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National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Awareness Month

Regularly vaccinating your pets is a crucial part of keeping them healthy, which is why August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends certain “core” vaccines for all dogs, cats, and ferrets, which you can learn more about in this blog!

First of all, what are vaccines? According to the AVMA, “Vaccines are health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether.” Basically, that means that vaccinations help prevent certain diseases or in some cases, can lessen the effect of certain diseases. Vaccinations are usually administered as an injection, although some vaccines such as Bordatella can be given through an oral or nasal spray.

Vaccinating your pet is important not only to prevent disease for your pet, but also to prevent the spread of diseases both between animals and between animals and humans. In some locations, certain vaccines are even legally required. Most cities (Columbia included) at least require that your pet be vaccinated for Rabies. Additionally, vaccines can save you a lot of money in the long run! In many cases it is cheaper to regularly vaccinate your pet than to pay for treating the diseases the vaccines prevent. Many of the diseases we vaccinate for are very serious if contracted, and in some cases can be fatal.

Core vaccinations recommended for all dogs are:

  • Rabies – spread via bites or scratches from an infected animal, this disease is almost always fatal if contracted.
  • DAPP – this is a 4-way combination vaccine for Distemper, Adenovirus/Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.

Non-Core vaccinations are recommended on a case-by-case basis depending on your pet’s lifestyle. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, with other pets, or travelling, they may need these additional vaccinations:

  • Canine Influenza – this is a respiratory illness that can be fatal if left untreated. Here at My Zoo we offer the Bivalent (meaning two parts) vaccine, which protects against the H3N2 and H3N8 strains of influenza.
  • Bordetella – another respiratory illness spread via coughing and sneezing
  • Leptospirosis – often given in combination with the DAPP vaccine (DAPPL)

Core vaccinations recommended for all cats are:

  • Rabies
  • FVRCP – this is a combination vaccine for Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia

Non-Core vaccinations for cats:

  • Feline Leukemia – this disease damages your cat’s immune system which can lead to serious illnesses such as cancer.

Core vaccinations recommended for all ferrets are:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper

It is important to always get your pet’s vaccinations from a licensed veterinarian. It may be tempting to purchase do-it-yourself vaccines from places like Orscheln or Tractor Supply, but those vaccines may be damaged from being shipped or stored in non-refrigerated areas. When you get your pet vaccinated here at My Zoo Animal Hospital, you can rest assured your pet is getting quality and effective vaccines every time. Call us at 573-875-3647 to schedule an appointment today!

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