The Importance of Vaccinations for Houston Pets
Is your pet up-to-date on their vaccinations? Your answer is of vital importance to your pet’s health. Pets benefit substantially from timely cat and dog vaccinations. Pet vaccinations provide immunity against many prevalent diseases that commonly affect wildlife and unvaccinated animals. Consistent, widespread administration of vaccines over the past hundred years has contributed significantly to the health and survival of pets, large animals, and livestock alike. At our animal hospital in Houston, our veterinarians develop personalized vaccine plans for each pet to meet their individual needs.
What Diseases Are Prevented with Vaccines?
Vaccines protect against a number of diseases that are often debilitating and even fatal to our pets. Some diseases are zoonotic as well, meaning they can be passed to our human families. Common pet vaccinations include:
- Rabies: This disease is 100% fatal once clinical symptoms appear and all mammals are susceptible to infection. State laws require both cats and dogs receive the rabies vaccine annually or triennially (depending on the type of vaccine used).
- Canine Distemper: Puppies and senior pets are most vulnerable to this disease which causes respiratory problems, fever, vomiting, and lethargy. As the disease progresses it also attacks the nervous system, which can cause circling behavior, muscle twitches, seizures, and even partial or complete paralysis. The appropriate dog vaccination for distemper is administered in combination with three other canine diseases including parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza.
- Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a resilient virus that can live in the environment, including on your hands and clothing. Symptoms of infection include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever or hypothermia, severe diarrhea and vomiting. Most deaths from parvo occur within 48-72 hours of clinical symptoms. Even with extensive (and expensive) treatment, dogs can still die from this disease. The vaccination for parvo comes in the distemper combo vaccine and is administered annually or triennially.
- Feline panleukopenia: Panleukopenia used to be the leading cause of death in cats, but since the vaccine has become widespread, the disease is uncommon. Still, the virus itself is very prevalent in the environment and virtually all cats are exposed to the virus at some point in their lives. Kittens, sick cats, and unvaccinated cats are most at risk. Symptoms of FP include loss of appetite, fever, severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. The cat vaccination for FP is administered through the combination vaccine, FVRCP which also includes rhinotracheitis and calicivirus, too.
Are There Risks with Vaccinations?
As with any medical treatment, there are some associated risks with vaccines, yet the danger of going without the vaccination is far greater than any risk the vaccine may cause. Severe reactions to vaccines are rare, and the majority of pets handle vaccines and their administration quite well. At Houston’s Animal Medical Center of the Village, we prevent overvaccinations by following industry guidelines for both dog and cat vaccinations. If for whatever reason you are concerned about your pet after receiving a vaccine, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your veterinarian.