Many pet owners wonder whether or not they should vaccinate their pets. With an influx of misinformation making headlines, it can be difficult to decipher the right choice for your cat or dog. When making a decision about any medical treatment for your pets, the best practice is to consult a qualified veterinarian. Below we will be shining a light on some common myths about vaccinating your pets.
Myth #1: Indoor Animals Don’t Need Vaccines
It is a common misconception that animals who never leave the house don’t need vaccinations. Your indoor animal is still likely going to have some interaction with the outside world during their life. These interactions can include:
- Accidental escape
- Visiting animals or people
- Rodent or insect activity in the home
- Fleas or ticks brought indoors by humans
- Disease or parasites that is transmissible to pets from humans
Rabies is incredibly dangerous as there is no cure for it. It is deadly to infected animals and is transmissible to humans. Treating rabies in humans is a painful and expensive process and can be fatal if left untreated.
Laws will vary by state and city, but most require at a minimum a rabies vaccination for all animals kept as pets. Most veterinarians also recommend that animals have DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza) and Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines.
Contact a veterinarian or city hall for more information on required vaccines in your location.
Myth #2: Vaccines Cause Cancer in Cats
Feline injection site-sarcoma (FISS) is an extremely rare side effect that could occur after your cat receives a vaccine. This is a unique cancer is that usually develops at the site of a previous injection. However, only one in every 16,000 – 50,000 cats develops this condition after a vaccination. This risk is minuscule compared to the variety of diseases, parasites, and illnesses that can afflict felines and often be passed along to humans.
Myth #3: Vaccines Are Dangerous and Make Dogs Sick
It is important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. Unless your dog has an immediate reaction within the minutes or hours after a vaccine is given, it is unlikely that the vaccine caused the illness. Dogs, like people, can have reactions to being given a vaccine.
After being given a vaccine, most dogs will have a mild reaction like crankiness, soreness at the injection site, or lethargy. Severe reactions that require immediate attention include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Skin hives
- Swelling around the face or lips
- Difficulty breathing
What vaccines do dogs need? Consult your trusted veterinarian to learn more and protect your pet. Vaccine needs will vary depending on your pet’s breed, age, lifestyle, and location.
Myth #4: My Pet Was Fully Vaccinated by the Breeders
Reputable breeders will provide your puppy or kitten with all its infant vaccines. These vaccines help prevent severe illnesses, including Parvo, an incredibly transmissible and potentially deadly virus passed through contact with infected feces. Infant animals lack the training and housebreaking to avoid contact with feces, making these infections common, especially among large litters.
Puppies and kittens under eight weeks old have fragile immune systems and are dependent on antibodies in their mother’s milk to prevent disease. Vaccines work by triggering the immune system to create antibodies against potential future infection. Essentially, vaccines give a layer of defense against an illness or disease that your new pet has not yet encountered.
Most puppies are adopted at around 8 to 10 weeks old. The last set of vaccines recommended for puppies is scheduled to be given at 16 weeks of age. Your breeder has given your puppy a good head start, but it is up to you to complete the vaccine series recommended to help your dog lead a long and healthy life.
Even after the initial sets of vaccinations, dogs and cats will require booster shots every 1 to 3 years for their vaccinations to remain effective in preventing disease.
Myth #5: Cheap Feed Store Vaccines Are Just as Good
Feed stores offer vaccines at often lower prices than veterinary offices. However, vaccines can be complicated and temperamental products. In your effort to save a few dollars, you can end up with an injured or sick pet and a large emergency veterinarian bill instead.
Some things to remember about vaccines are:
- They must be stored at a specific temperature
- They have expiration dates
- Vaccine effectiveness and side effects can vary
- They must be administered in a specific way
- They must be administered to a specific place
Your veterinarian will have access to higher-quality vaccines designed specifically for the age and breed of your pet. Your veterinarian will also have the specific equipment needed to store and prepare vaccinations to ensure they remain effective safely. If your pet reacts to being given a vaccine, your veterinarian is the best person to treat that reaction.
Keep Your Dog or Cat Happy and Healthy With Hillsdale Animal Hospital
There is a lot of information and misinformation out there when it comes to vaccines. It can be overwhelming at times, but Hillsdale Animal Hospital is here to help. No matter what age or breed your pet is, Hillsdale Animal Hospital has knowledgeable veterinarians, staff, and vaccines to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.