Apart from the distress and suffering these diseases can cause your pet …
cost of a vaccine – approx. $100 per year, varies with patient species & choice of vaccine
cost of 1 week hospitalisation & intensive care with parvovirus – up to $2,000
cost of antiviral ointments and specialist treatment of eye ulcers from feline herpes virus – up to $1,000
cost of medicines to treat on-going skin, ear, eye & respiratory infections in an FIV+ cat – easily $300 per year
cost of ……
What’s more, each vaccination appointment at Summerhill Village Vet includes a full vet health check for every pet, which allows us to keep an eye out for any other issues. By providing an “excuse” to visit for a check-up each year, a vaccination could end up saving your pet’s life in more ways than one.
BUT WAIT….THERE’S MORE!
Apart from saving pets’ lives and their owners from heartache and hefty treatment bills, a vaccination certificate can open doors and make life run more smoothly for pets & owners on the go. For the protection of the animals in their care, all boarding facilities have strict policies that require proof of vaccination before animals can be booked in. Finding a spot in a good cattery or kennel can be difficult and stressful enough during a busy holiday period or if you have to go into hospital unexpectedly, without being caught out at the last minute for not meeting this requirement. Similarly, doggy day care, grooming parlours and obedience schools usually enforce a vaccination rule too. And for any pets with a bent for globetrotting wanderlust … you guessed it; flying overseas with an airline or pet transport company definitely requires a current vaccination status and Fido and Fluffy will not get far without those all-important antibodies packed safely on board. And for any proud owners with a gorgeous pooch that they’re itching to show off at a dog show, a missing vaccination could be the only thing standing between you and that elusive blue ribbon.
WHAT ABOUT INDOOR PETS?
Even for pets who live a sheltered or indoor lifestyle, vaccination is a great way to insure against the unexpected, or worst case scenarios. Despite how secure a property may appear, we hear many stories about stray animals entering peoples’ yards or houses when they are out, potentially bringing in disease. If a pet escapes and runs away, we have little control over where they might go or whom they will meet. If an unvaccinated runaway pet ends up in a shelter or a pound, they could also be vulnerable, because cat flu, kennel cough and parvovirus are often rife in these places.
Patting a neighbourhood cat or dog & then coming home to your pet can also bring home some dangerous viruses, let alone walking in dog poo on the streets.
An isolated pet who isn’t vaccinated and doesn’t meet the wild viruses when out and about doesn’t get their immunity boosted and if they have to go to the Vet because they’re sick or injured they are suddenly put into a high risk environment.
A veterinarian-issued vaccination certificate is all your pet needs as proof of that all-important immune status required by so many pet-care places. As an alternative to obtaining repeated boosters each year, pet owners can also choose to get their pet’s antibody levels, or titre measured and confirmed with a lab report. This report or letter can then be used in lieu of a vaccination certificate. Up until recently, getting a pet’s titre tested cost more than a booster shot, and also took a lot longer because vets needed to send the sample to a lab. Butthings may be about to change, as a new kit has recently been developed that will allow Aussie vets to test for titres in-house and what’s more, will deliver those results in 20 minutes. “Vaccicheck” tests will be able to test for antibodies for all viruses that the C3 vaccine protects against and may turn out to be a very handy addition for clinics and their clients.
BUT ARE VACCINATIONS SAFE?
A wide range of vaccine reactions have been observed by pet owners, but the vast majority of them are short-lived and certainly not life-threatening. Complaints such as tiredness, restlessness, sneezing, runny noses, itchy skin or an upset tummy make up the vast majority of vaccine reactions reported to the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) each year, as well as issues caused by the injection at the site such as pain, swelling, hair loss, small lumps, or abscesses. According to the APVMA, the likelihood of getting any of these signs after a vaccination is about 1 in 20,000 for cats and 1 in 30,000 for dogs, based on recent Australian data. For both species, the chance of a severe reaction is VERY RARE perhaps 1 in 100,000 could entail allergic/anaphylactic reactions, inflammation of the joints, haemolytic anaemia, fluid on the lungs or heart rhythm and blood pressure changes. The good news is that even these severe symptoms are treatable with appropriate emergency care, and are often preventable with a prophylactic (ie. a preventative treatment) such as an antihistamine prior to vaccination, in pets who are known or suspected to have allergic reactions. For this reason, it is not considered best practice to leave a pet unattended following a vaccination. In terms of the big picture, the risks are very small, and compared with the prospect of a painful death or a lifetime of constant illness from a preventable disease, the choice is not so daunting.
AND DO THEY WORK?
Since the Distemper vaccine was released in the 1960’s, cases of this disease in Australia have dwindled away, to the point where it is virtually eradicated, and most vets practicing today have never even seen a single case. Unfortunately, the war with Parvo has not been quite as successful, as this virus survives much longer in the environment than distemper virus, and spreads so quickly and effectively. One only has to compare a clinic in a low vaccination area to one in a high vaccination area, to see how effective this preventative measure truly is. Without fail, every clinic in an area where vaccinations are neglected, will deal with regular cases of this chilling disease. We are blessed and thankful at Summer Hill that it is rarely a part of our lives and would like to congratulate all of our clients for being so diligent in keeping their pets safe!
thanks to Brigitte Duffield final year Vet student in 2017 for this excellent document!