Does My Pet Need Vaccinations Every Year?

1. What are vaccines?

Vaccines are designed to protect pets and people from disease.

They work by triggering a protective immune response in pets to help them fight against disease causing agents in the future.

Vaccines can lessen the severity of disease if your pet gets sick and sometimes it can even prevent infection.
Fact #1
Early forms of vaccination
were developed in China
as early as 200B.C.

Some vaccines are given by needle while others are giving through the nose or skin.

The vaccines can either be a live but weakened form or a killed form of the pathogen or parts of the pathogen.

But in general, it is the process of artificial induction of immunity to try and protect against infectious disease. It basically primes the immune system.

2. Why is it important to vaccinate?

Vaccines are considered the MOST effective and cost-effective method of preventing infectious disease.

From smallpox, measles, mumps, and rabies, vaccines play a HUGE role in our everyday life without us realizing it.

Vaccines have saved the lives of MILLIONS of people and pets over the last 100 years.

By vaccinating your pet for rabies you are protecting your family as well.

3. Will vaccination keep my pet from getting sick?

NO, but it will decrease the probability of your pet getting sick.

Sometimes pets do NOT develop adequate immunity from a vaccination, but most pets, when appropriately vaccinated are able to fight off disease.

So they are vital as a preventative health program.

4. What are the risks of getting my pet vaccinated?

Most side effects if any are mild, like fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite for a day or two.

There may also be temporary pain and swelling of the injection site.

If any of these persist longer than two days see your vet.

Rarely more serious problems occur like allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing. Sometimes even death.

5. Why do puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations?

Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations because of their immature immune system.

Initially, maternal antibodies which are in the mother's milk will protect them, but these do not last long.

Vaccines cover the bridge between mother's antibodies and when their immune system is capable of working on its own.

6. What vaccinations should my pet receive?

There is no one answer to this question.

While many organizations publish their recommended vaccination guidelines, it should be tailored to the age of the pet and in what region of the country or world you live in.

An animal that only stays indoors should be vaccinated differently than a pet that goes out in the woods.

All pets should NOT be given the same vaccines, or even the same vaccines on the same time interval.

7. Does my pet need to be vaccinated every year?


For a long time pets were vaccinated every year, which was way to much for most vaccines, but not enough for some.

Now there is evidence the many vaccines last much longer, but their is also evidence that a few vaccines do not last a whole year.

One way around this problem is by determining the titer levels.

8. What are antibody titers and how do they replace vaccinations?

Antibody titers are blood tests that measure how many antibodies your pet has.

Titers above a certain level are considered to be "protective" of disease.

Your vet can then make determinations on whether your pet should be re-vaccinated or not.

9. Summary

In terms of pet expenses, vaccinating your pet is one of the most cost-effective things you can do.

Yearly vaccinations are no longer needed for most vaccines, but the best way to determine this is on an individual basis using antibody titers since no two animals react the same way to a vaccine.

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