The importance of vaccination in animal health

Vaccination has been one of the best tools for the control of viral diseases in humans. Developed countries through the rigorous application of vaccination programs have succeeded in minimizing the incidence or even eradicate highly prevalent diseases in the population just a few years ago, such as measles, rubella, mumps …

Strategies to control viral processes in animals are similar to those used in humans, although there is tremendously important differential fact marks the success or otherwise of these strategies: while in humans the state handles both free information campaigns as the costs of vaccination, livestock and even pets, state intervention is much lower, limited to those diseases that primarily for reasons of public health, require eradication plans and in which case government intervention it could finance the vaccine cost and always carries a strict monitoring of the effectiveness of the program.

Vaccination against most animal diseases is therefore voluntary, being the owner, advised by the veterinary services, who makes the decision to vaccinate or not and takes the appropriate vaccine cost.

The fact that vaccination is free no risk to human health, since we do not speak of diseases transmissible to humans, although they may have a great interest in animal health.

Disease control through the application of vaccination programs in animals is well established, sometimes for purely humanitarian reasons such as animals (dogs, cats, horses, rabbits …) and others, for both humanitarian reasons and production , such as livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry …). The main features of the objective of vaccination in these species described below.

The importance of vaccination in animal health

Vaccination in pets

The pet concept has evolved greatly over the last three decades in our country. In many occasions, the idea on pet has in other European countries and North America, the pet has become part, as one of the family. While many alien species have been taken in recent years as pets, the main health efforts continue to focus primarily on the most common species as a pet: dog and cat.

The vaccine protocols that are established in dogs and cats must be understood from three perspectives: the protection of owners and other humans who live with these animals, controlling levels of illness within the population of that species, and safeguarding health and quality of life of that individual.

The most crucial of the vaccination program for a dog or cat when is the postnatal period, in which both puppies and kittens are exposed more directly to the action of pathogenic microorganisms and their body is still very fragile to develop a spontaneous immunity front of them. That’s why protocols are much more intense during this first stage of life.

There are two distinct categories of diseases against which they are vaccinated dogs and cats:

Disease “core” or essential : those against which there is a recommendation to vaccinate strictly all animals (and in some cases, such as rabies, vaccination is mandatory in many regions in Spain). This is either (potentially transmissible to humans) or zoonotic disease highly contagious and with high mortality in both dogs and cats diseases.

Disease “non core” or nonessential: those against which the recommendation is to vaccinate if the animal is part of a group of specific risk. These diseases can not be highly lethal, but upsets in pets, and are highly contagious for example when the animals are kept, albeit temporarily, in communities (farms, shelters, kennels, dog shows, etc. ). If these conditions are met, it is appropriate immunoprophylaxis.

To ensure adequate protection of pets against these diseases throughout their lives, to be repeated regularly vaccinations, with an interval and a pattern that will depend on the prospect of the vaccine used and the recommendations of the veterinary surgeon who is in charge animal.

From the legal point of view, for some diseases may be required proper completion of the immunization by a veterinary surgeon throughout the lifetime of the animal.

Finally we must remember that disease and legislation on tenure of pets can be highly variable depending on the country concerned.

This must be taken into account when traveling with our dogs and cats abroad. Should consult the embassy and informed of the requirements well in advance of both vaccination and deworming (or other health) that require pets in the country of entry.

The animals must travel with documentation consistent with these requirements, most of the time, must be reviewed and certified by a veterinary surgeon. These preparatory steps can take several days or even months of preparation before the trip to proceed.

If not properly conducted, can the animal refused entry in the country of destination or for performing a relevant period of quarantine and observation of the dog or cat.

Vaccination of animals income (livestock)

The health of animals is the main key to getting healthy and quality food, main goal of the veterinary profession. That is why the disease control and the use of all the tools available for it is the daily work of the veterinarian on farms, thereby also contributing to profitable farms.

Vaccination is another weapon of many that are used daily in farms: biosecurity measures to prevent the entry of pathogens from other holdings, implementing hygiene standards and animal management to reduce the spread of diseases among animals the same holding, strict control of food, or creating a comfortable environment for the animals of the farm.

Vaccines usually directed against highly contagious viral processes, although there are some directed against parasites or bacteria, play an important role in the health of the holding role because they are the basis for maintaining a stable exploitation.

When a pathogenic virus for the animal species enters an establishment, implementation will depend on the degree of resistance that animals have against the virus, can trigger or not an outbreak in animals, which would destabilize the yield of the holding for a time.

Vaccines intended to raise the level of resistance of animals against pathogens frequently so that when the pathogen between, the infection does not progress.

Many vaccines are used: some aimed at reducing disease processes of respiratory type, others against pathogens that alter the intestinal mucosa and produce intestinal disorders, others seek to control pathogens that affect fertility or cause embryonic death, fetal malformations or abortions.

All these processes produce economic losses in production animals and often leave them sequels that make them unprofitable, and in extreme cases lead to death.

Vaccines therefore greatly help to reduce morbidity and mortality in farms and contribute to improving animal welfare.

Very often, viruses are the gateway to other opportunistic pathogens, usually bacteria, which under normal circumstances are not capable of causing damage but after a viral infection that weakens and reduces the defensive capacity of the animal, invade the body causing disease.

These bacterial diseases must always be treated with antibiotics and therefore, vaccination of farm also has a very positive effect on reducing the use of antibiotics in animals.

In light of the comments made, and being aware that the degree of implementation of vaccination programs in the Spanish productive farms is very high, we still think it should be strengthened further, as the best way to raise the overall strength of all the population thus minimizing the spread of pathogens.

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