Are you a proud parent of a fur baby? Well, as much as we like being a pet owner and having a canine or feline friend, being a pet owner comes with great responsibilities.
One of the main responsibilities of being a pet owner is to keep your pets healthy and safe. Vaccinations are considered to be the best method of protecting your fur babies from infections and deadly diseases.
Vaccination for pets acts in similar ways to that of human vaccines by triggering the production of antibodies that would strengthen their immune system. Pet owners are always recommended by veterinarians to make sure that their pets receive the necessary vaccinations and booster doses on time.
Veterinarians insist on receiving booster doses because the vaccine triggers the antibodies to fight the disease it protects against only for a limited time. Booster doses are required at regular intervals to sustain the protection.
A pet owner should consult with a veterinarian to determine the vaccination regime that would be best suited for your pet. Among the wide range of vaccinations available in the market, which pet vaccinations are essential? Here is a list of vaccination that pet owners can’t skip:
Essential Vaccinations For Dogs
The vaccinations are divided into two categories “core” and “non-core”. Core vaccinations are the ones that are essential whereas non-core vaccinations are merely recommended.
Vaccination for Rabies is considered as a “core” vaccination for dogs. Rabies is a viral disease and can be very dangerous for your canine friend. This disease attacks the central nervous system of dogs and causes hallucinations, headaches, excessive drools, anxiety, or even death in severe cases.
If your dog gets bitten by a rabid animal, it is most likely that they would contract Rabies.
Pet owners need to stay alert as dogs might not show any symptoms of infection for several weeks. The infection must be treated within a few hours to prevent the death of your dog. But thankfully it is preventable.
The American Kennel Club suggests that puppies should receive the vaccination when they are within 12 to 18 months of age, and booster doses after every 3 years.
2. Lyme disease
Yes! Lyme disease can infect both humans and dogs. But unlike the visible signs that appear in humans, it is more likely that the dogs that are infected with the disease would not show any visible symptoms.
The disease is transmitted by ticks and causes swelling of lymph nodes in dogs. It affects joints, kidneys, heart and might also cause neurological disorders if left untreated. Apart from administering Lyme disease vaccinations, pet owners must also look for ticks after traveling through bushy and woody areas and use products that would prevent ticks.
3. Canine Parvovirus
It is a contagious viral disease that is very common among dogs. Unvaccinated puppies under the age of 4 months are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. This virus attacks the gastrointestinal system of dogs.
Common symptoms that you can look out for are vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and severe loss of appetite. This disease can cause severe dehydration in dogs ultimately causing their death within 48 to 72 hrs. The American Kennel Club suggests administering the vaccine when the puppies are 6 to 8 weeks old. Dog owners need to take quick steps and seek immediate veterinary attention to save their pet’s life.
4. Canine Distemper
Canine Distemper is a very serious disease that your canine friend can have. It is a contagious disease and is viral. Canine Distemper is particularly severe because it has the potential to affect the nervous systems, gastrointestinal systems, and respiratory systems of dogs.
The disease is airborne and spreads through the coughing and sneezing of an infected animal. As the disease is contagious, the disease can also spread from the utilization of shared food and water bowls.
Some of the symptoms that you might notice in your dog include twitching, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, cough, fever, discharges from their ears and eyes, paralysis, or even death. This disease has been termed a “hard pad” because it can result in the thickening and hardening of the footpad of your dog.
The sad news is, there is no treatment for distemper once your dog gets the disease. Any available treatment mainly aims at providing supportive care to control symptoms and prevent secondary infections. In other words, having a vaccine for Canine Distemper is a must!
Unlike other diseases that are mostly viral, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria. If your dog is infected with the disease, it is possible for them to not show any type of symptom for prolonged periods. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease which means, if your dog gets it, you will get the disease too!
Symptoms, if they appear, could include loss of appetite, weakness, diarrhea, kidney failure, infertility, jaundice, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. Like other canine diseases, this too needs immediate medical attention.
This vaccine is suggested for dogs that are involved in regular outdoor activities such as swimming or hiking or for dogs that live in the countryside and are exposed to enormous amounts of wildlife.
Like the other viral diseases that have been discussed, Hepatitis could also cause severe symptoms in your pet. This disease affects the spleen, liver, kidney, and eyes of the infected dog. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Some of the common symptoms that you might notice are fever, mucous membrane congestion, pain around the stomach area, enlargement of the stomach, jaundice, and vomiting. While your dog can overcome the mild symptoms, the severe ones might prove to be fatal.
Essential vaccination for Cats
Contrary to what is widely believed, your cat doesn’t have nine lives! You need to do everything to save your feline friend. The answer? – Vaccination. Right vaccination at the right time would help your cat to live a prolonged healthy life.
1. FVRCP Vaccine
FVRCP Vaccines are considered to be the core vaccines for cats. The FVRCP vaccine is a three-in-one vaccine that consists of a combination of three core vaccines for cats. This vaccine is more efficient as the veterinarian can administer all three vaccines at once, instead of having to inject your feline friend three separate times during one visit. The FVRCP vaccine would protect your fur baby against three deadly viral diseases: panleukopenia, calicivirus, and viral rhinotracheitis.
It is for panleukopenia which is responsible for an increased mortality rate in kittens. It causes a decrease in appetite, decreased energy levels, diarrhea, and vomiting in cats.
It strengthens a cat’s immunity against calicivirus that might cause infection in the upper respiratory tract and might also cause oral ulcerations.
It protects the Feline herpes virus. It is responsible for infecting the upper respiratory tract of kittens. Once your kitten recovers from the initial infection, the virus can enter a latency period. This means that the virus can reactivate at any time and your cat can start showing similar symptoms again.
Like dogs, cats could be infected by rabies too! Cats are not natural carriers of the disease. However, they can become infected if bitten by a rabid cat and pass it on to others. Initially, your cats might not display any signs. But this is no reason to leave your cat untreated.
Initially, the disease remains in an incubation period for almost two months. Gradually clinical signs of disorientation and aggression are noticed. If left untreated, it can also lead to the death of the kitten.
3. Feline Leukemia
This vaccine, unlike the other ones, is considered a “non-core” vaccine. This disease is transmitted through body fluids, saliva, and excrement. The disease is spread when they come in close contact with an infected cat or share food or water bowls with an infected cat.
Although it is cancer, it is not a death sentence for your cat. Some cats can be fortunate enough to enter a regressive state and appear to be perfectly healthy throughout their life. However, all cats do not share the same fate.
The disease can remain in a latent period for a long time. The disease can however cause associated conditions such as immunosuppression, anemia, or lymphoma.
Like every medical procedure, veterinary procedures also include a few associated risks. However, the benefits that your cat and dog would receive from the vaccination would outweigh the small risk factors.
The majority of the side effects in both cats and dogs are extremely mild. Some common side effects that you might notice in your pet after vaccination are:
Fever and Low energy levels
Mild fever and low energy levels are the most common symptoms that you are likely to notice in your pet after a vaccination. This is supposed to last for 1-2 days. However, if these symptoms persist, contact your vet immediately.
You might notice swelling in the area where the vaccine was administered. This is a common reaction to vaccinations. Being a pet parent, you should however monitor the area carefully.
Make sure that the swelling doesn’t get bigger or the area gets infected. In case, the area gets infected or the swelling doesn’t go down, contact your vet.
If your pets stay indoors, you might think that your pet is unlikely to fall sick. Unfortunately, this is not true. Save yourself from the constant anxiety and enable your pets to lead a healthy life by consulting with your vet and determining an appropriate vaccination regime for them.