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Vaccinations - Why we do it

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So, it's that time of year again when your vet is sending you reminders to revaccinate your pet; you feel like it was just yesterday that you were there updating their vaccinations from the year before! You just KNOW you're going to get clawed to pieces trying to get the darn cat into her travel box... and that's only IF you can catch the furry beast in the first place! And your dog? Well, you just KNOW he's going to slobber all over the seats of your lovely new car.

You ask yourself, why bother? Is this really worth the hassle? And the answer is YES!

We vaccinate dogs and cats to provide protection against illnesses that are often life-threatening and which are preventable with the correct immunization. For puppies and kittens, it's very important they are vaccinated at the correct age and at the correct subsequent intervals or they may not actually be protected against diseases, even though you think they are. In the UAE, vets often see imported pets that have been vaccinated too young, as well as not having had booster vaccines done at the correct time - these young animals are often sold for a great deal of money but are, in fact, at risk of contracting fatal illness, and sadly frequently do. If you have purchased a young cat or dog, it is really important to have their vaccination history checked out by your vet.

Kittens and puppies should receive a series of vaccinations at 3-4 week intervals in order to ensure they develop a protective immune response of their own. They do enjoy protection through antibodies derived from their mother's milk in their first weeks of life but this protection disappears from 6-8 weeks of age in puppies and 9 weeks of age in kittens. This is the time when the vaccination process should be started. Once the primary kitten or puppy vaccination course has been completed, booster vaccines are then recommended at yearly intervals.

Here are some interesting facts about vaccinations:

  1. The Dubai Municipality requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies annually and this has to be shown, along with your pet's microchip number, before the compulsory yearly Dubai Municipality tag can be issued.
  2. If your dog is going into kennels or daycare, remember it is more than likely that an extra vaccination will also be required to protect against canine cough.
  3. Side effects? These are usually uncommon but may include fever, lethargy and injection site swelling. Anaphylaxis as a result of vaccinations is thankfully rare, but can be life-threatening. Always inform your vet if your pet has a history of such problems.
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