You do everything you can to help ensure your four-legged friend’s happiness and health. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is by ensuring your pet’s vaccinations are kept up-to-date. Pet vaccinations are categorized as core and non-core. All cats and dogs should receive core (e.g., rabies) vaccinations. In addition, our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa veterinarians recommend non-core vaccinations based on a pet’s lifestyle and exposure risk to infectious diseases such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. Learn five reasons why you should ensure your pet regularly attends their vaccination appointments.

#1: Vaccinating your pet protects them from deadly diseases

Vaccines are essential for protecting your pet from potentially deadly infectious diseases. Despite aggressive treatment, rabies, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, feline panleukopenia, and feline leukemia are serious diseases that can cause your pet’s health to decline rapidly, resulting in death. In addition, although your pet may survive treatment, they can have lifelong health problems that require ongoing veterinary management to keep them comfortable. For example, puppies who contract distemper can suffer from lifelong muscle spasms, depression, incoordination, seizures, or paralysis.

#2: Vaccinating your pet prevents the spread of infectious diseases

Having your pet vaccinated not only helps defend them against disease, but also helps prevent disease spread to other pets, animals, and people. Some diseases, such as rabies, are zoonotic (i.e., transmitted from animals to people). In addition, disease can spread like wildfire through unvaccinated pet populations housed in close quarters. For example, kittens housed in an animal shelter can be wiped out by a panleukopenia outbreak, while dogs playing together at a doggy daycare may contract kennel cough if one of their playmates has not been vaccinated. Keep in mind that although your pet is vaccinated, they may still contract a disease, however the condition will likely be much less severe than if they were unprotected.

#3: Vaccinating your pet is required by law

While having your pet vaccinated with all their specie’s core vaccinations is ideal, the only one required by law is the rabies vaccination. By the time they are 4 months of age, all pets in the State of Texas must be vaccinated for rabies, and at appropriate intervals thereafter. If you fail to have your pet vaccinated for rabies, you have committed a Class C misdemeanor. If you have been previously convicted of a Class C misdemeanor because of a lapsed rabies vaccination, your charge will be bumped up to a Class B misdemeanor.

#4: Vaccinating your pet offers peace of mind

If your territorial dog observes a rabid raccoon rifling through your trash can in broad daylight and the two animals get into a scuffle, the racoon may bite your dog. If your dog’s vaccinations are not up-to-date, they are at risk for contracting rabies and being infected with the distemper virus and leptospirosis—a bacterial zoonotic disease that can cause kidney and liver failure. However, by ensuring your dog is appropriately vaccinated on schedule for these diseases, you can take comfort in the knowledge that your four-legged friend is protected from developing these deadly infectious illnesses.

#5: Vaccinating your pet saves you money

Vaccination can help save your pet’s life, and can also save you a substantial amount of money. Weigh the cost of routine preventive care against your pet’s hospitalization bill for a serious disease. For example, vaccinating your puppy against parvovirus—which typically comes as a combination vaccine that protects against additional diseases—costs less than a tank of gas. However, treating your puppy for parvovirus can cost thousands of dollars. Treatment can include a lengthy hospital stay, blood transfusions, intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics, antiemetic medications, and much more. Occasionally, despite aggressive, costly treatment, an affected puppy may still die from a disease that is entirely preventable through vaccination.

Fortunately, vaccination and preventive care costs stay relatively similar from year to year, making budgeting for them easy. By putting money aside for your pet’s annual vaccinations and wellness exam, you can afford to help prevent them from contracting serious infectious diseases at minimal cost.

Regular vaccinations are an essential part of your pet’s veterinary care and are crucial for helping your four-legged friend avoid infectious diseases. To ensure your pet stays up-to-date on their lifesaving vaccinations, schedule their wellness appointment with our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team.