How You Can Benefit By Vaccinating Your Pet

Keeping your pet indoors isn't enough to protect him or her against disease. Since many of the infectious diseases pets can acquire are airborne, it's important to get your pet vaccinations that protect against major diseases. Pet vaccinations protect you and your family too. In fact, vaccinating your pet against disease offers multiple benefits.

Saves you money.

Vaccinating your dog or cat not only helps keep your pet healthy, but the vaccines are less expensive than the cost to treat the diseases. Many serious diseases for which your pet is at risk are preventable with vaccinations. Vaccines help protect your pet against canine hepatitis, leptospirosis bacteria, Lyme disease, and parvovirus infection. Some of these infections are extremely contagious and can lead to chronic disease or even the death of your pet.

Protects your health.

Vaccinating your pet reduces the risk of human infection as your pet can transmit certain infectious diseases, such as rabies and leptospirosis, to you or another member of your household. Young children or individuals who are elderly or have illnesses that lower their immune systems are at particular risk.

Although rabies in humans is rare, the virus is transmitted in saliva when an infected pet bites someone. Early symptoms in humans include fever and headache, but as the disease progresses, a person experiences more serious neurological symptoms. Death usually occurs if an individual exposed to the virus does not receive the vaccine prior to the onset of symptoms.

Humans can contract leptospirosis following exposure to a pet infected with the bacteria. Symptoms may include headache, fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, and abdominal pain. If left untreated, the disease can cause kidney damage, liver failure, meningitis, or death.

Prevents your pet from getting distemper.

Canine distemper is a viral disease that spreads quickly and affects multiple body systems, including a pet's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Your dog can get the disease by sharing food and water bowels with other pets since the virus is passed through direct contact.

Puppies are particularly susceptible to the virus, especially those born to mothers who haven't been vaccinated against the disease. The feline distemper shot for cats is a combination vaccine that protects against certain feline diseases other than distemper.

Since there is no medication to treat distemper, veterinarians generally focus on strengthening a pet's weakened immune system with antibiotics to avoid secondary infections and intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. Although the disease can be fatal, some dogs survive. Those who do often have seizure disorders caused by permanent brain and nerve damage.

Keeps you lawful.

The laws in most states require that domestic dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies, even if you keep your pet indoors most of the time. But not all states require the rabies vaccine. Even states with rabies laws may only have rabies control districts or allow for medical exemptions. Like dogs, many states require rabies vaccinations for cats.

Keeping your pet's rabies and other pet vaccinations up to date not only protects your pet's health but also protects other pets, you, and the general public from serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases that animals can transmit to other animals or humans.