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Understanding Pet Vaccination

Vaccinations have become a controversial topic lately. However, there’s no question that vaccinations can also save your pet from common and deadly diseases, and can help your pet to live a long and happy life. As a medical procedure, vaccinations do come with risk, and Village West Veterinary takes this risk seriously. But our focus on providing the most responsible animal medical care in the Chicago metropolitan area means we will only make recommendations weighing all the benefits and risks of vaccinations for your pet:

What is a Vaccine

Vaccines are designed to help fight disease. Specifically, they prepare your immune system to defend against a variety of common infectious diseases that might be encountered. To do this, vaccines contain antigen that is “presented” in various formats to introduce your immune system in a controlled manner. The idea is to stimulate the immune system “quietly” now in preparation to respond against this antigen more vigorously if it were ever encountered naturally in the environment as part of an infectious agent. If a pet is ever exposed to the real disease the immune system should be prepared to either completely fight it off or at least lessen the seriousness.

Core Vaccines

Certain vaccines are more important to pets than others due to the relative risk of exposure and the danger of diseases. These diseases are covered under what is called core vaccines.

Presently, the following vaccines are considered to be core vaccines:  Parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies are core vaccines for dogs. For cats, panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies are core vaccines. At a young age and for cats going outside, feline leukemia vaccination is also important.

Does my pet need to be vaccinated?

Vaccines are a critical tool for keeping our beloved pets healthy and safe, however, your pet does not need every vaccination out there throughout its entire life. The best way to know if your pet needs a vaccination is a consultation with one of our veterinarians.

We, at Village West Veterinary, can create a customized vaccination protocol for your pet. Different factors such as age, lifestyle, and medical history will factor greatly into our veterinary decision-making process, but rest assured, we will do our best to limit your pet’s exposure to only what’s needed.

Vaccine Risks

While vaccines stimulate the immune systems to protect against disease, they can also result in mild or more serious symptoms.  Mild symptoms might be soreness where the vaccine was injected, and more serious symptoms might include hives, weakness or even shock. While these symptoms aren’t everyday occurrences, the more mild symptoms are still quite common. Please speak with any of our veterinarians to review the benefits versus the possible side effects of vaccines.

Call Village West Veterinary Today

For the best animal medical care in Chicago, call Village West Veterinary today. Our dedicated staff is educated and determined to keep your pet healthy. Your pet’s medical care is our passion. Call us at (773) 697 7052.