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At Como Park Animal Hospital, we believe that vaccinations (aka - immunizations, innoculations or "shots") are an important part of a pet's lifelong healthcare plan. We follow the guidelines for lifelong healthcare of AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) when we make recommendations for vaccinations, but not every vaccination is right for every pet, so we work with you to determine the best timing and options of vaccinations to help your pet avoid dangerous and potentially life-threatening diseases, and to help them live a longer, happier, healthier life.
Vaccines are biological preparations that are introduced into the body (generally by injection) that trigger an immune system's response to specific disease(s). To a living body's defense mechanism, vaccines appear to be the actual disease. They activate the immune system and stimulate the body's response to fight off the disease if later exposed. The body becomes better equipped to fight off the disease entirely or at least limit the severity of the illness.
Vaccinations are important to keep your pets healthy, but they have additional benefits, too. Vaccines protect other animals your pet may come in contact with, and some of them even protect you from diseases you could catch from your pet. It is important to also note that no vaccinations are given to new puppies and kittens until they are old enough. Some can be given as early as 6 weeks, but others are not given until 12-16 weeks of age. That leaves a period of vulnerability when exposure to unvaccinated animals could be dangerous or even lethal. And even indoor animals should be vaccinated. Many pathogens are airborne and can get to your pet even while inside the home.
Recommended vaccinations are divided into core and lifestyle dependent vaccines. Core vaccines are considered essential for all pets. Your Como Park Animal Hospital veterinarian can best determine which lifestyle dependent vaccinations are appropriate for your pet depending on his or her individual exposure risks. Our clinic offers vaccinations for cats and dogs (as well as ferrets!). While all vaccines present some small levels of risk, the potential dangers are far greater for unvaccinated animals.