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Self Vaccinating Your Pets

A normal part of pet ownership today is ensuring that they get their vaccinations, along with routine vet checkups. Something I hadn’t considered is vaccinating my pets myself. There are, however, people who self-vaccinate, so I thought I’d address the issue.

I have found some information and various opinions on the subject. Vaccinations and needles are available for purchase by anyone. There are several online sources for vaccines and needles. Of course, if purchased and administered yourself, vaccinations will be less expensive than going to the vet. Cost seems to be the main reason some people consider self-vaccinating their pets.

If you are considering this alternative, you should first consult your veterinarian. You will also need to get a prescription from your vet to prove to the retailer that you are buying these drugs for your pets. You cannot buy vaccines without this, and your vet’s info. The retailer should contact your vet to confirm this as well.

Talk to him/her about your pet’s lifestyle, health, and any unique needs. You should find out the different vaccines your pet will need, as well as those that are not necessary. For example, cats usually receive “core” vaccines which include feline rabies virus, feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline calicivirus (FCV), and feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1).

Dogs receive the core vaccines of canine rabies virus, canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), and canine adinovirus-2 (CAV-2). You can ask your vet to instruct you on how and when to administer shots and talk about possible side effects and complications.

Note that in the U.S., all states require rabies vaccines for all pets. Individual states and cities may have other requirements that you should investigate. For example, in Fremont, CA I must obtain a pet license for each pet. To do that, I have to submit a rabies certificate signed by a veterinarian.

In making your decision to self-vaccinate or not, you should consider that your vet not only administers shots, but examines your pet for overall health. This is something you can’t do at home. As with any health-related topic where your pet is concerned, learn all you can, consult with your vet, and make the decision based on what is best for you pet.

If you don’t want to self-vaccinate, but find the vet fees too high, find out if yor vet, any local pet stores, or local humane society offices offer free or reduced-fee clinics.


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