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It is very important to return for each vaccination on time at the recommended intervals to properly protect the pet. It is also important to "isolate" the new pet as much as possible from other animals until the entire vaccination series is completed to prevent possible disease resulting from exposure to a disease before sufficient immunity has developed.
Vaccinations are given to prevent the development of specific infectious disease Vaccines do not cause a disease, but act as a stimulus to your pet's immune system causing it to produce antibodies capable of protecting your pet against those specific diseases.
Antibodies fight disease by killing disease-causing organisms within the body. Antibody levels produced by the initial vaccination diminish with time.
When your pet is revaccinated, its immune system is stimulated to 'remember' the specific disease organism and manufacture more of the appropriate antibodies.
Vaccines are not guaranteed to prevent disease because too many variables are involved.
The most important factor is the immune system of the individual pet. Like people, pets have varying abilities to respond to vaccines and fight off an infection. Some animals naturally respond better to vaccination than other.
Very young pups and kittens, as well as aging pets, appear to have diminished ability to respond to vaccinations. In such cases, it is critical that the pet be revaccinated at the appropriate interval. An animal that is underweight, pregnant, or stressed because of a serious infestation of parasites or other illness also may respond poorly to vaccination.
If an animal is exposed to disease shortly before or after vaccination, it may not have sufficient time to develop immunity from the vaccination before it becomes sick. This often occurs in pets adapted from shelters where they have been exposed to all sorts of diseases. Remember that it takes time for a disease to develop after exposure, and the vaccine may not have enough time to activate the pet's immune system if the disease is already working in the pet's body.
Normal puppies and kittens, which are allowed to nurse, absorb antibodies from their mother's milk. This only occurs during the first 6-12 hours of life and is only present in the mother's 'first milk.' These antibodies defend against disease until the young animal's immune system is a ble to do so.
Puppies and kittens need vaccinations to stimulate their immune system as soon as the protective level of antibodies they received from the mother's milk have disappeared from their blood stream.
To determine the exact time at which this level occurs is very expensive. Therefore a SERIES of vaccinations is the most inexpensive way to protect puppies and kittens against disease, insuring vaccination at the best time.
Each injection in the initial series of vaccinations increases the antibody level of the blood to a higher number. Each additional vaccine has a 'stair-stepping effect.' When sufficient injections have been given to get the pet's blood antibodies to 'the top of the stairs,' the pet is then immunized properly and will have the ability to resist the particular disease when exposed.
New client exams are only $30!