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The Protective Power of Vaccinations

Did you know that 80-95% of dogs with parvovirus die within 4-5 days even with treatment?

Canine distemper rapidly affects the respiratory and neurological system and causes 50% of affected adults and more than 80% of affected puppies to succumb to the disease.  Feline panleukopenia has the potential to wipe out the cats’ entire immune system, making it difficult to fight off any secondary infection.

So where’s the sunshine in all of these grey skies?  Vaccinations!

KittenPuppies and kittens are brought into the world with a little gift from their mothers called antibodies.  These help them fight off disease for the first couple of months of life.  However, by 16-20 weeks of age, this protection system is completely diminished. Our goal as veterinarians is to vaccinate them prior to losing all of their antibodies.  Most puppies and kittens should receive their first vaccination by 6-8 weeks of age.  We will continue to booster these to allow the body to mount a greater response so that when faced with the distempers and parvos of the world, they can win the battle!

SPCA puppy at GlenwoodYou may hear us refer to “core” and “non-core” vaccinations on your visit. Core vaccinations are the ones recommended by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association).  These include distemper parvo and rabies in dogs and feline panleukopenia (or distemper) and rabies in cats.  The non-core vaccinations are based on your pet’s lifestyle and generally discussed at the time of your visit.

Generally, vaccinations are safe for our furry, four legged creatures.  However, some pets do have adverse reactions.  Things to watch for are swelling or itching at the vaccination site, swollen face, hives, or vomiting.  If any of these occur, you should bring your pet in immediately to be seen.  The veterinarian will most likely give a steroid and antihistamine injection to help calm down the immune response.  The next time your pet is due for the vaccination, the veterinarian may  decide to pre-medicate  with a steroid and/or antihistamine shot or split up the vaccinations into different days.

Vaccinations are the best way that we can be proactive with our pets’ health.  Along with routine examinations, we can provide our animals with the strongest immunity to fight disease. Who knows- maybe one day vaccinations will not only eradicate polio but also rabies!
And there’s the sunshine!

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