The annual pet vaccination – the most relevant questions

Modern science has made it possible to prolong the life of our four-legged family members, so one of the most important ways to prevent disease is through vaccination. Vaccination has long been considered one of the easiest ways to boost an animal's immunity and help it avoid a wide range of dangerous diseases. Not only different vaccines are offered to prevent different diseases, but also different combinations of vaccines.

What is a vaccine?

The vaccine prepares the body's immune system to fight disease-causing organisms. The vaccine contains antigens that appear to the body's immune system as disease-causing organisms. Once the vaccine enters the body, it is easily stimulated, so that if the pet were actually infected, the body would already be ready to fight the pathogen. Its immune system quickly recognises the pathogen and neutralises it completely or reduces the complications of the disease, leaving the animal with a milder form of the disease.

The most important thing is to discuss with your veterinarian which vaccine or combination is the most relevant and appropriate for your pet, as well as what vaccination schedule should be followed in each case.

What are the most important questions for first-time vaccinators?

When is a small puppy/kitten vaccinated?

There are two types of vaccination schedules for small puppies: the first vaccination is given at one-and-a-half months, followed by vaccinations at two months and three months. A second vaccination schedule is available at two and three months of age. The schedule depends on the manufacturer of the vaccine, and should generally be chosen according to the health of the animal, which is best advised by your veterinarian.

Kitten vaccinations are usually given at two and three months of age.

The vaccinations are the same, but the three-month-old vaccine includes a rabies vaccine.

How do I vaccinate an animal taken from a shelter?

The first thing to do is to give deworming medication and then vaccinate ten to fourteen days later. If the animal has worms, the dosage of the medication should be repeated and the vaccination delayed, depending on the parasites the animal has; if it has ascarids, the vaccination can be delayed for up to two months, and it is always best to consult a veterinarian in each case.

When to delay/avoid vaccinations?

When the animal is sick: diarrhoea, fever, cough, is being treated for a specific disease and given antibiotics, and when it has parasites.

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are really safe, guaranteed by the manufacturer. However, the vaccination can be followed by soreness at the site of the vaccination for up to two days, swelling and a rise in body temperature. The animal may also be sluggish for up to three days and not eat. Cats may have nasal discharge, sneeze and cough. There is a small chance, but an anaphylactic reaction may occur - shock. It is then necessary to contact a vet as soon as possible, however, these cases are extremely rare.

Is it really necessary to vaccinate every year?

Yes, especially if you have small children and the animal lives in an environment where it has contact with wild animals or other dogs.

Based on scientific literature and consultation with veterinary surgeons 
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How many times a year does my pet need to be examined by a veterinarian?

The answer to taking your pet to the vet depends on the age and health of the animal.

Visit your Vet. with the puppy or a kitten

Very first visits are required for vaccinations and prevention which are required for young puppies and kittens.

During the first visit to the veterinarian should also give consultations on prevention of ticks, fleas, worms, suggest a blood test if the medical condition is causing suspicion and the animal is sluggish, has diarrhea or have another suspicious health issue.
The veterinarian also assesses how the animal is growing and developing - whether the animal's bones and muscles are developing correctly - which is particularly important for owners of large breeds. For young puppies, a check-up is necessary to prevent rickets, and the veterinarian will advise on the necessary food supplements and on the correct diet for the animal. Owners should also ask questions about the animal's behaviour, socialisation, adaptation at home and outdoors, especially if there are questions about aggression or other behavioural problems.
The first visits are important for the owner, as they can get more detailed advice on the care, nutrition and health of the pet, as well as the necessary paperwork for the pet (passports when travelling abroad, microchipping, etc.).

If your pet is from 1 to 7 years old:

In this particular age Veterinarian usually visited once in a year. Animal vaccinated, examined, generally requires a blood test. If the health condition has suspected disease, a blood test should be sufficient to evaluate the state of health of the animal. Veterinarian checks a pet passport, ticks, fleas and other parasites, mark the blood test results, vaccination marks.
Annual visits are not frequent unless the animal has health problems. In general, owners of certain breeds of pets are more likely to visit their vets for possible allergies, skin diseases, nutritional disorders, musculoskeletal problems, etc.

If your pet is more than 7 years old:

Two visits per year to the Vet. Clinics are recommended. Owners should note if they see something suspicious in the pet's behavior, health condition, for example water intake per day, urination frequency, activity, appetite or other.

Based on scientific literature and consultation with veterinary surgeons

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Current season: the tick and flea prevention

The soft and warm fur of the animal creates the perfect breeding ground for parasites. Ticks and fleas feed on blood and can cause serious health problems such as allergic reactions and skin diseases, and ticks also spread babesiosis, a very serious disease caused by protozoa. Ticks and fleas usually attack pets in the warmer months of the year, but you can find them on your pet's fur at any time of the year.

The main signs that your pet may have parasites are:

  • Dark spots on the coat;
  • Flea eggs;
  • The animal is constantly scratching and licking itself;
  • Reddened, chafed skin and skin patches;
  • Hair loss, hair loss.

Owners can easily check for parasites in the coat by looking at the neck area, the tail, the abdomen, and any spots on the coat. The ears, neck and areas around the eyes should be examined carefully.

Ticks and fleas are more dangerous for small puppies or kittens, as their low body weight can lead to anaemia due to the loss of blood that the parasites feed on. The main signs of anaemia are swollen gums and lack of energy.

Fleas often cause allergic reactions by injecting poisonous substances that often cause itching, which weakens the animal's coat and makes the skin extremely itchy, so the animal is constantly scratching itself and losing its fur. When digging, the animal can puncture the skin and introduce infection, leading to even more serious health problems.

Animals are most often infected with fleas and ticks after a walk on the grass or even brief contact with other infected animals. The female flea lays about 40-50 eggs a day, so the parasites are quickly noticed.

If fleas are found on a pet's fur, carpets and upholstered furniture must also be thoroughly cleaned, as the parasites can survive in the environment in between.

Tick prevention and hygiene

Ticks are best removed with rubber gloves and a firm grip with tweezers. If you see that you have left a tick head behind, it is best to contact your veterinarian to remove it. The most common mites that infest an animal are the deer ticks, which attack not only pets but also many mammals and humans.

The main signs that an animal has been bitten by a tick that is causing health problems:

  • Loss of Appetite;
  • Apathy, lack of energy, the pet looks sad;
  • Pain in the joints;
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

Diseases that can be caused by mites are: anemia, infection of the skin, the pet can also suffer paralysis.

Modern measures to protect your pet from ticks and fleas include various preventive shampoos, collars, drops and tablets. These products are best chosen in consultation with your veterinarian, who will advise you on the correct dosage of the product and explain the instructions for use to ensure effective prevention.

Based on scientific literature and consultation with veterinary surgeons 
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