Learning about pet vaccinations helps one understand what is
best for their pet. Vaccines, are medicines that spark a reaction in the
immune system that protects against possible infections. Some vaccinations,
such as for rabies and are required by state law. Depending on your state
of residence other vaccines may also be required. Other common vaccines
help prevent diseases such as feline leukemia and distemper.
While vaccinations protect most pets, a vaccine may not be completely
effective. In some cases a pet may still contract a disease that it has
been vaccinated against. It is also possible for a pet to have a reaction
to a vaccine. Most of these reactions are mild. Symptoms may occur for
a day or two and may include listlessness, fever, and a loss of appetite.
Severe are reactions to allergic reactions are rare. Swelling, breathing
problems, and violent illness are indicators of this. Contact your vet
immediately if your pet shows signs of a severe reaction.
Some question the need for yearly vaccinations and wonder if
there may be side effects associated with yearly doses. To date, it isn't
clear if there is a long-term risk, or exactly how long a vaccine may last.
However, the general rule of thumb is 'better safe than sorry'. Vaccines
usually protect against the harshest of diseases and one doesn't want to
leave their pet unprotected. While it is important to know the risks, vaccines
have saved the lives of many pets.
As an added note, the vaccines your pet needs will depend on
your location and your pet. Your vet is an excellent resource for discussing
what treatments are best for your pet.