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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Some Important Facts About Vaccinating Your Pet

Some Important Facts About Vaccinating Your Pet

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Giardia is a parasite easily spread from pets to people and back again. The organism causes no problem until a person or pet is stressed. It can cause persistent or intermittent gastrointestinal upset; a common symptom is diarrhea. The condition is difficult to treat and diagnose. Giardia can live in water and on toys, floors, decks and other surfaces. The parasite, once shed by an infected pet or person, is extremely hardy and can live in a moist environment for months. Therefore, Banfield doctors recommend vaccination, particularly in homes with infants, young people, seniors or those taking medication that could affect the immune system.

Rabies is always fatal. Rabies infection attacks the brain of infected pets and people. All warm-blooded mammals, including humans are susceptible. The disease is found worldwide, and is usually spread by raccoons, skunks, possums, foxes and bats. The disease is transmitted through saliva, with death generally occurring within 10 days of the onset of symptoms. Symptoms can appear up to six months after exposure.

For Dogs Only:

Distemper is an extremely contagious and often deadly disease. Canine Distemper is caused by a Paramyxovirus. the disease can be passed through all body excretions and carried on inanimate objects (such as bedding and toys), or it may be airborne. Most often occurring in young pets, vaccination will usually prevent the disease. Once a killer of a high percentage of puppies, the disease is seen less frequently today, primarily because the vaccines are more effective. Unfortunately, not everyone vaccinates against Distemper and clinicians believe the disease is on the rise once again.

Canine Parvovirus (Parvo) is a life-threatening disease resulting from a viral infection, which occurs most often in young dogs. The disease infects the intestines and bone marrow, and the heart muscle may also become infected. The virus is hardy and capable of surviving extreme temperature changes and exposure to many disinfectants. Parvo is easily spread from dog to dog. Often fatal, and always very expensive to treat, this disease can be prevented with a series of vaccinations.

Kennel Cough (Bordetella) is highly contagious, characterized by a persistent dry, hacking cough and nasal discharge. This disease often leads to pneumonia, and can become a chronic condition. It is spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with nasal discharge. Not surprisingly, many kennels require a current vaccination before they will board a Pet. Banfield doctors believe all pets should be vaccinated at least annually, and high-risk pets who frequent kennels, grooming parlors or dog parks should be vaccinated every six months.

Leptospirosis causes impaired kidney function and can lead to kidney failure and liver disease. It is a zoonotic disease, (passed between your pet and your family) transmitted through contact with an infected animal's urine. The Center for Disease Control reports a resurgence of the disease among people and pets. Infected pets may experience loss of appetite, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. The transmission of this disease from animal to human is well documented, which emphasizes the importance of vaccinating your pet.

Lyme disease is spreading quickly, and is found in every state except Montana. A bite from an infected tick can spread the infection to your pet. Lyme disease can be serious in people and can cause lifelong illness.

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