Answers to commonly asked questions regarding pet vaccinations provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM
In 2020, Best Friends Pet Hotel began offering monthly vet clinics (in partnership with Vetco) at our locations nationwide – as part of our ongoing mission to offer our pets and pet parents the most robust, premium pet care services around.
Since the start of our vet clinics, we’ve been receiving many important questions regarding pet vaccinations. So we decided to create this helpful resource for our pet parents by asking our trusted Veterinarian Consultant, Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM, for her expert answers and advice to your most commonly asked questions:
1. Why are vaccinations so important?
Vaccinations protect your pet and other pets against diseases, many of which are life threatening. It is much less expensive to vaccinate your pet than it would be to treat them if they got ill. It can prevent unneeded suffering for your pet and your family. Some vaccines are required by law, like the rabies vaccine. There are also viruses that can be transmitted to people if your unvaccinated pet were to contract it.
2. How do vaccines work?
Vaccines work by exposing the immune system to certain components of the unwanted virus. This lets the immune system gear up and produce antibodies against the virus. This is not instantaneous and it does take a few weeks for the body to produce these antibodies. Later if your pet is exposed to the virus, your pet’s immune system will recognize the virus and send those antibodies out to neutralize it before it can invade the cells and cause disease.
3. What annual vaccinations do you recommend to pet parents?
Vaccinations that are recommended depend on you and your pet’s life style. Does your pet board? Do you go for walks in the woods? Do you live in a high rise apartment and your dog only uses potty pads in the house? Is your pet a hunting dog? Your veterinarian is there to help guide you in which vaccinations are important for your pet based on its life style.
4. How often should I vaccinate my pet?
Vaccination frequency depends on manufacturer recommendations, state laws, and pet’s lifestyle. As your pet ages, life style may change that it may no longer need a vaccine it used to get. State laws change as well. Some states require yearly rabies vaccines , others every three years. Your veterinarian is there to help you decide what is needed for your pet and your circumstances.
5. What happens if I miss a vaccination?
Missing a vaccination makes your pet vulnerable to contracting the disease you are trying to prevent. It is important for your pet’s health to stay current on vaccinations. Depending on the amount of time that has lapsed, there are some vaccinations that will require you to restart the series in order to properly protect your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to assist you in what your pet needs.
6. How do I know if my cat or dog is having a bad reaction to a vaccine?
A vaccine reaction can happen with any vaccine at any time, but is usually most common when receiving a new vaccination. It is important to monitor your pet for any facial swelling, hives, vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty breathing. If these were to occur you should seek veterinary care immediately.
7. Are there recommendations for puppies or kittens as it relates to vaccines?
Puppies or kittens receive some passive immunity from their mother through the placenta and the colostrum when they are born. This passive immunity will wane with time, this is why it is important the puppies and kittens get a series of vaccines to boost their own immature immune systems as the passive immunity they received from their mother wanes. Which vaccines are needed will depend on your puppy or kitten’s life style.
8. As it relates to finding a place to vaccinate my pet, what types of things should I look for?
It is important to look for a place that not only vaccinates your pet but also examines them. There are certain times when pets present with medical conditions that make vaccinating them not in their best interest at that time. These medical conditions should be corrected prior to your pet receiving a vaccination. Go to a place you trust. A place that you can feel comfortable being able to communicate your questions to the staff.
To learn more about veterinary care and monthly vet clinics (in partnership with Vetco) at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel, visit our Vet Care webpage. Or call your local center with any additional questions.