The importance of vaccinating your animals each year is sometimes lost or not seen when our cats and dogs look, feel, and act healthy. Bringing your animals to a veterinary clinic for their annual vaccines sometimes slips our minds or “our animals seem fine, they don’t really need vaccines this year do they?”. Vaccinations against the diseases we are trying to prevent are not only important for your pet but also everyone else’s!
Herd immunity is a term we use to describe how vaccines not only protect an individual but also the rest of the “herd”. The following figure shows how herd immunity works. As you can see, those who chose not to vaccinate put not only themselves but others at risk for the spread of diseases.
For adult canines, our annual vaccines at Chenoweth Animal Hospital include: Rabies, Bordetella, and Distemper/Parvo with Leptospirosis. For adult felines we recommend Rabies, FVRCP and Feline Leukemia if your cat goes outside at all. We encourage our clients to vaccinate yearly with these. If not, at least check their animals antibody titers to make sure they have the ability to fight off these diseases.
Rabies and Leptospirosis are especially important because we as humans can contract these diseases from our pets if they are infected. Public health is directly related to care of our pets. We have seen a dog contract Leptospirosis here at Chenoweth Animal Hospital in the last month. It can be spread via deer, raccoons, opossums and skunks.
Lyme Disease and Canine Influenza are other diseases which are prevalent these days. We vaccinate for these as well. They are diseases which are not “core vaccines” but are “lifestyle dependent”. Lyme is spread through ticks which we see a lot of here in Louisville and the surrounding areas. Canine Influenza is an emerging disease which can cause life threatening illness in dogs, especially ones that have an increased chance of exposure. That would include dogs traveling to areas where Influenza has been diagnosed, show dogs, dogs that board often and dogs that frequent dog parks.
If you have questions about vaccines or anything else please feel free to leave a comment or call us at 502-893-5533!
Banks Douglass, DVM