Vaccinations play an important part in your pet’s health care. They protect them for serious illness and even potential death. Some vaccines given to your pet also protect us.
In order for a vaccination to provide effective protection, your pet must be in good health when the vaccine is given. If they have an underlying disease process or illness, their immune system will not generate the appropriate response to the vaccine, therefore, rendering it useless. In a worst case scenario, vaccinating a sick pet can make them worse. It also is a waste of your money. It is critical that a complete physical examination be given prior to vaccinations. In certain circumstances, we advise to not vaccinate your pet. In these situations, it is still crucial they continue to have regular physical examinations.
Vaccinations in pets, as in human beings, have potential side effects and risks. The most common change you may notice in your pet post-vaccination is that they are a little bit tired or sore at the injection site. Swelling at the vaccination site can occur as well and last for a few hours to weeks. Allergic reactions are less common but can occur. We want to know immediately if your pet has facial swelling, vomiting and/or diarrhea post vaccination. We would ask you to bring them into the office immediately for treatment of these symptoms. In very rare instances, death may occur from an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Vaccinating of certain individuals has possibly been linked to auto-immune disorders but no particular vaccine has been implicated. Cats have a risk of injection site fibrosarcomas which are discussed later on.
VACCINATIONS AND YOUR SENIOR PET
Just because your pet is getting older doesn’t mean they no longer need to be protected by vaccinations. It does, however, mean we need to be more diligent in determining that they are in the best health to receive those vaccinations. Starting at age 7, we will not vaccinate any patient without performing blood tests that tell us how their major organs are functioning along with a urinalysis. We highly recommend but do not require performing cardiac screening and radiographs (x-rays) to give us an even better idea how the inside is doing. We believe in early detection and cure or treatment opposed to emergency treatment. It’s best for your pet and best for your pocket book. We have to remember, our dogs and cats are genetically predisposed to hiding signs of illness and pain, and we have to be very watchful to ensure their health.
RECOMMENDED CANINE VACCINES
For our geographic area, we recommend the following vaccinations:
1) Rabies – It is the only vaccination required by law. We use a 3 year vaccine. Puppies must at least 12 weeks old to receive their first rabies vaccination. They will need a booster at 1 year of age, and then it is given every 3 years.
2) Distemper/Parvo/Adenovirus – Distemper and Parvo are potentially fatal to your pet if they contract it. Puppies appear to be more vulnerable, but adult dogs also can contract them. We use the only labeled 3 year vaccine against these diseases. After they have the initial series of boosters, they are protected for 3 years and will not need to be revaccinated until that time.
3) Leptospirosis – Leptospirosis is a potentially fatal disease that is spread via the urine of skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats and other rodents. Walking through contaminated water sources or even grass where these animals have been can transmit the disease. Worst of all, this can be spread to humans! For more information, please read Canine Vaccination Guidelines . This is an annual vaccine.
4) Bordetella – While Bordetella is not fatal, your dog can become pretty ill and not feel well for a long time. A common misconception is that your dog will only get this if they are boarded or groomed, but it is spread like the common cold is in us. If your dog sniffs where a sick dog has coughed, sneezed or had nasal discharge, they too can become ill. We use 1 year labeled vaccines for Bordetella but if you do board or groom your pet, almost all those facilities require it every 6 months. In health dogs, giving Bordetella vaccine more frequently does not cause ill effects.
ADDITIONAL VACCINES YOUR DOG MAY NEED
1) Rattlesnake – Believe it or not, there is a vaccination to help prevent the severity of the effects from the snakes venom. It is also effective against copperhead bites. If you have a country retreat or your dog goes hunting with you, we highly recommend this vaccine. After the initial series, the manufacturer recommends boosters every 6 months in Texas.
RECOMMENDED FELINE VACCINES
1) Rabies - It is the only vaccination required by law. We use a 3 year vaccine. Kittens must at least 12 weeks old to receive their first rabies vaccination. They will need a booster at 1 year of age, and then it is given every 3 years.
2) Rhinotracheitis/Calico/Panleukopenia – These diseases generally cause severe upper respiratory problems, which can secondarily lead to pneumonia. Calico can also cause fever and oral ulcers. We use an intranasal vaccine which appears to be offer protection more quickly then the injectable form and it is one less injection to give, which is important for cats. This is an annual vaccine.
INJECTION SITE SARCOMAS
Injection site fibrosarcomas are a rare but serious condition induced by injections in CATS ONLY. There is no known vaccine or medication indicated for the cause of this cancer. It is one of the reasons we use intranasal vaccines where indicated. Generally, your pet has a higher risk of becoming sick from a preventable disease than getting cancer from vaccines. We are happy to discuss your pet’s risk profile.
Monday - Thursday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday
For after hours Emergency Care Call 817-410-2273
Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas