Pet vaccines.

There’s something about the idea of shots that has many of us wincing at the idea, especially when it comes to our best fur friends. No one really enjoys the thought of our pet experiencing the slightest bit of nervousness or twinge of pain. But, when we choose to forego this momentary discomfort (for us and them), we potentially put our pets at risk for numerous diseases or illnesses, some of which are fatal.

And, let’s face it; there seems to be a lot of media attention and misinformation being proposed around the dangers of vaccines. In reality, though, vaccinating your pet and maintaining his or her booster schedule is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of many common, highly contagious diseases while encouraging a lifetime of health for your pet.

So, What are Vaccines?

Vaccines essentially contain small levels of antigens (something that appears to be toxic or foreign) that increase or stimulate the immune system and strengthen its response and ability to fight the actual disease or illness if they become exposed to it.

Core vs. Non-Core Vaccines

There are many different types of vaccines on the market today, but the vaccinations your pet receives during his or her formative years and throughout adulthood are what’s known as core vaccines. For dogs, these include:

  • Distemper
  • Parvo
  • Rabies

For cats, core vaccines include:

  • Calicivirus
  • Parvo
  • Viral rhinotracheitis
  • Rabies

What generally qualifies vaccines as “core vaccines” relates to the corresponding disease and its severity, contagiousness, and transmissibility to humans. Rabies, in fact, is so virulent and transmissible between animals and humans, that it is required by law in most states, including Illinois.

Non-core vaccines cover a spectrum of diseases or illnesses related to everything from leptospirosis to bordetella (“kennel cough”). When you schedule your puppy or kitten’s first round of vaccinations, your team at Wheaton Animal Hospital will thoroughly discuss why each vaccination is needed. In addition, we will help tailor a vaccination and booster plan that considers all of your pet’s health needs and the risks associated, along with non-core options related to lifestyles such as travel, pet boarding (in the case of canine bordetella), and wildlife exposure.

Indoor Pets and Vaccinations

Some pet parents believe their pets are immune to contagious diseases or wildlife-acquired rabies risk because they are predominantly kept indoors. While keeping your pet safely in the house may decrease his or her chances of exposure, it does not guarantee anything.

Many dogs are exposed to other dogs while on walks in the park, through a backyard fence, or on a nature path. In addition, cats do occasionally get out of the house, as most of us feline fanciers can attest to. An unvaccinated cat or dog will also likely be prohibited from going to a grooming facility, pet supply department store, group training sessions, or pet-friendly hotels without documentation that he or she has current proof of vaccinations. Rabies vaccination is required by law for the protection of animals and humans alike.

We at Wheaton Animal Hospital understand how confusing it can be to determine when vaccinations should be scheduled, how often boosters are needed, and which non-core vaccines might be appropriate for your pet.

Because there is so much to consider, we have designed preventative care plans specifically with the health and well-being of your pet in mind, from their puppy- or kitten-phase to those senior years. Our preventative care plans make maintaining wellness exam and vaccination schedules easy, affordable, and beneficial to the quality of life of your pet.

Call us to schedule your pet’s annual exam or to discuss a preventive plan that’s right for you and your best friend.