When breastfeeding, animals receive antibodies from their mother’s milk. Once the lactation period ends, animals are more at risk for disease because their immune systems no longer receive as much help as they once did. As part of our preventive animal care, vaccinating animals can help protect them from diseases that could threaten their lives.
In most cases, routine animal vaccines begin as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age and continue regularly into adulthood. Sometimes the contents of several vaccines are combined in a single syringe to avoid having to give the animal too many injections. After vaccination, most young animals develop antibodies within 5 days and are fully protected within 14 days. Some vaccines are given in multiple doses (over a short period). Animals that have been vaccinated have an advantage over those that have not been vaccinated. When a disease is detected, the immune system of the vaccinated animal responds quickly and limits the severity of the disease, or prevents it completely.
It is important to stress that vaccines are preventive and not curative. They prevent disease but cannot cure an animal already suffering from a disease.
Basic and optional vaccines
Some vaccines are useful for all pets, and others are only recommended under certain circumstances. Baseline vaccines are usually recommended for all animals, and optional vaccines are given only to animals susceptible to a specific disease, location, and lifestyle of the animal. The animal is vaccinated based on the risk of exposure to the disease, and the veterinarian speaks with the owner to determine the appropriate options.