As a loving pet parent, you probably already know the importance of regular veterinary visits, especially as your pet gets older. Regular veterinary exams can help catch serious diseases early on and will ensure your furry companion is as comfortable as possible when it comes to common old age ailments like arthritis. But the question still remains…
Do pets need vaccinations during their golden years?
The answer, of course, depends on the individual animal and veterinarian recommendations. Vaccination is a powerful preventative tool, and can be especially important for older pets because the immune system tends to weaken with age, making infections harder to fight off. However, vaccination isn’t right for every senior pet. Your vet may not recommend vaccination if your pet has certain chronic medical conditions or has had a bad reaction to a vaccine in the past. Although relatively rare, bad vaccine reactions do occur (even in healthy pets) and all risks should be discussed with a veterinarian.
Which vaccinations are necessary?
Many core vaccines (Parvo, distemper, etc.) protect pets for multiple years. It’s likely that pets that have been regularly vaccinated against these types of diseases from a young age have developed adequate immunity, and old age vaccination may not be necessary. The decision to opt for or forgo these core vaccines as a pet’s age advances should be discussed with a veterinarian. Non-core vaccines (like leptospirosis or bordetella) don’t provide long-term immunity and would need to be continuously given annually if ongoing protection is recommended by a veterinarian.
Another consideration when it comes to vaccination is your state’s laws. Many states require pets to be vaccinated against rabies and some even require proof of vaccination in order to obtain a license for your pet. In some states, exceptions can be made under the recommendation of a veterinarian. Many grooming salons, boarding facilities, and other businesses also require certain vaccinations to be up-to-date.