One of the most important things you can do to make sure your pet lives a long and healthy life is to ensure that it is vaccinated against common diseases. Infectious diseases are always out there. Although we seem to have certain diseases well managed, we shouldn’t forget that it is often vaccination that keeps them under control.

In the first few weeks of life, your puppy or kitten gets all of its disease-fighting antibodies from their mother’s milk. However, following that period, you take control — with the help and advice of your veterinarian — to provide protection for your pet. When administered, vaccines safely stimulate your pet’s immune system to produce disease-fighting cells, memory cells, and proteins (antibodies) to protect against disease.

Most veterinarians believe that your pet should be protected against the diseases which are considered common, highly contagious, and/or which cause serious illness. Other vaccinations may be recommended, based on your veterinarian’s evaluation of the risks posed by such factors as your pet’s particular heredity, environment, and lifestyle.

It is important to remember that disease risks may come from many sources: other pets, wildlife, parasites such as ticks, and contaminated environments. Your veterinary team will discuss all of these risk factors during the annual physical examination and assess your pet’s specific vaccine requirements.

Vaccination is your pet’s best defense against disease. When you consider the costs of treating a serious illness and your beloved pet in terms of both money and distress, prevention through vaccination is the best option.

Be sure to schedule an examination for your pet with your veterinary team regularly to assess their health and determine which vaccines will be essential to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy life.