Prevent Disease with Pet Vaccinations
Just like humans, dogs and cats are at risk for a number of viruses and diseases—some of which can be very serious or even fatal. Some of these illnesses are zoonotic, meaning our pets can transfer them to us, making them even more dangerous. The good news is that you can protect your pet with vaccinations. Vaccinating your pet is one of the best ways to keep them healthy and prevent illnesses through every life stage. That’s why we recommend including pet vaccines with all of our patients’ wellness regimens. Here at Affordable Pet Care Northwest in San Antonio, we offer more than a dozen vaccines to meet the lifestyle needs of all of our canine and feline patients.
How Do Pet Vaccines Work?
Pet vaccinations work the same way as human vaccines. They contain antigens, which are substances (foreign bodies) that stimulate the body to produce antibodies against it. These antigens mimic a certain virus or disease without causing the full symptoms. The production of antibodies equips the immune system with the tools to fight off the real virus or disease if a pet is ever exposed to it. However, these antibodies weaken over time, so your pet needs vaccine boosters on a regular basis.
Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
At the very least, we recommend a series of core vaccines. Core pet vaccinations are those that we universally recommend for all dogs and cats, regardless of how high their risk of exposure is. These vaccines are essential because they protect against very serious illnesses. Some of the core vaccines we offer include:
- Feline calicivirus (FCV)
- Canine distemper
- Feline distemper
- Canine hepatitis
We also offer non-core vaccines for dogs and cats. These vaccines are not essential; we recommend them based on a pet’s risk of exposure/lifestyle. Some non-core pet vaccines include:
- Bordetella (kennel cough)
- Canine influenza*
- Feline leukemia
- Chlamydia psittaci
*Due to the canine influenza outbreak that is spreading throughout the country, we recommend all our canine patients receive the canine influenza vaccine to stay healthy. Canine flu (or CIV) is very contagious and can live on surfaces (like clothing) for up to 48 hours. Even after being infected, some dogs may not show any symptoms. If symptoms do present, they often include nasal and ocular discharge, coughing, lethargy, and an elevated temperature. Let us know right away if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms.
We can determine which vaccines your pet needs after conducting a comprehensive wellness exam and asking you questions regarding their lifestyle. We’ll also customize a vaccination schedule which will involve a vaccine booster every 1-3 years (depending on the vaccine) to be effective. Just call 210-684-2273.
Canine parvovirus, or “parvo,” is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily among dogs either via contact with feces from infected animals or even from contaminated surfaces. We often see puppies coming in with parvo in the early spring, and would like to remind all new pet owners to have their puppies vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent this disease. Symptoms of parvo include lethargy, fever, vomiting, and severe, bloody diarrhea. Unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months old are especially vulnerable to parvo. This disease can be fatal within 48 to 72 hours of clinical signs becoming apparent. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet, contact us right away.