It is better to prevent than to cure. This should be the goal of every veterinarian and pet parent. Vaccinations and control of parasitic infections are an integral part of a comprehensive preventive health care program targeting to minimize the incidence of major canine and feline infectious diseases.
Vaccines are biological preparations that provide active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. Passive immunization occurs when maternal antibody is transferred by the dam or queen to the fetus via the placenta, which has a minimal effect in these species. It also occurs during initial suckling through the ingestion of colostrum and lactation, which have more significant effects. This maternal immunity is not long-lasting and there may be gaps in protection as the milk antibodies decrease and the puppy and kitten immune system is still maturing. Nonetheless, maternal immunity can still be defective as it depends on the health and immune status of the mother.
Recent debates about human vaccine safety have left many pet owners wondering whether their dogs and cats should be vaccinated. The answer is: Yes!! The widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. They protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and improve our pets’ overall welfare. No medication is without risk, but the benefits of vaccination, certainly outweigh the risk.
“Core” vaccines are recommended for most pets in a particular area or geographical location because they protect from diseases most common in that area. “Non-core” vaccinations are for individual pets with unique need. To determine whether a pet should be vaccinated against a particular disease, your veterinarian will assess his exposure risk, including: age, geography, lifestyle An incomplete series of vaccinations may lead to incomplete protection, making puppies and kittens vulnerable to infection. It is important to follow the schedule provided by your veterinarian to reduce the possibility of a gap in protection.
To sum up:
- Vaccinations are lifesaving and prevent from illness
- Can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented
- Vaccinations prevent zoonotic diseases
- Vaccination protocols can vary according to special needs
Parasites are organisms that feed on (ectoparasites) or within (endoparasites) other animals. Parasitic diseases are an important challenge to the health and welfare of companion animals, as well as the public health worldwide. We cannot completely eliminate the exposure of pets to parasites because parasites have been evolved to co-exist within their host animals over millennia. However, we can reduce the incidence and spread by applying certain endo- and ecto- parasite control programs.
Fleas and ticks are the most well-known offenders, but other common parasites include mites, lice, heartworm and a multitude of intestinal and other parasites. Parasites can be very irritating to the host and also carry pathogens with zoonotic potential for humans. Few parasite infections are strictly age-related; the risk continues as the animal ages and so consideration should be given to provide each dog and cat with appropriate worm control throughout its lifetime.
Customized parasite control programs should be created for every animal depending on their age, reproductive status, lifestyle epidemiological circumstances and certain risk assessments i.e. hunting pets, previous lungworm exposure, raw meat diets etc.
Effective control of parasitic infections relies on the application of appropriate chemotherapeutic drugs to alleviate disease and concomitantly maintain welfare, and sound hygienic measures to reduce the transmission of parasites.