5 Myths About Pet Vaccination

Myth #1: Since my pet never goes outside, it doesn’t need vaccines

There are three vaccines that Northside Animal Clinic uses – rabies, DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza), and Bordetella (“kennel cough”). Regardless of whether your pet goes outside, it is legally required by state law to have a rabies vaccination. Johnson county had over 100 cases of rabies last year alone, and because rabies can be transmitted to humans, it is incredibly important that you protect your pet and your family from this deadly (and costly) disease by having your pet vaccinated against rabies every year.

The DHLPP and Bordetella vaccination schedule is more flexible and the frequency of vaccination can be tailored to your pet’s needs. If your pet never leaves your house, it may not need the DHLPP and Bordetella vaccinations every year, although it is important that your pet has a booster shot of both at least every three years. However, if your pet ever leaves your home, it is a good idea to protect your pet from these diseases by getting the DHLPP and Bordetella vaccinations each year.

Consult your veterinarian to develop a vaccination schedule that matches your pet’s individual needs.

Myth #2: The vaccines I bought at a feed store are just as good as the ones from a veterinary clinic

Where you get your pet vaccinated matters! Northside Animal Clinic veterinarians carefully select vaccines that are proven to be safe for your pet. They have a very low reaction rate, so your pet will be protected from many dangerous diseases without the potential of getting sick. While a vaccine that you purchase at a feed store may be a few dollars cheaper, there is a higher chance of your pet experiencing a vaccine reaction. These reactions often require medical attention and the few dollars you saved on the vaccine don’t cover the huge bill from an emergency clinic.

We also select vaccines based on how well they work. Every year, we see dozens of puppies with parvo who were vaccinated using products from a feed store. However, puppies almost never contract parvo when they are vaccinated from a veterinary clinic. Additionally, vaccines stop working when they aren’t stored at the correct temperature. Trusting that the feed store has constantly kept the vaccine in the correct temperature is essentially gambling with your pet’s life – if you’re wrong, your pet is at risk of getting very sick.

Myth #3: If my new pet was vaccinated by its breeder, it doesn’t need any more vaccines.

Even though your breeder said that your puppy has had all of its puppy shots, that doesn’t mean that the vaccines had any effect. Typically, breeders have given all four sets of puppy shots by the time the pup is 6-8 weeks old, even though the last set of shots shouldn’t be given until the pup is 16 weeks old.

When puppies are born, their immune systems are not developed enough to provide very much protection. They depend on protection they get from their mother’s milk until their immune system matures. Because vaccines work by triggering the immune system to create antibodies for future protection, giving vaccines to a puppy younger than 8 weeks old doesn’t work. The diseases that puppy vaccinations target, especially parvo, are incredibly dangerous and depending on this ineffective vaccination strategy to protect your pet might be a deadly decision.

Additionally, there’s a misconception that the puppy doesn’t need vaccines for the rest of its life after it has been vaccinated by the breeder. Unfortunately, this is also not true. Even after the four sets of puppy shots, dogs need booster vaccines for the rest of their lives to ensure that their immune systems are prepared to protect them against rabies and other diseases.

Myth #4: My dog got vaccinated last week and now he’s sick. The vaccines made him sick.

Every dog reacts differently to vaccinations. It is common for pets to experience mild side effects after being vaccinated, like discomfort at the injection site, lethargy, and general crankiness. However, serious vaccination reactions, like vomiting, diarrhea, skin hives or swelling around the face, and difficulty breathing, occur extremely infrequently and always occur within minutes to hours of being infected.

Your pet could be sick the following week for a number of reasons, like car sickness or being fed table food, but it is not because of the vaccines. The vaccines that NSAC uses are altered so that they are incapable of infecting your pet, so if your pet does not experience serious side effects within hours of being vaccinated, the sickness is not due to the vaccines.

Myth #5: Vaccination isn’t worth it in cats because they can get cancer.

Vaccinations protect cats from dangerous diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans. In Johnson county, rabies is especially prevalent so vaccination is very important. There are very few risks to vaccination, but one very rare but serious complication in cats is called “Feline Injection Site Sarcoma,” which is a tumor growth at the place where the shot was given. However, this only occurs in one cat per 10,000-30,000 that are vaccinated, so it is definitely worth the risk of vaccination in order to keep your cat healthy.

If you have any questions or concerns about pet vaccinations, call the Northside Animal Clinic and make a consultation appointment to speak to a veterinarian about your pet’s needs. We are happy to provide information that helps you make the best decision for your family.

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