Vaccines play an important role in animal health by reducing disease prevalence in our pets. Even though vaccines are common in pets there still seems to be common misconceptions associated with them. Listed is the most common misconceptions noted with vaccines.
Vaccines provide %100 protection
Many people believe that if their pet is vaccinated against a disease this guarantees they will never get that disease. That is not entirely true. Vaccines boost the immune system’s response to a particular disease. Sometimes that response can prevent infection, in other instances it prevents the pet from getting serious illness and allows for quicker recovery if the disease is contracted. It is also important to note depending on the disease some vaccines may prevent symptoms but may not prevent the infected pet from being contagious.
Pet is up to date with just one set of vaccines
There are some new pet owners who get their pet and are told that they had their first shots already whether it is from a breeder, pet store, or adoption agency. Because of this, they sometimes believe that their pets are up to date on their vaccines. Most pets regardless of their age need a minimal of two sets of vaccines ~ 2-4 weeks apart to be up to date on vaccines.
All pets require the same vaccination protocol
While most kitten and puppy vaccine protocols are very similar, as they get older vaccine protocols may vary depending on the lifestyle of the pet and where they live geographically. Pets who spend a considerable amount of time outside will have different vaccine recommendations compared to those who are inside most of the time. There are also parts of the country where certain diseases are more prevalent compared to other areas. Therefore vaccine recommendations may include common diseases prevalent in a specific area that the pet lives in.
All Distemper vaccines are the same
The common core vaccines given to both cat and dogs are frequently referred to as distemper vaccines. In cats what is commonly referred to as feline distemper is a 3-way vaccine which includes protection against the herpes virus, calici virus and panleukopenia virus.
Compared to cats, the distemper vaccine for dogs does protect against the distemper virus. Where distemper vaccines may differ in dogs is in what other viruses they protect against. Almost all the canine distemper vaccines also protect against adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Where they may differ is that some may also provide coronavirus protection, while others may protect against leptospirosis.
Vaccine reactions depend on age of the pet
Though it may seem younger pets are more prone to reactions, vaccines reactions can happen in any pets regardless of age. Vaccine reactions typically can occur if a pet is receiving a certain vaccine for the very first time and is sensitive to it. It can seem like younger pets are more prone because that is the time when most pets receive vaccines.
Certain breeds are more prone to vaccination reactions than others
In my clinical experience it is a fact that there are breeds that are over represented for vaccine reactions. But just because your dog is a certain breed that does not guarantee they will or will not have a vaccine reaction. I have seen vaccine reactions in all breeds.
Tips regarding vaccine reactions
Vaccine reactions though not common, do occur with pets. Here are a list of tips regarding vaccine reactions.:
- In my experience while most pets who are vaccinated don’t experience reactions, you never know which pets will react until unfortunately after they receive the vaccination. So if your pet is receiving a specific vaccination for the first time, it is recommended that your appointment with your veterinarian is scheduled in the morning. This is so you can avoid an emergency visit if your pet experiences a vaccine reaction.
- This tip is primarily for dog owners. When you bring your puppy for follow-up booster shots just remember at each visit your puppy may receive a new vaccine. So even if your puppy did not have a reaction at the last visit, if he or she is receiving a new vaccine at the current visit, there is still a risk for a reaction.
- This is for those pet owners whose pets get yearly vaccines. If you are taking your pet to a new clinic, keep in mind that another veterinarian may use a different manufacturer for vaccines then your previous veterinarian so your pet may still be at risk for experiencing a vaccine reaction.
- If your pet experiences a vaccine reaction and you had to go to an emergency clinic. There are vaccine manufacturer’s that may cover the cost of the emergency visit as a good will gesture. Just ask your veterinarian for more details.
When getting your pet vaccinated, ask questions so you know exactly what your pet is getting vaccinated against. Also feel free to discuss the likely lifestyle your pet will experience so you can maximize the vaccination protocol that is best for your pet.