How Vaccines Help Prevent Disease in Pets

Published on May 22, 2020 by Kyle Shelstad

A pug receives vaccines from vet techs at a clinic

Being a vet tech means you have the opportunity to care for a variety of animal species. This also includes providing vaccines for pets to keep them safe. Most states require that vet techs graduate from an accredited vet tech school and also pass the VTNE.

What Are Animal Vaccines?

To begin, vaccines protect the immune system and aids to fight disease. Additionally, vaccinations stimulates the immune system, which results in antibodies. These identify organisms that cause disease and also help it to fight off these diseases.

In other words, the immune system “remembers” the disease that the animal is vaccinated against. Vaccination may also provide immunity for multiple diseases.

Who Administers an Animal’s Vaccines?

Furthermore, most states have regulations and laws about procedures a vet tech may perform. Because of this, whether a vet tech may administer them depends on the state that the vet tech works in.

In states where a licensed vet tech administers rabies shots, the vet will handles the rabies vaccination. However, the veterinarian allows a vet tech to administer the other vaccines. Most states require a veterinarian to administer a rabies vaccine to an animal, while others don’t.

What are Common Vaccines for Different Animals?

There are two types of vaccines in veterinary medicine. Core vaccinations are recommended for animals when the medical history is unknown. In contrast, non-core vaccines are optional. As a result, these doses are given and depends on the risk to an animal.

For example, vaccines administered to dogs annually follow a regular schedule. However, this ultimately depends on the recommendations of your veterinarian.

Core vaccinations for dogs and puppies include:

Non-core vaccinations include:

Vaccines for Cats

Furthermore, there are specific shots that cats require to stay healthy. When a vet tech does not know the pet’s medical history, core vaccines can help. In contrast, non-core vaccinations are often optional.

Core vaccinations for cats and kittens include:

Non-core vaccines include:

When Does My Cat Need Vaccines?

For instance, veterinarians recommend beginning vaccinations on puppies and kittens given three to four weeks apart. Later, the final vaccines are given at about four months of age. The reason for this is because it takes time for the cat’s immune system to mature.

Furthermore, a veterinarian generally recommends that cats have the core vaccinations annually. The vaccine schedule depends on lifestyle factors, age, and more.

Equine Vaccines

Most veterinarians recommend annual vaccines for horses. If your horse travels internationally, regulations may vary in the countries you visit.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners lists its core vaccines for horses as:

Risk-Based Equine Vaccinations

Furthermore, a risk-based vaccine is one that is deemed to be beneficial for a horse’s health and well-being based on risk factors.

Some of the factors that may determine whether a horse needs some of the risk-based vaccinations are:
  1. Location of the horse’s stable
  2. Open or closed herds
  3. Regional diseases
  4. Risks based on local situations

Above all, a horse owner needs to consider the area they live in and the lifestyle of their horses. A horse that shows, competes, or travels faces different risks than sedentary horses.

Additional Equine Vaccination Considerations

Additionally, local insects and the climate affects a horse’s vaccinations. Because of this, the vet sets up a regimen based on the horse’s needs.

Vaccines for Livestock

Domestic pets aren’t the only animals that need vaccines. Livestock should also be protected against disease. For this reason, it is important to consider the different needs of livestock. Here are some guidelines on the vaccines for common livestock.

Breeding Considerations

A bull or cow typically receives vaccinations six weeks before the animal breeds. Killed vaccine products should be used on pregnant cows in order to reduce the risk of abortion.

Annual vaccines adult cattle receive are:
  1. Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR)
  2. Bovine Virus Diarrhea (BVD)
  3. Parainfluenza3 (PI3)
  4. Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus vaccine (BRSV)
  5. Leptospirosis (5-way)
Calves up to four months old need the following vaccinations:
  1. Anaplasmosis
  2. Anthrax
  3. Blackleg 7-Way
  4. Haemophilus Somnus
  5. IBR-BVD-Pi3 (Bovine Rhinotracheitis-Virus Diarrhea-Parainfluenza 3)
  6. Leptospirosis
  7. Pasteurella
  8. Pinkeye

This schedule for cattle vaccinations should be strictly followed to prevent disease and keep the herd healthy.

Vaccines for Sheep

Additionally, sheep also receive vaccines to stay healthy. Vaccinations should be given according to their age and the purpose of raising them. Two diseases that sheep also need protection form against regularly are overeating disease and tetanus.

Vaccines for Lambs

First, a lamb in a herd requires shots a few days after they’re born. This is because they may be susceptible to overeating disease. This is the leading cause of death in lambs. Later, after lambs are being weaned, they should get a second CD-T vaccine. Vaccinations against footrot can also be beneficial for sheep that live in rainy areas. Contagious ecthyma also spreads from an ewe to lambs in her milk.

Vaccines for Pigs

Once a young pig weans from its mother, they should receive vaccinations. Most commonly, vaccines include mircovirus and mycoplasma. However, some owners prefer to vaccinate young pigs after they’re weaned. An influenza vaccine should be administered at seven or eight weeks with a booster up to a month after.

Additionally, sows need a regular regimen of vaccinations. Because of this, a sow needs protection against leptospirosis, erysipelas and parvo. Influenza vaccinations can be administered once or twice a year.

What Are the Benefits of Vaccines?

A vaccine provides animals with immunity against certain types of diseases, so the effects aren’t as severe. Some vaccinations prevent disease entirely. Veterinary medicine experts have stated that the herd immunity due to vaccines within the last century prevents millions of diseases and deaths.

Because of this, vaccinations are one of the most effective ways veterinarians have to prevent animal diseases. They also provide the best long-term solution for new strains of a disease that may affect animals in the future.

Vaccines Protect Animal Goods

Furthermore, companion animals and farm animals are protected from infectious diseases due to vaccinations. This also ensures that dairy and meat products are free of disease. As a result, animal vaccinations protect animals and humans in developing countries.

Vaccines Protect Animals From Pain

Additionally, vaccines can protect animals from infectious diseases and suffering. Annual vaccinations can also stimulate an animal’s immune system. For this reason, animal vaccines are developed in accordance with the same safety standards and guidelines as those for humans.

Vaccines Help Against Auto-Immune Diseases

Most importantly, vaccine researchers are beginning to address the potential of vaccinations against several types of protein-based diseases. For example these include allergies, cancer, and auto-immune diseases.

Prevention and Good Health

Vaccinations also play a significant role in protecting animals from disease. The development of rabies vaccinations for animals has virtually eliminated Rabies in humans.

Due to the latest technology, several vaccines that have been licensed for use in animals are:
  1. Chimeric
  2. DNA
  3. Gene-deleted marker
  4. Recombinant modified live virus
  5. Virus-like particle

Reasons to Have Pets Vaccinated

  1. Vaccines can prevent pets from getting several serious diseases.
  2. Vaccines may prevent expensive veterinary costs for diseases that are preventable.
  3. Vaccines can prevent diseases passing from animals to humans and other animals.
  4. Diseases that wildlife species may develop spread to domestic pets.
  5. Local and state laws may require that domestic pets are vaccinated.

How Vaccines Work

The development of an animal vaccine involves many steps. For example, this includes finding weaknesses in organisms, vaccine delivery, and vaccine efficiency. An animal vaccine stimulates the immune system of the animal and produces antibodies to fight off the disease.

The Future of Vaccines

Furthermore, one of the goals of vaccine researchers is to develop universal vaccines. To clarify, this means the vaccines can fight off existing strains of disease and protect against emerging strains.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about animal vaccines interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

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