Pet Vaccinations are used to build immunity against disease-causing agents and protect them against devastating diseases such as rabies and even death. This not only improves the quality of life of your pets, but is also a part of our prevention mechanism for yourself and the community when we bring these pets home. Pet communities like boarding kennels/cattery, training schools, and daycare mandate your pets to be vaccinated before admitting them. Young animals are highly susceptible to infectious diseases since the immunity developed from their mother’s milk is not long-lasting hence, it is important to get your pet vaccinated as early as possible after maternal antibodies subside. Usually the initial doses serve to build immunity against viruses and bacteria while the subsequent doses act as boosters to stimulate the immune system for long-term effects.
The risks associated with your pet contracting a disease when not vaccinated are much higher than when he is vaccinated. At the most, your pet will develop swelling around the vaccinated area, mild signs of fever, sneezing, mild coughing, decreased appetite, soreness etc. which start within hours of vaccination and last only for a short-term (like a day or two). In certain cases, pets develop serious allergic reactions within a few hours of vaccination like persistent vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin, swelling around the face, eyes or neck, severe coughing, etc. which can be life-threatening. One of the serious adverse reactions observed in cats is tumor growth, which can develop over weeks, months, or years after vaccination. For any such symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately. Although, due to much advancement of medical science and vaccination technology, such chances of allergic reactions in pets are very less likely.
While as per the laws and regulations in India, all dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated for rabies, is a zoonotic disease (animal-human-animal transfer), other vaccinations are also as much important to protect your pet from serious diseases.
The vaccination schedule for your pet depends upon the following factors:
Exposure risk for contracting a disease
Age, young pets need to have vaccinations to build their resistance when the immunity after birth starts to wear off. Older pets need boosters to maintain immunity, initial vaccination starts as early as 42 days
Travel habits of owner
Geography, diseases that can affect a pet may differ from region to region
Lifestyle, higher your pet interacts with the outside world (incl. Pets and Animals), higher are his chances of contracting a disease
Usually, pet vaccinations are categorized as core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are to protect your pets from severe and life-threatening diseases while Non-core vaccines are those which protect them from the risk of exposure due to the local environment or lifestyle. A vaccination schedule for core vaccines would be the same for all pets but the non-core schedule might vary depending on the above-mentioned parameters.
Select your Pet below to understand the core and non-core vaccines:
One should complete a series of vaccinations because otherwise, it may lead your pets vulnerable to infection. Hence, one needs to consult a veterinarian to understand their pet’s schedule/health based on an individual pet’s risk factors as well as your lifestyle changes which might change risk exposure like shifting to a new place, etc. Pets that are sick, pregnant, or have weaker immunity levels, vaccinations might need to be deferred. Provide your vet with necessary information about your pet before any vaccination. A few pet owners also do a titer test to measure their pet’s immunity before determining the required vaccines. After a vaccine is administered, immunity is not immediate. It takes about five to 10 days to become effective. As a practice, one can maintain a pet health record book to keep a tab on all the vaccination and health status of your pet.
The vaccination costs may vary from region to region and some of these vaccines are also covered under Pet Insurance. Usually, when you adopt a pet from a shelter, he would most likely have been vaccinated up until the age you got him but do ask for vaccination records to verify at your end. While immunization can be costly but it is vital for ensuring a healthy and happy life for your pet.