Bringing a new puppy or kitten into the home is a very exciting time for the whole family. We love their energy and playfulness, and of course they are too cute for us to resist their charms. Imagine the heartache when they get sick!

Unfortunately young animals are at risk of contracting diseases easily due to their immature immune systems. Diseases such as Parvovirus infection in puppies and snuffles in kittens can be fatal.

In order to give them the best chance of resisting infectious diseases we need to have them vaccinated according to accepted protocols.

Vaccination is the administration of small amounts of material from viruses and bacteria in order to stimulate the body to produce an immunity to the disease which they cause. A vaccine may contain live or inactivated organisms, depending on safety and how effectively they stimulate the immune system.

It is vitally important that vaccines are stored and handled with care, have not expired, and are administered correctly. They need to be kept within a certain temperature range, and will be rendered inactive if stored at temperatures too high or too low. Unfortunately too many pets have contracted diseases due to the ineffective administration of inactive vaccines by unqualified people. Be aware that it is illegal for any person who is not a registered veterinarian, or veterinary nurse under veterinary supervision, to administer a vaccine for a fee.

Make sure that your puppy or kitten has been vaccinated by a qualified veterinarian, who will ensure that he or she is healthy enough to be vaccinated and will administer the correct vaccine combination at the correct time. Each member of the litter should be examined for congenital defects such as heart problems, as well as other signs of disease,
at the time of first vaccination. This will ensure that breeders are able to give new owners the assurance that they are getting a healthy new baby.

A young animal must have a course of several vaccinations before they are considered protected. Occasionally even a fully vaccinated puppy or kitten may become infected with a disease against which they have been vaccinated – this is because certain pets’ immune systems may not respond as well as others. In these cases, the effects of disease are
usually far less severe than those in an unvaccinated patient.

Adult pets should be vaccinated yearly and given a clinical examination at the same time. There are also legal requirements governing rabies vaccination, so be sure to maintain the correct vaccination status.

Let’s keep them healthy and lively by acknowledging the responsibility that comes with puppies and kittens. TAH will be promoting vaccination during December and January
– look out for more information.

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