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We all want the best for our pet but the ongoing debate surrounding vaccines leaves many of us feeling confused. Are you unsure if vaccination is right for your pet? Don’t worry! This small guide will help you make an informed decision.

Legal requirements If transmitted to humans, rabies can be a serious and even deadly disease. For this reason, you’re legally required to vaccinate your pet against rabies. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with a vaccination schedule for your dog/cat, which will be determined by regulations in your area. Diseases your pet may be at risk of Vaccines can be divided into two categories: core and non-core. Although optional, core vaccines protect pets against serious, fatal and widespread diseases. These include: canine and feline distemper, canine parvovirus and hepatitis. Non-core vaccines are also optional but they’re more likely to be given to pets whose lifestyle or background put them at risk. For example:

  • Dogs that play in grassy, wooded areas may have the Lyme vaccination to protect them against potential tick bites.

  • Dogs that visit kennels are often vaccinated against bordetella. Dogs can get this on the street or in the park but since there’s a much higher concentration of dogs in kennels, the risk of catching bortadella is elevated.

  • Pets with a family history of leukemia may benefit from being vaccinated.

Side effects More often than not, pets only experience relatively mild reactions to vaccines, including:

  • Weariness

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Pain at the site of injection

  • Facial swelling indicating an allergic reaction

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Although rare, the following severe reactions to vaccines are possible:

  • Pets may become more at risk of getting certain types of cancer if vaccinated at a young age.

  • Allergic and autoimmune diseases caused by vaccines are possible but uncommon.

  • Although extremely rare, pets can have seizures and experience difficulty breathing.

Although nobody wants their kitty or puppy to suffer with these side effects, we have to remember that vaccination is there to protect them against diseases that are far more serious and life-threatening. Let’s not forget that some non-core vaccines can be avoided. If vaccination isn’t for you, alternative medicine, like homeopathic nosode vaccination, is a second option. You can also feed your pet with natural food containing immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals to help them fight off nasty diseases. Toronto’s animal vaccination veterinarians Our veterinarians at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital in Toronto are here to help you and your pet stay healthy - whether you agree with vaccination or not. If you’d like to find out more about pet and vaccination, please contact us at our Toronto clinic.

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