The Importance of Annual Pet Vaccinations
Vaccinations are a crucially important part of any pet preventative care program and have been proven to save the lives of countless pets over the years. However, the main difficulty with vaccinations is that it is virtually impossible to tell exactly how long a vaccine remains effective for. Sure, there is an approximate guideline, but since every animal is unique and may react in a slightly different way, there is no sure-fire way of knowing just how many months or years your pet will be protected for.
Many pet owners, and their veterinarians, are simply not prepared to take that chance. After all, the infectious diseases that most vaccines protect against can be serious, if not deadly. Symptoms can be painful and debilitating, and treatments long and expensive. Those animals that do recover could still suffer from ongoing health problems and long-term effects.
Is there a test that can tell me if my pet’s vaccine is still effective?
Over the last few years, some owners have heard of a process known as ‘titering’. Titering is the name given to a blood sample that is taken with the purpose of determining whether an animal has enough antibodies in her system to ensure immunity against a particular disease.
The development of titering has led to some owners using the process to determine if their pet has enough antibodies in her blood to protect against a specific contagious disease, or if a vaccine booster is required. However, most experts believe that this is not an effective or reliable way of measuring an animal’s protection against the disease. Instead it is a better indicator as to whether an animal has been protected in the past. Fact is, a titer test may show that your pet is protected on the day that the blood is drawn, but again, how long the vaccine will continue to be effective for is not known. A titer test taken a week later could show a low titer, meaning that your pet may be vulnerable to the disease.
The importance of annual pet vaccinations
Since even titer tests can’t tell us exactly how well our pet is protected from the infectious disease she is vaccinated against, most veterinarians advise annual boosters of the core vaccinations.
While there is some concern over the possibility of over-vaccinating our pets, most animal scientists and vets agree that the benefits of preventing disease far outweigh the small level of risk associated with the vaccines used. This is because the diseases do not only pose a threat to your pet’s health – they can also put other animals in the area at risk due to their contagious nature.
And, it isn’t just animals you need to worry about. Some of the illnesses that pet vaccines protect against are zoonotic in nature. This means that they can be transmitted from animals, wild or domestic, to humans and infect them with the same disease. This means that leaving your pet unvaccinated could not only affect her, but also other animals both in your home and the general area, and even your human family.
If you agree that the risk posed by letting vaccinations lapse is too big to take, then our veterinarians would be happy to assess your furbaby and schedule the appropriate vaccines for her. Please contact our clinic today to arrange your appointment.