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A Detailed Breakdown Of What You Need To Know About Pet Vaccinations



Pets are cherished members of our families, bringing joy, companionship, and unconditional love into our lives. Just like us, they also need protection against various diseases to lead healthy and happy lives. Vaccination is a crucial aspect of pet care, but it's often surrounded by questions and misconceptions.


They act as a shield, protecting your pets from potentially life-threatening diseases. But with the yearly vet visits, some pet owners might wonder: is the cost of vaccinations worth it in the long run?

 

In this guide, we'll break down everything you need to know about pet vaccinations. From why you should vaccinate your pets, to what they're being protected against, let us dive right in and help you navigate this crucial part of pet care. 


Vaccination Cost vs. Veterinary Bills



While the annual cost of vaccinations might initially seem like just another expense, it's significantly lower than the potential financial and emotional costs of treating a pet with a preventable disease.


Distributing the cost of vaccinations across a pet's average lifespan of 10-15 years makes this expense far more manageable. For instance, if a basic annual vaccination package is $150, over 15 years, the total comes to $2250. This amount is minimal compared to the potential costs of treating a serious illness that could be prevented from being vaccinated, which can quickly escalate to $8000-$15000 for stabilisation alone.


Moreover, the diseases that vaccines protect against can be life threatening, especially if stabilisation by a veterinarian is not done in time.


Understanding the diseases vaccinations can protect your pet from



Vaccines work by exposing your pet to a weakened or inactive form of a virus or bacteria. This triggers their immune system to develop antibodies, essentially teaching their body to fight off the real disease if encountered. Here's a closer look at some common illnesses prevented by vaccinations:


  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) : This highly contagious and often fatal virus attacks a dog's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. It can be contracted through contact with infected respiratory secretions (like a cough/sneeze from aerosol droplets) or bodily fluids. Distemper is most prevalent in areas with high populations of unvaccinated dogs, like shelters and kennels. CDV is still prevalent worldwide, especially in rural or areas with a low vaccination rate.

  • Canine Parvovirus: Another highly contagious virus, parvovirus targets a dog's intestinal tract, causing severe vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration. Pups and unvaccinated dogs are at highest risk, and the virus can survive in the environment for months, making it easily transmissible. 

    • Canine parvovirus is contracted mainly via contaminated faeces onto the environment/objects/people. this includes common places where dogs are present (eg. dog park, grass patches)

    • The current vaccine provides protection against a known variant that has been reported in clinics/hospitals locally.

    • Smuggled dogs in Singapore with unknown vaccine status pose a higher risk.

  • Feline Panleukopenia virus (Feline Distemper): This highly contagious and potentially fatal virus affects a cat's white blood cells, making them susceptible to secondary infections. It spreads through contact with infected feces, vomit, or bodily fluids. Kittens and unvaccinated cats are most at risk.

    • Feline panleukopenia virus is contracted from all body secretions of infected cats

    • The virus can survive up to 1 year at room temperature

    • Cats encountering unvaccinated cats (eg. wandering outdoors, boarding facilities with no vaccination requirements, smuggled cats) are at an increased risk.


These are just a few examples, and the recommended vaccinations for your pet may vary depending on their species and lifestyle.


Titer Tests: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?



Some pet owners opt for titer tests to determine if their pet still has immunity from past vaccinations. A titer test measures the level of antibodies present in the bloodstream. However, there are important considerations:


  • Not all diseases have reliable titer tests available.

  • Even a positive titer result might not guarantee adequate protection.

  • If a titer test shows insufficient immunity, vaccination is still necessary. This can increase the total cost. (As a titre test is pricier than the vaccine itself)


In essence, while titer testing can offer valuable insights into a pet's immune status, it is not a direct replacement for vaccination. Both approaches play complementary roles in pet healthcare, with vaccination serving as the primary method of disease prevention and titer testing serving as a supplementary tool for assessing immunity and guiding vaccination decisions.


Consulting your veterinarian is crucial to determine if a titer test is appropriate for your pet and the specific disease in question.


Tailoring Vaccination Needs



Not every pet requires the same vaccination protocol. Here's a breakdown:


  • High-Risk Pets: Pets who spend time outdoors, go to dog parks, boarding facilities, or groomers are at a higher risk of exposure to contagious diseases and should be kept up-to-date on their vaccinations.

  • Low-Risk Pets: Indoor cats or dogs who have minimal contact with other animals may be considered lower risk. However, It is crucial to understand that there are viruses that can survive and stay active for a long time on surfaces. Transmission of infected material (saliva, faeces) from contaminated surfaces by owners to their pets is possible when entering the homes. It is difficult to fully eliminate the risks completely.


Therefore, indoor pets that have lesser exposure to other animals may not need the same selection of vaccines as outdoor or social pets. However, even indoor pets can be at risk if they encounter wildlife or if there's a chance they could escape outdoors. Consulting with a veterinarian is crucial to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule based on your pet's lifestyle and risk factors.


Identifying High-Risk Pets



Certain pets are at a higher risk of contracting specific diseases based on factors such as age, breed, geographical location, and lifestyle.


For example, puppies and kittens are more susceptible to diseases like parvovirus and feline panleukopenia virus, while older pets may be at higher risk for diseases like kennel cough (canine influenza etc.) which mainly spreads from infected dogs to other dogs (or cats) through respiratory droplets.(e.g. as when dogs lick or nuzzle each other, coughing, sneezing, and barking, contaminated objects like feeding and drinking utensils, toys, kennel surfaces, or clothing). 


However, this does not mean that they are immune to the disease beyond a certain age. As long as they are unvaccinated, they are still able to contract the disease, and display symptoms compromising their health. Breeds with predispositions to certain conditions, such as heartworm disease in dogs, may also require additional protection through vaccination to prevent further complications.


In conclusion, vaccination is a vital component of responsible pet ownership, offering protection against potentially life-threatening diseases. While the commitment to annual vaccinations may seem daunting, it is a small price to pay compared to the potential consequences of such diseases. For pet owners concerned about the stress of veterinary visits, at-home vaccination services are becoming increasingly available, providing convenience without compromising your pet's health.



Here at Pawkit, we offer housecall core vaccination for your pets at $150 (inclusive of the vaccine and general health check.) Additional pets are only an additional $40/pet. During the house visit, our vet will be able to attend to you and your pet/s in a personalised setting. To find out more: please click here

 

By staying proactive with vaccinations and working closely with your veterinarian to tailor a vaccination plan to your pet's specific needs, you are ensuring they can live their best, healthiest lives by your side for years to come.


For more pet care tips and guides, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Pawkit connects Singapore pet owners to a variety of pet-related resources and services. Get everything you need in one place, from the latest pet care tips to your pet’s details and medical history, as well as a directory of on-demand pet services in your area, such as veterinarians, groomers, and daycare.




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