If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about humans, it’s that they love to celebrate holidays. Did you know that there is a National Wiggle Your Toes Day? I love when they wiggle their toes because it means I can play with them and lick them and they make me get so excited!!!
Well August is National Immunization Awareness Month and we’re making sure to celebrate it in our house this year. NIAM raises awareness for vaccinations that help prevent serious or even fatal diseases.
Just like our people, pets need vaccinations too! We are all unique and so we should be vaccinated according to our lifestyles, rather than for each and every disease. (My lifestyle is to “please go outside – please!!”) So make sure you talk to your vet to find out what is best.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has established guidelines that veterinarians follow in establishing appropriate immunization schedules for dogs and cats. The AVMA recommends all dogs be vaccinated with the “five way” distemper vaccine as well as the rabies vaccine (which also happens to be required by law in Connecticut). Other vaccines are characterized as “non-core”, as the risk for these diseases vary depending on how a pet lives, For me, “Mr. run around outside and chase chickens”, my lifestyle dictates that not only do I get the “core” vaccinations (distemper and rabies) but also vaccinations for diseases contracted in the great outdoors (Lyme disease and Leptospirosis).
The AVMA has also established guidelines for vaccinations in cats. Many cat owners are surprised to learn that indoor cats also need to be vaccinated for rabies. Not only is it the law in Connecticut, but it’s one that makes sense if you think about it. First of all, rabies is a fatal disease that can be transmitted to people through bites and scratches. (Who scratches better than a cat?). Second, the wildlife that can transmit rabies don’t always stay outdoors (for instance, bats have been known to squeeze into homes through small cracks, and I have never met a cat that wouldn’t go after a flying object in the house!). Third, sometimes cats just get outside despite the best intentions, and Murphy’s Law dictates that a neighborhood bully will be standing by to start a fight and then………….we have an unvaccinated cat with a bite wound, state law requiring quarantine for potential rabies exposure. Believe me, that’s not something I’d wish on any cat.
Well, enough said about that. I know nobody likes needles, but I think we all understand the need to keep safe when we can. That’s why I wear a life vest when I go kayaking (I like that I never have to (doggy) paddle……..hahaha) and why I am a brave little boy when it comes time for my vaccinations. I know my mom (also my veterinarian!) is looking out for my health and best interests.