a cure. Vaccines protect your dog or cat from diseases that are extremely infectious, such as canine distemper, parvovirus, and respiratory infections. It also protects against illnesses that are transmissible to people, such as rabies.

Vaccines are designed and manufactured in accordance with stringent safety regulations. The pathogens in the injections are weak or incomplete versions. These induce antibody production in your pet’s body, which then recognizes and eliminate disease-causing germs that enter their body. If animals contract the same sickness in the future, their bodies will more readily recognize it and fight it far more successfully.

Vaccines have saved the lives of millions of animals during the last century. Pet vaccinations assist in preventing infections and can not only save your pet but can also save you money on expensive treatments for animal ailments that are mostly avoidable. These vaccines also protect your pet from a variety of wildlife-borne illnesses, including rabies and distemper.

Does my puppy/kitten need vaccinations?

One of the most essential things you should do within the first few weeks as a new pet owner is vaccinating your puppy or kitten. Regular immunizations help pups and kittens to grow up into dogs and cats that are free of infectious illnesses and that do not transmit them to other animals in the neighbourhood.

When should my puppy/kitten get vaccinations? When should my puppy/kitten get their first shots?

Puppies

Puppies should be vaccinated for the first time around 6-8 weeks of age. Owners should try to obtain medical records for newly adopted puppies so veterinarians can identify which vaccines have already been administered and when the next vaccinations are due. Your veterinarian will then prescribe a plan based on the lifestyle you want for your puppy as well as the danger of specific diseases in your area.

Most vaccines are administered every 3-4 weeks until full protection is obtained. Depending on your puppy’s age, 3 to 4 distemper/parvovirus vaccines may be required until your dog is four to five months old. Your veterinarian may prescribe a shorter series if your dog is over four months of age and is not up to date on immunizations. They must then be boosted again one year later. It is important that your puppy stay away from dog parks and dogs with unknown vaccination status until their vaccine series is fully completed.

Kittens

Vaccinations should begin when kittens are 6-8 weeks old and continued every 3-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old. They must then be boosted again one year later. Kittens should generally stay indoors until they are fully vaccinated.

Considering that antibodies provided by their mothers interfere with a vaccine’s long-term efficacy, younger pets (puppies and kittens) will require vaccinations more often. Older pets may have a long-lasting immunological response that lasts for months or years.

How do I know what vaccines my dog needs? / What vaccines does my pet need?

Vaccinations for cats and dogs that are necessary are referred to as “core” vaccines. Non-core vaccinations are optional and are advised based on lifestyle risk and other considerations.

Dogs

Core vaccines for dogs include Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Rabies. All dogs, regardless of breed, size, or location, should get these vaccinations. Many dogs will be exposed to these life-threatening illnesses at some point in their lives. Even if it does not kill them and they survive, they may be plagued with side effects for the rest of their lives. The rabies shot protects against the rabies virus, which is deadly, and it may infect any creature, including humans. In Ontario, rabies vaccines for pets are mandated by law.

Non-core vaccinations are only given to dogs that have specific exposure risks or requirements. Leptospirosis, Kennel Cough, Coronavirus, Giardia, and Lyme disease are among them. You and your veterinarian can decide if these vaccines are right for your pet.

Cats

The core cat vaccinations are FVRCP and Rabies. FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia) vaccination, this combination is often known as the “distemper” injection and protects against three diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (also known as “feline distemper”). The rabies shot protects against the rabies virus, which is deadly, and it may infect any creature, including humans. In most places, rabies vaccines for pets are mandated by law.

Non-core feline vaccinations include the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). We recommend all kittens to receive this vaccine during kittenhood to strengthen their immunity, but once they reach adulthood, it is no longer required, as long as the cat is staying strictly indoors.

Why does my indoor cat/dog need vaccines? / Do indoor pets need vaccines?

Absolutely! Even indoor pets should be vaccinated against infectious illnesses. Maintaining an indoor lifestyle is unquestionably safer than living outdoors, and indoor living leads to longer life expectancy, but indoor pets are still susceptible to major viral and bacterial illnesses via indirect transmission of pathogens carried on clothing, shoes, or other ways.

Does my pet need to be vaccinated every year? / Do dogs need booster shots every year / Why do some vaccines need boosters?

Vaccine protection declines after some time and once it has worn off it is important to revaccinate to remind the immune system to create adequate protective antibodies.

Most adult pet vaccinations are administered every year or every three years, depending on the vaccine and the pet’s vaccination status. If your pet has never been vaccinated previously, a booster vaccine may be required after the initial immunization.

Booster vaccinations ensure that your cat develops adequate immunity and protection. Your pet may not be adequately protected if you do not give them the required booster.

Some veterinarians may suggest antibody titers, blood tests that determine the level of antibodies present in the pet’s body. These are not a replacement for vaccinations, but they can help you figure out if your pet has a fair chance of avoiding illness.

There is no proof that giving pets an annual vaccine is harmful to them. In fact, avoiding vaccines can put your pet at increased risk, according to published studies.

Are vaccines 100% effective?

Vaccines have shown to be quite effective in preventing infectious diseases in pets. Previously prevalent illnesses like distemper have become very rare as a direct result of successful vaccination campaigns. However, sometimes immunity may be overridden, and a vaccinated pet may still get sick. The good news is that in vaccinated pets, the illness is typically milder than it would have been without vaccination.

Vaccines also help reduce how much an afflicted animal can shed a disease. This is critical for keeping infectious illness from spreading throughout whole populations, as well as making outbreaks less frequent and simpler to manage.

What are the risks of lapsing vaccinations?

When pets are late for booster vaccines their immune system will be less active. This in turn means that future immunizations will have a lower immunological response.

Your veterinarian’s recommendation will mostly be determined by how late you are for your appointment. If your pet’s last booster vaccine was more than 4 weeks ago, or if their last annual vaccine was more than 1 year ago, they may need to re-start their booster series to strengthen their protection.

In case of a lapsed Rabies booster shot, if a pet meets a rabid animal or attacks a person, the animal may face lengthy quarantine periods and, in some circumstances, euthanasia.

As always, it is particularly important to consult with your veterinarian for detailed information on your pet’s specific needs.

Conclusion

We hope this article has proved informative! Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any further questions or concerns about your pet’s vaccinations. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment, please contact us at 416-966-1830 or click the button below.

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