Vaccines at Grand Avenue Veterinary Hospital
Our veterinary clinic in West Des Moines is available for the vaccination needs of your pet.
Furry family members mean almost as much to you as their human counterparts – if not just as much. Why wouldn’t you, therefore, give them all the same tools to live long, stay strong and experience maximum health?
Of course, you would, and vaccines are an inescapable part of any pet’s health plan. They help animals fight disease before it takes hold, and keep pet populations as a whole safe from infection. To see exactly why vaccines are so important and how best to ensure your cat’s safety, it’s critical to understand how they work.
Here are some of the most common questions, and their answers.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines administer a very low dose of a pathogen to your pet so that their immune system can “learn” to fight it. When a virus or bacteria enters the animal’s body for the first time, they will not possess an immunity, but introducing the disease prompts their system to manufacture antibodies to help fight it, explains the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Those antibodies then live in their bloodstream from then on, so should they encounter that pathogen in real life, full-strength, they will already have the tools to fight it.
Will My Pet Be 100% Immune?
This is a tricky question. Some animals who receive vaccines do develop total immunity. Others only develop partial immunity. Still, others, if they don’t receive booster shots regularly, may lose part or all of their previous immunity.
That’s why the concept of “herd immunity” is so important. When the entire population susceptible to a particular disease is vaccinated, the disease can’t find a foothold. Therefore, even if an animal didn’t have 100 percent immunity, it wouldn’t matter, because other animals couldn’t get infected and pass it on.
However, today’s reports show that not nearly enough animals are getting vaccinated. Let’s all work to change that.
Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
We recommend “core” vaccines for dogs and cats and offer “non-core” vaccines for those with high risk for disease exposure. Core vaccines for dogs include canine parvovirus, canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, and rabies. Core inoculations for cats include feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus, feline rhinotracheitis, and rabies.
Depending on your pet's lifestyle, your vet may recommend other vaccines as well. For instance, if your cat spends time outdoors and is at risk of exposure to other cats with feline leukemia, your vet may advise a vaccine to help combat the chance. Other non-core vaccinations we offer for dogs are lyme disease, leptospirosis, kennel cough and canine influenza.
Are There Side Effects to Vaccinating?
Usually, no. Vaccines are safe and well-vetted, and we’ve been using the same ones on pets for years. At most, some pets may experience a bit of mild fever or discomfort associated with the injection. In rare cases, however, you may notice a serious allergic reaction: itching and swelling of the skin and face, vomiting and diarrhea, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of this, please seek veterinary assistance right away.
Mostly, though, vaccinations are a routine part of any pet’s life, and there’s nothing for you to worry about.