Becoming a pet parent means accepting a large number of different responsibilities. One of the biggest is becoming accountable for the health of your pet. Unfortunately, there are many different illnesses and diseases that can affect our animals, and while some are unavoidable, some of the more serious ones are preventable. Vaccinations are the single most successful solution for keeping animals safe from preventable diseases and the development of vaccines has saved the lives of countless pets across the years.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are the name given to an artificial and harmless version of a contagious disease. This version is designed to replicate the characteristics of the disease in order to trigger your pet’s immune system into producing a store of antibodies to counter it. In doing so, his body will remember the key identifying characteristics which are identical to the those in the real disease. Should he ever come into contact with the actual contagious disease, his body will automatically recognize the characteristics that define it and fight against it using the antibodies it has previously stored.
Do all pets need the same vaccines?
There are a number of core vaccines that are recommended for each type of pet, such as cats, dogs or rabbits. There are also a variety of non-essential vaccines that may be advisable for your pet depending on her individual health and lifestyle. For example, a vaccine against tick infections may be recommended if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, and bites are common.
Nevertheless, every animal is different, and any good veterinarian will assess your pet’s suitability for each vaccination ahead of your appointment.
Why are additional vaccinations required and how often will my pet need them?
Each vaccine can only keep the production of disease-fighting antibodies triggered for a set amount of time. After this, the effectiveness of the vaccine is seriously compromised, and your pet will be vulnerable to the disease. For this reason, veterinarians should create a carefully planned schedule of vaccinations that should be strictly followed to ensure that your pet remains consistently protected from the disease throughout his lifetime.
Preparing your pet for vaccine
While our veterinarian will give your pet a thorough check-up before administering the vaccination, there are several things that you can do for your pet to help prepare him for receiving the vaccine. This can be especially important for some pets who find veterinary appointments very stressful.
Make sure your furbaby is clean and his coat is well brushed ahead of his vaccination. This means there will be no dirt, debris or loose hair to irritate the injection site. Swelling and soreness around the site of the vaccination is fairly common and usually subsides within a few days.
While you undoubtedly always ensure that your pet is eating a healthy, balanced diet, the right nutrition in the days ahead of receiving a vaccine is important for your pet to have a strong, proactive immune system. This will help with the production of antibodies to fight the vaccine and prepare your pet should he be infected with the real deal. Plenty of exercise and vitamin D will also be beneficial and a long walk ahead of your appointment could help reduce any nervous energy he has and make it easier to keep him calm during the appointment.
If your pet finds visits to the veterinarian stressful – as many do – then try and find some ways to minimize his stress levels ahead of your appointment. You may need to consider several different techniques to do this including:
If you are still concerned that your pet will be extremely stressed and anxious about the visit, speak to our vet to see if there is an anti-anxiety medication or herbal remedy that is safe for your animal to take ahead of the appointment.
If you need further advice on how to prepare your beloved pet for being vaccinated, speak to our veterinarian or call Memphis Animal Clinic in Memphis, TN.