Vaccinating your best four legged friend: The Pros and Cons

Vaccinating your best four legged friend: The Pros and Cons

Vaccinating your best four legged friend: The Pros and Cons

We all love our domestic pets and only want what is best for them. But love, food, shelter and cuddles aren’t all that they need. They are at risk from a variety of potentially dangerous diseases or illnesses which can be avoided through the use of essential vaccinations recommended by all vets.

Not only can the owner protect the well-being of the animal, be it a cat, dog or other common household pet, but it can be a significant means of avoiding potentially costly treatments, which may be necessary for our furry friends if they are not protected by the vaccines. Certain diseases such as rabies can even be passed from the animal to humans if the pet is not properly vaccinated, so it is a critical way of protecting the family too, especially children.

There are a variety of ways in which a vaccine can be administered to the animal by a qualified vet including through intramuscular or subcutaneous injections. Such vaccinations have been proven to have saved the lives of millions of domestic animals during the last century alone. The basic purpose of a vaccination is to allow the immune system to produce antibodies which fight against the spread of bacteria or viruses within the body without causing the disease itself. The body thus “remembers” the infectious agent for which it has been vaccinated.

There are two principle types of vaccinations: core vaccinations which are necessary for all domestic pets, and non-core or “lifestyle-based” vaccinations, which are only necessary depending on the living circumstances of the animal, for example if it has to spend time in a kennel surrounded by other potentially diseased pets. Whilst certain vaccinations need only be administered once, others must be repeated at particular intervals.

Some vaccines are a legal requirement, such as that against rabies. Puppies should be given a “combination vaccine” three times in the first year of its life and in some cases once a year thereafter (also referred to as “booster” shots). Amongst other illnesses which affect dogs this combination provides protection against “cat-flu” (parvovirus), a deadly virus which affects dogs younger than one year of age, Parainfluenza (an upper airway disease), Bordetella (also known as “kennel cough”) and Leptospirosis which can cause liver and kidney disease. On the other hand, the combination

vaccines for cats on the other hand protect against such diseases as Rhinotracheitis (eye and respiratory infections) and Chlamydiosis which causes pneumonia and can even be passed on to humans.

The risks which can be posed by certain vaccinations are not very common but in some cases, animals have displayed symptoms of allergies such as pain or swelling at the point of the injection and occasionally cats have been found to develop tumors due to particular vaccines. To avoid the dangers of over-vaccinating your vet can perform a “titer” which is a blood test that determines whether your animal is still protected by a previous vaccine.

It is critical to the health of domestic pets and their owners to make regular visits to a trusted vet and to ensure that all precautionary vaccinations are administered. This allows a greater peace of mind and enjoyable life for all. If necessary one can contact SAVA (the South African Veterinary Association), a voluntary association for registered veterinarians which represents more than 60% of all vets in South Africa.

For more information, please visit the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) website, Facebook or Twitter page.

Source: South African Veterinary Association

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Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.