Why Do Owners Vaccinate Their Pets?

​​​​​​​Any responsible and caring owner will want to do everything that they can to keep their pet from becoming sick. Vaccinations have been proven to be one of the best ways to do this and have saved the lives of countless animals over the years.

How do pet vaccinations work?

Pet vaccinations work in exactly the same way as human varieties of the medication. Each vaccine is designed to mimic certain characteristics of a harmful disease, but without actually causing any physical sickness. When the vaccine is administered, your pet’s body tries to defend itself against its attack by producing antibodies. If a vaccinated animal then comes into contact with the disease itself, her immune system will recognize it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it. This means she will automatically repel the real disease rather than be affected by it, keeping her safe from harm.

However, it is important to be aware that vaccines are only effective for a period of time before they no longer stimulate the production of antibodies. When this happens, your pet is left unprotected and vulnerable to disease. For this reason, veterinarians strongly advocate that owners commit to a strict schedule of vaccinations, starting when their animal is in its infancy and progressing throughout the duration of their lives. Some owners mistakenly believe that as their pet reaches her senior years she has built up sufficient immunity and no longer requires booster vaccination. However, there is no evidence to support this and in fact, her deteriorating body function means that she is not only more likely to be affected by infectious diseases, but they will almost certainly cause her harm much more quickly.

Vaccinations don’t just protect animals from illness

While vaccinations are extremely effective at preventing your pet from contracting serious illness, they also protect against diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans. These are known as zoonotic diseases and could pose a very real threat to your family. Examples of zoonotic diseases include rabies and cat scratch fever.

What diseases can vaccinations protect your pet from?

Vaccinations can keep your pet safe from a variety of different diseases. These are divided into two different categories – core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines should be given to all pets of the species regardless of their age, location and lifestyle. Non-core vaccines are only given strategically when a particular disease is either prevalent in the area that they live, or they have other risk factors that make vaccination beneficial.

The following list details the core and non-core vaccines recommended for cats and dogs living in the United States.

Core vaccines for cats

Feline panleukopenia

Feline herpesvirus infection

Feline calicivirus


Non-core vaccines for cats


Feline leukaemia

Feline immunodeficiency virus

Core vaccines for dogs

Canine distemper

Canine adenovirus infections

Canine parvovirus infection


None-core vaccines for dogs


Kennel cough

Canine herpesvirus

Canine coronavirus

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you exactly which vaccinations your pet will benefit from and will work with you to create a schedule of preventative care that includes a robust vaccination program.

If you would like more information on vaccinating your pet, our dedicated and professional veterinary team would be happy to assist. Please contact our offices with your enquiry.

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