THE IMPORTANCE OF VACCINATIONS

The past 2 years of a global pandemic has highlighted the importance of preventive care, hygiene and vaccinations in keeping people safe and alive. The death rate from covid has dropped significantly since the global vaccination drive. Good hygiene and social distancing have also played a huge part. But the death rate from covid is actually quite low; imagine a situation where catching a disease is most likely a death-sentence.

In animal shelter conditions and for free-roaming animals the situation is very different. Overcrowding and diminished hygiene standards are part of everyday life and animals cannot wear face masks and keep their distance from other animals. Our pets rely completely on vaccinations to keep them safe and healthy.  The three most common vaccinations for dogs, parvo, distemper and rabies are all for lethal diseases that quite often cannot be cured once contracted. For cats, panleukopenia and rabies are equally deadly.

Distemper is a serious viral disease that starts with general malaise but eventually attacks your dog’s central nervous system causing seizures and paralysis, which often leads to death. Parvovirus causes a severe intestinal disease, and while it is often not dangerous for adult dogs, most young puppies will die once infected. Panleukopenia is a similar disease for cats, with an extremely high death rate in kittens. Rabies has a nearly 100% death rate for all mammals, including dogs, cats and humans, and vaccinations are of the utmost importance in the control of this disease.

By vaccinating your pet, you are not only protecting your pet from catching a deadly disease, you are also protecting other animals around you from catching the disease from your animal by lessening the spread of disease.  And in the case of rabies, you are also protecting yourself and your family.  Animal shelters and welfare organisations work hard on vaccination campaigns and population control to safeguard our animals and our own health. But as with covid, any disease control programme is only as strong as its weakest link, so we must all work together to protect ourselves and our animals from deadly diseases.

Article by: Dr. Laura Wessman

KSPCA Volunteer

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