National Pet Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Pet Immunization Awareness Month! What does immunization mean? Well, to immunize your pet is to make it immune to infection. Immunization typically occurs by inoculation, or what is more commonly referred to as vaccination. The administration of pet vaccines, especially when started at a young age, can prevent several harmful illnesses and help your pet live a long and healthy life. However, just like with all medical treatments, there are risks and benefits to vaccinations. It’s important to consult your veterinarian to determine a vaccination regime that will provide the safest and best protection for your pet. 

So, how exactly does a vaccine work? Vaccines help prepare your pet’s body to fight disease-causing organisms through the use of antigens. Antigens look like the disease-causing organisms to the body (but don’t actually cause the disease) and cause the immune system to become mildly stimulated. This process enables your pet’s immune system to recognize and fight off the real disease-causing organisms should it ever be exposed to them. There are many different types of vaccinations that help immunize your pet from a variety of illnesses and infections.

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease, and transmissibility to humans.

For dogs

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine Hepatitis
  • Rabies

 For cats

  • Feline Distemper
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus type I
  • Rabies

Non-Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are given based on a dog’s exposure risk and a cat’s lifestyle, and include but are not limited to:

For dogs

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough)
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Leptospira bacteria

 For cats

  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Bordetella
  • Chlamydophila felis
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