Just like people, pets need vaccinations, too! One of the easiest ways to protect your pet from contracting some of the more common viruses is to vaccinate them. Just like human vaccines, pet vaccines help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms.
Always consult with your veterinarian so they can determine the appropriate vaccines for your pet and when to schedule them. To help you make a decision on the best vaccination regimen for your pet, your veterinarian will want to examine your pet first to ensure it is healthy. They may also want to know more about your pet’s lifestyle habits or their contact with other animals or whether you have plans to travel.
Some vaccines are considered vital for pets and are given based on the potential risk of exposure your pet has to the disease, the severity of the disease or the chance it has of being transmitted to humans. Pet diseases that can be transmitted to humans are called zoonotic diseases. They can be viruses, bacteria, parasites or fungi. Although humans are not likely to catch zoonotic diseases, it can happen and the best preventions are cleanliness, visits to your veterinarian, and pet vaccinations.
Although rare in California, one such zoonotic disease is rabies and it is deadly. Rabies is most commonly seen in bats and skunks in the San Diego area. Pets should be vaccinated against rabies as it is possible for them to come in contact with these animals. Since 1987, the Director of the California Department of Public Health has declared rabies a public health hazard in all 58 counties in California.
To keep your family, your pet and the community safe, consult your veterinarian as soon as you bring a new pet home to be a part of your family. This is especially important if your pet is very young or if you have no history of previous vaccinations. All dogs are required by law to be vaccinated and licensed. Your dog’s license is proof that it has been vaccinated against rabies. Your veterinarian may also recommend your cat be vaccinated as well.
The County Department of Animal Services provides rabies vaccinations, licensing and micro-chipping clinics at each of its three animal shelters every Thursday from 1-3 pm.
View www.sddac.com for more information.
Article submitted by Lauren A. Joniaux, Deputy Director, County of San Diego, Department of Animal Services