In the News
By Drs. Rob Memmen and Andrea Johnston, Gehrman Animal Hospital
Vaccinating your pet has long been considered one of the easiest ways to prevent illness and to help your pet live a long, healthy life. Additionally, vaccines are a vital part of an animal’s health in not only preventing a pet from becoming ill but also protecting the pet community from diseases that we could eradicate (just like measles in people)! Vaccinating your pet also protects the human community from contracting certain diseases.
Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, but there are different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccinations are tailored based on the pet’s lifestyle, however, core vaccinations are recommended for all dogs and cats. Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans. The core vaccinations in dogs and cats include rabies and distemper vaccinations. Rabies vaccinations are required by law in most states. If a pet is exposed to a wild animal carrying the rabies virus, this vaccination could save your pet’s life. The distemper vaccination for dogs includes protection against distemper virus (often fatal), canine hepatitis virus, parvovirus (incredibly contagious and often fatal) and parainﬂuenza. The distemper vaccination in cats includes protection against rhinotracheitis (respiratory virus), calicivirus and panleukopenia virus (often fatal).
Non-core vaccinations are vaccinations based on your pet’s lifestyle. In dogs, this includes the bordetella vaccination (kennel cough), leptospirosis and the Lyme vaccination. The Bordetella vaccination is often recommended for pets that are boarded, groomed or socializing with other dogs. The leptospirosis vaccination is recommended for almost all pets living in water dense regions (such as Wayzata)! Leptospirosis is spread via rodent urine and dogs that drink stagnant water (ponds, pools, puddles etc.) are at risk for severe and potentially fatal liver and kidney disease. Lastly, the Lyme vaccination is important for animals that are exposed to ticks (high grasses, active outdoor dogs, hunt-ing). Seasonal tick preventatives are also important for prevent-ing Lyme disease.
The most common non-core vaccination for cats is the feline leukemia vaccination. Feline leukemia is spread by cats coming into close contact (saliva) with other cats infected with this disease. This vaccination is recommended for all kittens and outdoor cats.
Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule for your pet. This will depend on the type of vaccine, your dog’s age, medical history, environment and lifestyle. Some adult dogs might receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every three years or longer.
Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and beneﬁts that must be weighed for every pet relative to his lifestyle and health. Your veterinarian can determine a vaccination regime that will provide the safest and best protection for your individual animal.