- Vaccination Protocol
Due to their prevalence within our society, dogs and cats have become susceptible to many serious and often life-threatening diseases. Nevertheless, your pet can be easily protected from these illnesses through vaccinating, deworming, heartworm and parasite prevention, and regular check-ups by a veterinarian. See our vaccination protocols for more information and to find the right treatment schedule for your pet.
- Why give your dog routine vaccinations?
Unless properly vaccinated, your dog is at risk of contracting one of several, possibly fatal, infectious diseases. Fortunately, most common infectious diseases contracted by dogs, as well those that afflicting cats, can be prevented almost completly though routine vaccination. In fact, vaccines are usually effective in over than 95% of pets. Additionally, routinely vaccinating your pet means you’re actively conducting preventative medicine; the most affective and cost-efficient medical approach to wellness.
- Millions of doses of vaccines are administered to children in this country each year. Ensuring that those vaccines are potent, sterile, and safe requires the addition of minute amounts of chemical additives.
- Chemical reactions carried out inactivate a virus or bacteria and stabilize the vaccine, helping to preserve the vaccine and prevent it from losing its potency over time.
- The amount of chemical additives found in vaccines is actually very small; a pet may encounter a thousand-fold larger quantity of chemicals on a daily basis living within a household environment.
- Vaccines are safe, effective, and are an important defense against many serious diseases.
- Immunity – Active and Passive
Immunity to a disease is achieved through the presence of antibodies to that disease in a person’s system. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to neutralize or destroy toxins or disease-carrying organisms. Antibodies are disease-specific. For example, measles antibody will protect a person who is exposed to measles disease, but will have no effect if he or she is exposed to mumps.
Immunity can be separated into two hierarchal categories: adaptive and innate, and are categorized by the subjects’ point of exposure. If an immunity is inherited (written within the subject’s genetic code) the immunity is said to be innate. Conversely, if an immunity is acquired through exposure, the immunity is said to be acquired or adaptive immunity.
Adaptive or acquired immunity can be broken down into two categories; natural and artificial adaptive immunity. Natural adaptive immunity occurs through non-deliberate contact with a disease-causing agent, whereas artificial adaptive immunity develops only through deliberate actions such as vaccination. Both natural and artificial adaptive immunity can be further subdivided active or passive, depending on whether immunity is induced in the host or passively transferred from an outside host.
Passive immunity refers to the process of providing antibodies to the subject in order to protect against infection; it gives immediate, but short-lived protection—several weeks to 3 or 4 months at most. The transfer of maternal antibodies across the placenta provides natural passive immunity for the newborn baby for several weeks/months until such antibody is degraded and lost.
Active immunity refers to the process of exposing the body to an antigen to generate an adaptive immune response: the response takes days/weeks to develop but may be long lasting—even lifelong. Wild infection for example with hepatitis A virus (HAV) and subsequent recovery gives rise to a natural active immune response usually leading to lifelong protection. Similarly, routine vaccinations are an example of artificial active immunity, and will protect your pet from many illness and diseases.
Immunity in an adult pet:
Viral immunity can result from vaccination, or if the pet already been afflicted by (and survived) the disease.
- Immunity in young animals:
Newborn puppies and kittens receive protection from their mother’s milk in the form of Colostrum; a protein-rich yellowish-fluid produced by lactating mammals within the first few days after birth. Colostrum is not only nutritious, but also contains immune and growth factors, enzymes, proteins, and many other beneficial substances.
Immunity resulting from exposure to maternal Colostrum is an example of passive naturally-acquired immunity. Newborn puppies must nurse within the first 12 hours to receive this protection.
After weaning, puppies’ and kittens’ passive immunity gradually disappears. Therefore, vaccinations must start at 8 weeks of age. If vaccines are given too early, the protection provided by the maternal Colostrum fights off the vaccine, and the vaccine does no good. If given vaccinations too late, the puppy may contract a disease.
Young animals' immune systems are immature, and not capable of developing long-lasting natural or artificial immunity until at least 16 weeks-of-age. Therefore, puppies and kittens must receive vaccination boosters every 3-4 weeks in their first year of life.
After the initial booster series is administered to puppies and kittens, all pets should receive annual boosters for most vaccines. Some vaccines, for example Rabies, can be boostered every two (2) years once the pet has reached adulthood. Remember that vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies that fight off viruses. Boosters must be given to insure the immune system develops long-term protection, antibodies that stay around for long periods of time. See our vaccination protocols for more information and to find the right treatment schedule for your pet.
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