Pet Owners Beware of the Importance of Vaccinations

We must not allow ourselves to overlook the basic values of preventive medicine. Specifically, to the importance of vaccinations.

As told by an eminent veterinarian (Dr. Tracy Acosta), vaccinations are the most effective method of preventing viral diseases, which can lead to serious illness and even death. In fact, the control of so many viral diseases that affect pets is considered to be a prominent success of 20th century veterinary medicine.

Dr. Acosta also suggests that, as responsible pet owners it is our obligation to provide our pets with proper vaccinations beginning with the all-important puppy and kitten vaccination series all the way through to adulthood vaccinations. Not only we are protecting our pets’ health, but our family’s health as well. Even in this day and age, no one can overlook the zoonotic disease potential (disease spread from animal to human), such as rabies.

Unfortunately, the state of Mississippi earlier this year recorded its first human death from rabies since 1956. This was the 28th person in the United States to die from rabies since 1990. Unlike many other viral diseases, rabies is not transmitted person to person.

Rabies is transmitted only when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin, or onto mucous membranes from saliva or other potentially infectious material. Rabies in humans can be prevented by either eliminating exposure to rabid animals or by providing exposed humans with prompt local treatment of wounds combined with the administration of post exposure vaccine.

Vaccination against viral disease provides the platform of basic animal and human health that must never be overlooked or taken for granted.

Unfortunately, too often, people today become complacent about diseases that still pose serious threats to humans and pets. Even in the year 2005, we cannot forget history and the serious health threats we have either eradicated or greatly reduced such as those with polio and smallpox (humans), or rabies (humans and animals).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds all of us to remain diligent in our efforts to maintain vaccination protocols for humans and pets. Despite what you may have heard, the risks of disease from not vaccinating are far greater than the risks of reaction to a vaccination.

Remember, we as an economically well off population, can enjoy the companionship and live happily and healthy side by side, literally, with our pets by providing proper vaccination and parasite control to our pets, says Dr. Tracy Acosta, a practicing small animal veterinarian in Biloxi.

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