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August is here, bringing plenty of sunshine and joy. Do you know what else August provides pet parents? A chance to take a moment and meditate on your dog’s health. That’s right! August is National Immunization Awareness Month, or as we like to think of it: “National Protect Your Pets and Help Them Live a Long and Happy Life Month” – but that’s a bit of a mouthful!

You may think this is an odd occasion to celebrate, but we hope this article will change your mind.

How often do you think about the importance of immunizations? Vaccines are the unsung heroes of your pet’s health and of modern veterinarian medicine.

Immunizations, Protecting Pets and Their People Since 1885

Did you know that we have rabies to thank for the pre-exposure immunization process doctors, pharmacists, and of course, vets use every day to save millions of lives? When a nine-year-old boy contracted rabies from an infected dog, Louis Pasteur jumped into action and gave the boy a diluted dose of the virus. After a series of 13 inoculations, the boy lived! Thank you, Louis Pasteur!

It is amazing how immunizations help the body’s immune system protect itself.

Yet More Reasons to Celebrate Immunization Today

Vaccines save lives and make our pets’ lives better. From heartworms to distemper, vaccines let our pets live long, happy lives, and give us more opportunities to make unforgettable memories with them. They keep our pets healthy and strong.

Immunizations also keep us safe from zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be transmitted from pets to humans.

What Would Life Be Like Without Pet Vaccinations?

Our pets have become a part of our families, and without vaccines for zoonotic diseases, we may not be able to snuggle our furry friends as closely as we do. It’s hard to even imagine how frightening it would be to not know if your dog or cat could possibly be carrying rabies or leptospirosis.

While spending quality time with our pets is important, it’s easy to forget how immunizations also improve our pets’ quality of life. Immunizations prevent illnesses that can kill dogs and cats like distemper and parvovirus.

Immunizations are Paw-sitively Astounding!

Immunizations don’t just prevent death, they prevent pain and suffering.

Let’s take a quick look at distemper as an example. Puppies receive distemper vaccines as soon as they’re old enough. Why? We don’t want our most vulnerable babies to have to suffer with or spread this serious and contagious disease.

The distemper virus attacks the nervous system which leads to repetitive and uncontrollable movements like circling and head tilting. As the virus becomes more and more serious, it causes seizures, paralysis, vomiting, and often death.

There is no cure for distemper. Luckily, we can protect dogs and puppies easily with a series of easy to administer vaccinations.

We won’t break your heart with any other sad scenarios, but it does make you thankful for modern veterinary medicine, right?

There is no doubt that vaccinations are important. They are more than just important, though. Simple vaccinations offer the best protection to help your pets live long and happy lives.

Core Vaccinations

For Dogs

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies
  • Leptospirosis

For Cats

  • Feline panleukopenia (often called Feline distemper)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus type I
  • Rabies
Non-Core Immunizations

For Dogs

  • Bordetella
  • Borrelia (causes Lyme disease)
  • Influenza

For Cats

  • Leukemia virus
  • Chlamydophila/feline chlamydia
  • FIV

Remember that vaccinations are most effective when:

Administered to puppies and kittens before they are exposed to possible illness.
Administered at the correct intervals. Remember to avoid gaps to keep your pet protected.

Vaccines also prevent illness which is easier and less costly than treating it. They also give pet parents peace of mind knowing their pet won’t contract a contagious disease from wildlife.

Final Thoughts for Summertime Immunization

If you’re planning on enjoying some dog park fun don’t skip your pup’s canine influenza vaccine. Dog flu spreads quickly and easily. All it takes is a sneeze, sharing toys, even sharing a water bowl to spread dog flu. Dogs that get the flu remain contagious for 26 days and 25% infected with the flu show no symptoms but continue to spread the virus.

Dog flu can slow your pup down and make her feel miserable with lethargy, fever, and difficulty breathing.

Don’t Let Your Cat Catch A Nasty Illness

Cat parents are more likely to skip bringing their cats in than dog parents. In fact, only 50% of cat owners bring their feline friends into their vet each year according to the AVMA. Don’t wait for your kitty to get sick before bringing her in. We can help keep her happy and healthy with a few simple vaccinations.

So, Happy National Immunization Awareness Month! We hope that you will celebrate your pet’s good health and take a moment to check and make sure your pet’s immunizations are up-to-date. If you’re unsure, give us a call and we will gladly check our records.

Image credit: Pixabay