Vet Blog

Importance of Pet Vaccines

October 26, 2015

If you've read or seen "Cujo" or "Old Yeller," you may have thought about YOUR pet's risk of contracting rabies.

While these titles are both works of fiction, the rabies virus is not. The good news is that you can protect your pet from this and other deadly conditions. AAHA-accredited Pell City Animal Hospital in Cropwell recommends that all dogs and cats be vaccinated on a regular basis to protect them from potentially fatal diseases and viruses, including rabies. In St. Clair County, there have been 21 diagnosed cases of wildlife with rabies this year as of October 1, which makes vaccinating your pet even more important if you live near Cropwell.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is one of the most deadly viral diseases of mammals in the world, with a fatality rate of 100% if untreated. The virus infects the central nervous system, which ultimately results in brain inflammation and death. Although common in certain states more than others, rabies has been reported in all 50 states, and many state laws require that all pets be vaccinated for it.

Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal and can affect both animals and humans, making it a zoonotic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common carriers of rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. This is important to keep in mind when your pet is outdoors or while you're taking them for walks through the woods. Some of the common symptoms of rabies include aggression, fever, hypersensitivity, foaming at the mouth, paralysis, and seizures.

How Can Vaccines Protect My Pet?

Just as with human vaccines, animal vaccines safely and effectively protect against a number of serious conditions, such as rabies, by helping the immune system to fight off disease-causing organisms. Vaccines mimic the actual disease in the body with antigens, but without causing full symptoms of the illness. This exposure then stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, so if your pet is ever exposed to the REAL disease/virus, their body will be prepared to fight it off.

How Often Should My Pet Be Vaccinated?

The specific veterinary-recommended vaccines and schedules vary from pet to pet and species to species. Pell City Animal Hospital offers custom vaccination packages for pets. Please call us to discuss your pet's vaccination needs, based on lifestyle.

If you're unsure if your pet is due for an update on their vaccines, or if you have any questions about rabies or any other condition, give us a call at (205) 884-4104. Be proactive about your pet's health. Vaccinate.