IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT VACCINATIONS
Vaccinations are essential preventive procedures to keep your animal healthy. They often are the only effective protection against viral infections. Moreover, they are not only important for your animal´s health but as they often are zoonoses (diseases that can be transferred from animal to people), it is an essential protection for you and your family. With more and more people and pets traveling, this protection has been becoming even more important.
Vaccination is, simply put, facing the immune system of the animal with a threatening invader without making the animal really sick. The body will respond to the invader by making defense cells. Next time this invader would try to invade the body, the immune system recognizes the invader and is able to eliminate it. If not vaccinated the body will not be prepared and the invader will take his chance. It is often necessary to trigger the immune system more than once to create enough defense. In nature, “vaccination” does also appear. While growing up the body will be faced with all kinds of invaders on which the immune system will react. But some viruses are so devastating that they will eventually kill the body they are in. Therefore, vaccinations against these highly dangerous diseases are necessary.
Although most vaccine producers hold on to a slightly different system the following provide a rough guide:
Dogs: 6 weeks, 9 and 12 weeks age, after that once a year
Cats: 10 and 14 weeks of age, after that once a year
Horses: 6 months, 7 months, half a year later and after that once (or twice) a year.
In relation to certain diseases, area, ages, competitions, etc. another schedule might be applied. Also watch different national regulations when taking your pet abroad!
A mistake a lot of people make is that it is not necessary to vaccinate an older animal. Especially older animals will have a less powerful immune system and will need the vaccinations even more!
Moreover, it is very important that the first immunisation was done correctly – if your animal just got vaccinated once at the start without any booster vaccination (see schemes above), the basic immunisation is not correct and therefore the annual boosters afterwards will be unlikely to protect it sufficiently.