Are Pet Vaccines Necessary for Pet Health?

A tabby cat sitting on a chair

Like humans, pets are susceptible to a multitude of dangerous contagious viruses and bacteria. Prior to the advent of vaccines, many pets suffered from these illnesses and often suffered an early death. Thankfully, veterinary science has developed safe and effective vaccines for many diseases, and these have saved countless animals from needless suffering. 

While vaccinations have safeguarded countless pets from disease, some pet owners are still skeptical. Are vaccinations necessary for your pet’s health? The team of veterinary experts at Berkeley Veterinary Center is here to explain this important topic.

Pet Vaccines

When it comes to pet wellness, prevention is the best medicine. Vaccinations are preventative tools for keeping your pet safe from disease. Vaccines trigger the production of antibodies and other immune responses for diseases like distemper and rabies, without which pets are left vulnerable to serious illnesses.

Vaccines contain a minute amount of the germs that cause illness, usually in a weakened form. This ensures that your pets won’t get sick while training their immune systems to fight off illnesses. 

There are two types of vaccines: core vaccinations, which are essential to every cat or dog, and non-core vaccinations which are applied as needed based on your pet’s level of exposure and lifestyle.

Core vaccines for dogs include: 

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis (Adenovirus Type 2)
  • Parvo-Virus
  • Parainfluenza

Core vaccines for cats:

  • Rabies
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia (distemper)

While the rabies vaccine is required by law, all of these core vaccines are necessary to protect your pet from potentially fatal disease. Without vaccination, your pet is at greater risk of developing such illnesses. If your pet does become sick, it is difficult and costly to treat these problems.

Some pets, depending on their lifestyle and time spent outdoors, benefit from the leptospirosis and rattlesnake vaccines, as well as those which cover other non-core diseases and ailments.

Why Vaccinations Are Necessary to Your Pet’s Health

When you vaccinate your pet from serious diseases, you are also protecting yourself and your family. Many bacterial diseases and viruses are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmittable to humans.

A sound vaccination program provides many benefits for you and your pets alike:

  • It can prevent many debilitating and life-threatening illnesses by strengthening the immune system and bolstering your pet’s ability to ward off illness.
  • It keeps the spread of these illnesses from infecting other pets and people.
  • It is cost-effective versus the cost of treating a disease.
  • Most kennels, grooming salons, daycares, and other pet facilities require core vaccines.
  • It shows that you are a responsible pet owner who cares about the health of pets and people.

We understand that there are cases when vaccines are not possible for certain pets with medical conditions. Titer testing can help determine if prior vaccines are still active, therefore discouraging over-vaccination. Research in veterinary medicine shows that vaccines come with minimal risk of side-effects, and most pets do not have an adverse reaction to them. 

Vaccines are one of the best ways we can keep pets healthy and prevent the spread of common illnesses. If you would like more information on why vaccinations are necessary to your pet’s health, please contact us.

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