With the topic of this years Animal Health Week being vaccines, we thought we’d give an overview of what vaccines actually are and how they work!
This allows the immune system to “see” the disease without you having to contract it. In human medicine the use of vaccines has been very successful in preventing disease, helping to essentially eradicate illnesses like smallpox and polio. The same principles apply to veterinary medicine. Vaccines are used to help protect our pets from potentially fatal illnesses.
That’s where boosters come in. The booster is like the chief giving the officers weapons to fight the disease. Once the vaccine is boostered, the immunity from that disease can last for years.
For example, we know that the vaccine for Lyme Disease doesn’t usually provide immunity for longer than a year so we booster it annually. Some vaccines, however, can provide immunity for much longer for certain patients. Titer testing is a way we can assess how immune a dog is to an illness and decide if a booster is needed at that point in time.
We can test Titres in the core vaccines to see when boosters are needed. Rabies Titers have to be sent to an outside lab, but the others can be done here in clinic. Vaccines for Bordatella (kennel cough), Leptosporosis and Lyme Disease are also available depending on your dog’s risk factors.
For cats, the core vaccine protects against Rhinotracheitis, Calici, Chlamydia and Panleukopenia. This vaccine should be boostered annually, even if your cat never steps foot outside. If kitty spends any time out of the house, they should also be protected against Feline Leukemia and Rabies.
**CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE VACCINES WE OFFER AT ELMSDALE ANIMAL HOSPITAL OR TITRE TESTING**
With our pets, as in human medicine, preventing disease is preferable to treating a potentially fatal illness. If you would like to discuss your pet’s risk factors and work on a prevention routine, please call the Elmsdale Animal Hospital at (902)883-7080.
Dr. Juanita Ashton, BSc, DVM, ACDBC-IAABC is a certified Canine Behavioural Consultant, and one of the owners of the Elmsdale Animal Hospital