As it is impossible to prevent your pets from being exposed to potentially deadly viruses and bacteria, annual vaccination protect your pet from serious infection and even fatal diseases, such as Rabies. Vaccines do not only cost considerably less than the treatments available for the diseases, it is your pet’s best chance to lessen the severity and prevent future illness. During their physical exam, our veterinarian will tailor a vaccination program specific to your pet’s needs.
How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines contain modified viruses, an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and improves the immunity in two parts: production of antibodies and stimulation of body’s immune systems to the particular disease. The two parts of immune system will react quickly to destroy the disease-causing agent, if later exposed to the disease.
Kittens and puppies obtain immunity from their mother’s milk however this wanes after 6 to 20 weeks of age. Therefore, a series of vaccines are given starting at 8 weeks of age and “booster” shots every 4 weeks until immunity is high, which is normally at 16 weeks. Second vaccine will stimulate greater response if it is given after 4 weeks from prior vaccine.
Does my pet need regular booster vaccination?
Regular “booster” (annual) vaccination is recommended to ensure continuous immunity from disease, as protection from vaccine gradually declines over time.
Currently, the relative issue of vaccinating annually after the first year of puppy/kitten shots is still under research within veterinary medicine, as the duration of immunity of each vaccine is not presently known.
While there is an option to have a blood test to assess pet’s antibody level, the level of immunity currently provided by pet’s immune system cannot be tested. Therefore, until more is researched, the frequency of vaccination will vary accordingly. Ask your veterinarian about the risk of viral and bacterial diseases in your area and the need for regular boosters, whether annual or every 2 to 3 years.
When deciding in the best interest for your pet, please remember pets age faster than people and, in addition, they will try to disguise their pain and illness as long as possible. With no outward signs, the disease will go unnoticed until it’s quite advanced. Therefore, regular vaccination and annual physical examination will go a long way to ensure their health and to detect early signs of organ dysfunction and illness. Early treatment can not only increase their life span but also improve their quality of life.
How do vaccinations work?
Call Alta Vista Animal Hospital at 604-221-5858 to book an appointment today! You may also send us an email using the ‘Contact Us’ feature at the top of our site!