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Vaccinations

Vaccinations

Protect Your Pet From Contagious Diseases

Healthy pets need conscientious caregivers to provide for their needs. When it comes to preventing diseases before they occur, pets rely on their owners to take proactive steps to defend their health, and that includes maintaining a healthy vaccination program. Blue Lake Animal Hospital is proud to offer pet owners customized vaccination programs to fit every pet’s needs and lifestyle.

Infectious diseases can occur in pets when they come into contact with harmful viruses or bacteria. These diseases make your pet feel unwell and many of them can even become fatal.

Depending on the organism involved, they can be spread by direct pet to pet contact, via objects contaminated with the organism (fomites), via ingestion of contaminated substances, or via airborne dissemination.

Vaccines and vaccinations are some of the most widely used and effective tools for guarding your pets against harmful diseases and infections. Our team is happy to help you understand when and why vaccines are recommended or required for your animals and provide your pets with these important preventative measures.

The Basics of a Good Vaccination Program

Prevention for many diseases can be provided through a good vaccination program. When a healthy pet is exposed to a safely modified virus or bacteria via a vaccine, the immune system responds by producing protective antibodies. These antibodies circulate in the blood for a finite, although often undetermined, period of time protecting the pet against the invasion of the wild, virulent form of that organism.

We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to your pet’s care, and that includes vaccinations. As with ourselves and our own bodies, each pet is an individual and should be treated that way. What is appropriate for one pet is not necessarily so for another. Working together, we know that owners and veterinarians can develop an effective wellness plan suited to each pets’ specific needs and based on factors such as age, lifestyle, and current state of health.

Potential Vaccine Reactions

While the benefit of vaccines often outweighs the potential risks, negative vaccine reactions are possible and must be considered when embarking upon any vaccination program. As in humans, the most common reactions are usually mild and may include feeling sluggish, feverish, and reduced appetite for a short period of time after vaccination. Many pets seem to have no adverse reaction at all. Severe reactions can vary from soreness and/or swelling at an injection site, snuffling and/or sneezing after an intranasal inoculation, vomiting and/or diarrhea, itchiness, and/or swelling of ears and face, and in extreme cases the full development of anaphylaxis. In these cases, if no medical intervention is provided, the consequences can be fatal and we urge you to seek immediate emergency services if your pet is experiencing these symptoms.

In cats, there is concern over the increase in the incidence of injection site fibrosarcoma. Although some of these potential reactions are very severe, even fatal, they are also very rare. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we use the newest vaccine technology that decreases vaccine reactions in cats.

Continued Protection & Titer Testing

Since the protective response period does not last indefinitely, repeat (or booster) vaccinations are required. The timing and frequency of these follow-up vaccinations vary with the age of the pet, the organism, the individuals’ response to the vaccination given, and the characteristics of the vaccine itself.

In many instances, the level of a specific antibody present in the blood at any one time can be determined by performing an antibody titer test. However, there is considerable controversy about whether the measurable antibody titer level truly reflects the actual level of protection against disease challenge. Until this issue is fully resolved it is up to each veterinarian and pet owner to determine how much faith to put into antibody titer levels as a measure of disease protection. There is a definite need for more research to be done in this field.

Start Your Pet on a Healthy Vaccination Program Today with Blue Lake Animal Hospital

To learn more about vaccines and vaccination programs, or our other great preventative health and wellness programs like dental care and flea and tick prevention, contact our Caledonia veterinary clinic today. We can help you develop a comprehensive plan for healthy pets.

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