Questions and Answers about Pet Vaccinations
1. Are vaccinations really necessary?
Yes! Vaccinations help protect your pet from a number of potentially serious and even fatal diseases, such as Rabies. Vaccines cost considerably less than the treatments available for the diseases that pets are normally vaccinated against. Even indoor dogs and cats should be vaccinated. In Ohio it is state law that these pets are to be vaccinated against Rabies.
2. How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines contain viruses or bacteria that have been modified so they don't cause the disease. When an animal is vaccinated, it stimulates two parts of the animal's immune system. One is the production of antibodies, the other is the stimulation of cell mediated immunity, which, in combination, mount a response against the disease in question. If your pet is exposed to that disease, the two parts of the immune system will react quickly to stop the disease.
3. Why does my pet need regular booster vaccinations for the same disease?
The protection provided by the vaccine declines over time. Your pet needs regular "booster" vaccinations to ensure ongoing immunity from disease.
4. Are vaccinations 100% safe and effective?
Although your veterinarian cannot guarantee that a vaccine will fully protect an animal against a given disease, vaccines have proven to be the simplest and most effective method of preventing numerous diseases in our pets
It is important to administer vaccines only to healthy animals. If the animal is already suffering from an illness or receiving certain medications, its immune system may not be able to respond to the vaccine. That is why it is so important to have your pet vaccinated by a veterinarian after a thorough wellness examination.
Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first 4 months of life. As they nurse they receive antibodies from their mother's milk which protect them from disease the first months of life. As maternal antibodies decrease, your veterinarian will give your puppy or kitten a series of vaccines spread over a period of 6 to 16 weeks of age to provide them with the best possible possible protection. It is important to follow the schedule given to you by your veterinarian. Your puppy or kitten is not fully protected until they have completed the series.
Puppies or kittens should not be exposed to unvaccinated dogs or cats, sick dogs and cats, or taken to places where they can be exposed until they have completed their puppy or kitten series of vaccinations.
Despite everyone's efforts to design a safe vaccination protocol for your pet, vaccine reactions can and do occur. This is not common. Some of these reactions are mild (some discomfort at the injection site, lethargy or loss of appetite for a day or so). Some have more severe reactions such as an allergic reaction or immunologic reaction. If your pet has reacted to a vaccine in the past please inform us.
Distemper is a serious viral disease affecting primarily young, unvaccinated dogs that can be fatal. Clinicals signs include yellowish or greenish discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, increased body temperature, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and nervous system disorders such as seizures, or twitching of a limb. This disease is highly contagious so prevention is the key. Vaccination has been shown to prevent the disease.
Canine adenovirus type-1 and type-2
These viruses cause infectious hepatitis and respiratory infections respectively. Hepatitis is a viral disease that is most common in young unvaccinated dogs. Clinical signs may include respiratory tract abnormalities such as discharge from the nose or eyes, coughing or evidence of liver and/or kidney disease such as jaundice, loss of appetite,vomiting, to name a few. Adenovirus type 2 is an important factor in kennel cough. Vaccination is crucial as hepatitis can be fatal.
Canine Bordetella/Kennel Cough
This bacterial infection can occur alone or in combination with distemper, adenovirus type-2 infection, parainfluenza, and other respiratory problems. Kennel cough is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with infected nasal secretions. It is transmitted when dogs are put in close proximity to one another such as dog parks or if boarding or grooming. It is requirement for boarding and grooming at Animal Hospital of Tiffin. We are now using a new oral vaccine for this problem.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which may lead to permanent kidney damage. Clinical signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Wild and domestic animals may act as reservoirs for infection. These disease is easily spread to other pets and humans.
This is another cause of kennel cough. Although parainfluenza is often a mild respiratory infection in otherwise healthy dogs, it can be severe in puppies or debilitated dogs.
Parvo is a serious disease affecting primarily young dogs (6 weeks to 6 months) although any age can be affected. Parvovirus is a hardy virus, able to withstand extreme temperature changes, and exposure to most disinfectants. Dogs contact the disease through exposure to infected dogs or infected stool. Clinical signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. The diarrhea is often bloody and has a foul odor. Some dogs develop fever. If left untreated, parvo can be fatal.
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva which is generally transferred from a bite. This disease is often found in wild animals such as skunks, raccoons and bats. Once infected the disease is fatal. As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat or wild animal should be approached. Vaccination is vital in protecting your pet from this disease. In Ohio it is state law that your pets be vaccinated against rabies.
This is a highly contagious intestinal disease causing vomiting and diarrhea in dogs of all ages.Especially in young puppies, dehydration from coronavirus infection can be life-threatening.
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete and spread by ticks. It is a serious disease in people. Clinical signs in dogs are thought to include lameness, joint swelling, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. The heart, brain and kidney may also be affected. We routinely do not vaccinate for Lyme Disease in this area. Do ask our doctors about this if you are traveling to a region of the country where Lyme Disease is prevalent.