Important Pointers to Remember When Vaccinating Your Pet
Mon, April 19, 2021

Important Pointers to Remember When Vaccinating Your Pet


Vaccines prevent illnesses that affect your furry companion; in fact, vaccination has been one of the easiest ways to help your dog or cat live healthier and longer, explained American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, a non-profit organization. There are different types and combinations for vaccines, as well as different vaccines for a number of diseases.

Vaccines also help you avoid paying for costly treatments for vaccine-preventable diseases, noted the American Veterinary Medical Association, a not-for-profit association founded in 1863. If you decide to have your pet vaccinated, your veterinarian can help you determine the appropriate vaccination program to ensure maximum protection.   

Survey Explores the Attitudes of Cat Owners Towards Vaccination (2010)

G. Habacher, Jane K. Murray, and Timothy John Gruffydd-Jones of journal portal Research Gate collected data using a web-based “Cat Health Questionnaire” involving 3,163 (out of 3,163) participants. 71% of cat owners acquired their cat when it was below one year of age, with most of them coming from a rescue center or charity (35%) or through personal connections such as friends and neighbors (26%). 14% of cats were acquired from a breeder and only 0.4% of respondents described themselves as a cat breeder.

When asked about the factors that prevent them from booking a routine veterinary appointment for their cat, 56% said that none of the listed factors would be a potential cause for inconvenience. 40% said “finding and catching the cat” was one of the listed factors that would be a potential cause for inconvenience, followed by “opening hours” (28%), “distance and transport” (26%), and “time involved” (23%).

Cat owners with vaccinated cats were told to mention infectious diseases that they believed their pet feline had been vaccinated against. The respondents said cat flu and feline leukemia. When given with a list of feline infectious diseases, 61% believed that vaccinations were made available against feline leukemia, 63% said cat flu, 50% mentioned feline parvovirus, and 27% stated feline immunodeficiency virus. However, only 11% and 4% said the was a vaccine against Chalmydophila and Bordetella bronchiseptica, respectively.

23% of owners said they have noticed side effects from vaccines in a cat currently or previously owned by them. Owners commonly reported lethargy (67%), inappetence (47%), injection site reactions (29%), gastrointestinal signs (25%), fever (17%), and lameness (12%). Other side effects mentioned by the owners were flu-like symptoms (4%), allergic reactions (3%), and death (3%).

When asked about their opinions of new approaches to vaccination sites and vaccination programs, 29% said they would not accept more than one injection despite veterinary recommendations. 62% and 41% of owners said novel injection sites in the hindlimbs and the in the tail were acceptable, respectively. However, 37% stated that they would not be prepared to accept injection in either the hindlimb or the tail.

The authors said the study provided insights into the knowledge and behaviors of cat owners, as well as the factors that influence their decision to have their cat vaccine. Vaccination was generally regarded as important and few concerns about its safety were raised. The study might be helpful to help veterinarians be more aware of cat owners’ perceptions about vaccination, to address the latter’s concerns, and to communicate with owners more effectively.



How Do Pet Vaccinations Work?

Vaccines contain an agent similar to the microorganism that causes the disease and once it is injected, the agent stimulates your pet’s immune system, recognizing the agent as a threat, stated RSPCA Pet Insurance, a provider of pet insurance in Australia. The immune system will attack the foreign agent, remembering it in case your pet’s body encounters the same disease in the future.  

Bear in mind that vaccines only work in healthy and relaxed animals. Vaccines take a week for the body to respond to it and develop immunity. A vaccine will be less effective if you have your pet vaccinated when it is already sick. Vaccines act as a prevention, not as a cure for diseases.

What Are the Core Vaccines for Cats and Dogs?

For dogs, it is best to have it vaccinated against canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Non-core vaccines are administered depending on your pet’s exposure risk. These include vaccines against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi, and the Leptospira bacteria.

For cats, core vaccines include panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies. Non-core vaccines are given depending on your cat’s lifestyle. Examples are feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis, and feline immunodeficiency virus. But your veterinarian can help which ones are best for your pet.



How Should I Determine the Timing and Frequency of Vaccinations

Depending on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, lifestyle, and environment, your veterinarian can determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for it. For puppies, they should receive a series of vaccination when they are six to eight weeks of age. 

A minimum of three vaccinations should be given at three- to four-week intervals. The final dose should be given at 16 weeks of age. The same goes for kittens. For adult dogs, some might receive certain vaccines every year, while others might be administered every three years or more. Adult cats can be revaccinated every year or three years.

What Are The Risks of Vaccination?

Vaccines mildly stimulate your pet’s immune system to protect the body from a disease, which can create mild symptoms such as soreness at the injection site, fever, and allergic reactions. However, there are less common side effects like tumors at the injection site and immune disease associated with vaccination. But it is important to remember that vaccines have saved the lives of many pets.

Hence, there is a small chance for your pet to experience the vaccine’s side effects. In fact, most of them show no ill effect and reactions tend to be short-lived and minor. But it can also require the immediate attention of your veterinarian. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lameness, seizure, vomiting, and more. You can schedule your pet’s appointment to allow you to monitor your pet’s condition for any side effects following the vaccination. 

Vaccination is important as it protects your pet from infectious diseases and avoids costly treatments from these diseases. The chances of your pet dying rom side effects upon vaccination is slim, but it is strongly recommended to consult your veterinarian if your pet shows any of the above-mentioned side effects.