Animal Vaccines

Your 4-legged family member is in good hands at Companion Animal Hospital of Washingtonville/Blooming Grove. We take the time to explain various vaccines to you, as well as the importance of annual care. Contact us today for more information on the importance of animal vaccines.

All About Animal Vaccines

How do vaccines protect my pet?
The immune system plays a vital role in maintaining your animal's health. Vaccines help prepare your animal's immune system to fend off invasion by a particular disease-causing organism. Vaccines contain antigens, which to the immune system "look" like the organism but don't, ideally, cause disease. When a vaccine is administered, the immune system mounts a protective response.

If your animal is subsequently exposed to the disease-causing organism, its immune system is prepared either to prevent infection or reduce the severity of disease. Vaccines do not induce complete 100% protection from the disease, nor do they induce the same degree of protection in all animals.  

Is annual vaccination necessary?
Vaccines last for different periods of time; some are designed to provide protection for 1 year, some for 2 or 3 years. It is important to know what type of animal vaccine was previously used. If owners are particularly worried about reactions, they may opt to have blood drawn to determine the levels of protection their pet has against various diseases. If they have adequate levels of protection, it is not necessary to vaccinate that particular year. These tests should be done on an annual basis.

Are animal vaccines dangerous? What reaction may I expect to see?
Unfortunately, a perfect, risk-free vaccine does not exist. As with any medical procedure, there is a small chance that reactions may develop as a result of animal vaccinations. Reactions may be mild or serious (including fatal). The following reactions are fairly common and usually within hours after vaccinations, lasting no longer than a few days:

Discomfort at the site where the vaccine was given, mild fever, loss of appetite and activity, sneezing, temporary sore joints and lameness, development of a small, firm, and painless swelling under the skin at the administration site. Anaphylactic reactions may occur; as a result your pet may develop hives, swollen jowls, vomiting, diarrhea, or have difficulty breathing. These symptoms require immediate treatment. Another serious reaction would be a tumor called a sarcoma developing at the vaccine site several weeks, months, or longer after vaccination. This reaction occurs very rarely.

What should I do if I think my animal is having a reaction to a vaccine?
By all means, consult Companion Animal Hospital. Your veterinarian is the person most qualified to advise you if side effects do occur to animal vaccines. At home, you may give Benadryl at a dose of 1 mg/pound every 12 hours for 1 to 2 days as needed. More severe cases may require administration of cortisone, epinephrine, or hospitalization. This can only be determined after examination. If we are unavailable to accommodate you, please call the nearest emergency facility.

Make sure your pet receives the annual care necessary for a long and healthy life by visiting our Washingtonville, New York animal hospital today for complete animal vaccines.

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