Vaccines - Common Questions

Vaccines have long been an important way in which to keep pets healthy by preventing diseases that can cause severe illness. However, many people have questions about those vaccines and their effects on their pets. Here is some basic information that can help guide you in the decision making process concerning your pet’s health.

  1. What are vaccines?

  2. Technically speaking, vaccines are substances that are introduced into the body and cause the body’s immune system to create a reaction to that specific disease. In practice, this means that, when the vaccinated animal comes into contact with that specific disease, its body will already recognize it and be able to fight off the illness.

  3. Are all vaccines given as injections?

  4. No. Vaccines are made for a number of different diseases and can be administered in several different ways, including via injection, intranasally or orally.

  5. Does every animal get the same vaccines?

  6. Not necessarily. There are a variety of different vaccines for each species and we can customize a plan for each animal based on their specific risk factors, such as travel, age and environment. Also, some vaccines for some animals (such as the Rabies vaccine for dogs) may be required by law depending on the particular local government.

  7. What vaccines are typically recommended?

  8. Each species has different vaccines, but we typically divide these into “Core” and “Non-Core” vaccines. We recommend that all pets receive the Core vaccines if they are able and then incorporate the Non-Core vaccines based on their particular risks/exposure. For example, the Core vaccines for a dog are Canine Parvovirus, Distemper Virus, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus-2 (also sometimes known as 5 in 1) and Rabies. The Non-Core vaccines can include Canine Leptospira, Bordetella, Lyme Disease, Canine Influenza virus, and the Rattlesnake vaccine.

  9. What are the side effects of giving vaccines?

  10. Vaccine side effects are typically very minimal and temporary. These can include soreness at the vaccination site, lethargy or tiredness, and a small area of swelling at the vaccine site. Sometimes, more serious side effects can occur, such as facial swelling, but this is exceedingly rare. Some breeds may be more prone to these reactions and, in those cases, we can give medication prior to the vaccine in order to help prevent these types of serious reactions.

  11. Are vaccines still given yearly?

  12. It depends. Vaccine protocols are based on many factors including the species and age of the animal and the type of vaccine. Some newer recommendations allow for certain vaccinations to be given with longer intervals between vaccines. Other vaccines are not sufficient over the long term and must still be given yearly.

Please contact any of our staff or veterinarians with your questions regarding vaccines and we would be happy to provide a tailor-made protocol for your pet.

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