Failure To Vaccinate: What Will Happen If Your Pet Doesn't Get All Their Recommended Shots?

You might be very busy, somewhat absent minded or even behind on your bills, which are all excuses you could use for not having your pet vaccinated. Although you might think this is acceptable and that your new cat or dog can wait until you get around to bringing them in for the shots, the situation is actually more urgent. Failure to have an animal vaccinated can result in a number of negative consequences you'd much prefer to avoid.

Schedule Of Vaccinations For Dogs And Cats

Within the first year of life, your new pet will likely make quite a few trips to the vet. You may need to have them checked for worms, fleas and other pests, depending on where you obtained the animal. Also, if you plan on having your new pet spayed or neutered, which is highly recommended by vets, along with those who operate pet shelters, who house and care for approximately 6.5 million homeless animals every year, find out when the operation should be performed on your cat or dog.

Vaccinations can begin when your pet is as young as 6 weeks old and will continue until they're fully protected against all the would-be viruses and diseases.

Possible Side-Effects Of The Shots

While your dog or cat may not enjoy the trek to the veterinarian's office, nor the feeling of the injection, it's really not much different than when you get a shot from your own doctor. There's a slight pinch, depending on the size of the needle, then "poof", it's over before you know it. Even if your pet protests being coerced into their carrier and vehicle for transport to the vet, since it's for their own good, it's well worth the effort.

Sometimes, a shot may have mild side-effects on an animal, such as a low-grade fever, low energy and lack of appetite. Although such reactions are normal, it's important that you closely monitor your pet and report back to the vet if the symptoms you observe are worrisome. You'll receive detailed instructions on what to watch for and when to contact the vet, according to the animal's response. Additionally, if, for any reason, the vet believes giving your pet a vaccination could be a threat to their health, such as if they were pregnant or nursing, you might be eligible for a legal waiver, although your pet may be required to stay indoors and away from other animals. The waiver may be temporary or permanent, depending on the condition that warranted its issue.

How A Vaccination Works Its Magic

You may have heard that a vaccination is an actual injection of the disease you're trying to fend off and this is true; however, it's not nearly as ghastly as it sounds. The immune system will recognize the contents of the vaccination as a threat and begin to develop the anti-bodies needed to fight off the disease, eventually forming memory cells which will stand ready to defend, if the disease is detected again. This remarkable process gives pets (and people) a distinct advantage in their microscopically-hostile environments and exercises the immune system in the exact way it was designed to function.

Disease They Might Develop Without The Shots

It's really never safe to not have your cat or dog vaccinated, no matter how you look at the statistics. An animal not vaccinated is vulnerable to a number of conditions, some fatal, and you simply don't want to take your chances:

  • Canine Parvovirus is a dreadful disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract and will kill, if the dog is not treated promptly.
  • Respiratory infections, such as kennel-cough and parainfluenza, are very contagious and can progress rapidly, especially threatening to puppies.
  • Distemper can be deadly and may cause fluids to be discharged from the nose and mouth, along with the onset of seizures.
  • Canine Hepatitis is also a frightful situation, wreaking havoc on internal organs, sometimes causing a dog's eyes to turn blue and potentially fatal.
  • Upper-respiratory infections in cats, like Calicivirus and other flu-like conditions, could be very harmful to your new cat and may even remain with them for life, even when treated by a vet, making vaccinations a must.
  • Feline distemper (also known as feline panleukopenia) is a gruesome, life-threatening, viral disease that can fortunately be avoided with a vaccination.

According to the type of pet you have, their lifestyle (going outdoors, being exposed to other animals, including wildlife, etc.) and other factors, different shots may be needed. It's absolutely vital that you follow the vaccination schedule, to protect the life of your pet and others around them. Additionally, these diseases are not something you ever want to have to witness, most especially in an animal your family loves.

Legal And Other Consequences Of Not Vaccinating

Not only could your pet become gravely ill or die without a vaccination, other animals they come in contact with are also put at risk. Beyond that, if your pet bites a human and is not vaccinated, you're very likely to be held accountable in a court of law. You might face fines by local authorities, too, if you're ever asked to provide proof of vaccination and don't have it and in rare cases, pet owners who fail to vaccinate could face real jail time.

All-in-all, you're taking a serious gamble by not vaccinating, especially since your pet could suffer the worst consequences of all. If you think you'll have trouble paying for the vaccination visit or can't get your animal out to the clinic, contact the vet and see what options may be available to you. This is such an important issue, you can probably find help for it in your area, if you ask the right people. No matter how hard it is for you to find time in your schedule or money in your budget, you need to have your pet vaccinated with the right shots at the right time. Contact your nearest vet clinic or animal hospital and make that appointment.