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Do I Have to Vaccinate My Pet?

Have you ever wondered if the vaccinations your pet receives are really needed? Although getting your pet into the car for the drive to the veterinarian's office isn't always easy, skipping vaccinations can have a serious impact on your pet's health.

Why Are Vaccines Important?

Vaccines not only prevent your pet from catching infectious diseases, but also offer other important benefits, including:

  • Reduction of Disease Transmission. When the majority of pets are vaccinated, they can't spread diseases to other animals. Vaccination plays an important role in preventing rabies and other infectious diseases from flourishing. Vaccinating your pet also protects other animals that are too young to receive the vaccines yet.
  • Lower Costs. Treating the diseases that vaccines prevent can be very expensive, particularly if the disease causes chronic health problems. Vaccinating your pet is a simple, effective way to avoid high-cost treatments that can derail your budget.
  • Reduced Zoonotic Disease Rates. Zoonotic diseases, such as rabies and leptospirosis, are passed between humans and animals. Vaccinating animals against the diseases also protect humans.
  • Compliance with Local Laws. Most municipalities in the U.S. require rabies vaccination for pets. Vaccination may be needed to obtain a license for your dog or cat.

What Do Vaccines Do?

Antigens, substances that trigger the production of antibodies, are contained in vaccines. Antibodies identify foreign bacteria and viruses and react quickly, killing the invading organisms before they can cause disease symptoms.

What About Side Effects?

Inspired by the backlash against vaccines for children, some pet owners have decided to opt out of vaccinating their dogs and cats. Many people who don't vaccinate their dogs or cats express concerns about possible side effects. New York Magazine reported on the issue in its February 2015 edition, noting that widespread vaccine avoidance can trigger outbreaks of diseases that were once thought to be under control, such as distemper.

Distemper affects the nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms of dogs. Dogs affected by the disease may have high fevers, watery eyes, hardened foot pads, coughing, vomiting, seizures and paralysis. The death rate for distemper is high. If a dog doesn't die from the disease, he or she may have lasting nervous system damage.

The distemper vaccine offers a simple way to prevent death and suffering. All vaccines may cause side effects, but side effects are usually mild, don't last long and don't affect every dog. Common vaccine side effects include fever, appetite loss, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or hives.

Before your pet receives a vaccination, his or her veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and may even recommend a few tests to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to receive the vaccine. The veterinarian may also recommend checking his or her immunity level before offering a vaccine.

What Vaccines Are Needed?

Your pet will probably need a combination of core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are vaccines that every pet should have, while non-core vaccines may be recommended based on the area of the country in which you live and your dog or cat's potential exposure to various diseases.

Core vaccines for dogs include rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis, while non-core vaccines may include Lyme disease, parainfluenza, bordetella or leptospirosis. Rabies and feline distemper are core vaccines for cats, in addition to calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. Non-core vaccines for cats include feline leukemia and bordetella.

All pets don't receive the same vaccines. Factors that affect which vaccines are offered include your pet's age, health, habits, lifestyle, vaccination history and potential risk of contracting certain diseases. Puppies and kittens receive a series of vaccinations to bolster their immune systems, while older animals may only need vaccinations every one to three years, depending on the vaccine type, their immunity and local regulations and recommendations.

Even if your pet requires several vaccinations, he or she won't usually need to endure multiple shots. Many vaccines can be combined to make the injection process as easy as possible. Some vaccines are also available in liquid form.

Keep your pets and your family safe by vaccinating your dogs and cats. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

American Veterinary Medical Association: Vaccinations

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/vaccinations.aspx

ASPCA: Vaccinations for Your Pet

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/vaccinations-your-pet

New York Magazine: Is the Anti-Vaccination Movement Spreading to Pet Owners?, 2/4/15

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/anti-vaccine-movement-spreading-to-pet-owners.html

WebMD: Pet Vaccines: Schedules for Cats and Dogs, 2016

http://pets.webmd.com/pet-vaccines-schedules-cats-dogs#1

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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