There are a lot of things you need to protect your pet from, and while some of them might involve expensive fences, a sturdy leash, or good training, vaccinating your pet should be easy. Depending on where you adopted your pet from, there may be different procedures regarding vaccination, but it's your responsibility as a pet owner to make sure you know whether your dog or cat is up to date on their shots. This can be a challenge, but there are some easy ways to figure out just what's been done up to the point that you adopt your pet.
Public Run Shelters
Whether they're run by the county you live in, or operated on their behalf by a third party, most animal shelters have some basic guidelines for vaccinations. This is as much for your benefit as for the health of other animals being housed there, so it's good for everyone if shelter policies are put in place for vaccinations. Puppies and kittens are normally given their first round of shots between 6 and 16 weeks of age, while rabies vaccines must be delayed until cats are 8 weeks, or dogs are 3 months.
It's easy to tell whether new born animals are vaccinated, while adults require more careful examination. The antibodies for various diseases will show up in the blood though, so while it's a little more work, it's not impossible, though it does mean keeping older animals in quarantine until results come back. Don't adopt from shelters that allow you to take home animals too young to be vaccinated, and if a vaccination policy isn't clear, make sure you ask so that you know if and when you'll need to administer vaccines.
The simple solution to the problem of adopting unvaccinated puppies from breeders is to not adopt from breeders who place so little value in their animals. However, any responsible pet owner should find out for sure just what vaccines are or aren't being administered to the animals and the reasoning behind it. Certain vaccines like Leptospirosis and Bordetella, which are not part of a core vaccine regiment, may not be given if the breeder maintains high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in their animals' pens, sleeping areas and food.
Even with documentation of vaccination, and the breeder's assurances, it's always a good idea to inspect the facility prior to adopting an animal. It might be an inconvenience for one or both parties, but you'll feel better knowing the conditions where your pet came from and the breeder will respect your concern. If they try to talk you out of an in-person tour of the facility, you may want to look elsewhere to adopt.
Vaccination, hygiene and cleanliness are essential for adopting healthy pets and putting them in quality homes. Sure, anyone can adopt an animal, but only people who are financially able to provide for their care, feeding and upkeep should take on the responsibility for another living thing. Do your homework, investigate for yourself, and stay informed when you choose to adopt your next pet.
To get your pet vaccinated, or for more information about your pet's vaccinations, contact a local animal hospital, such as Cherokee Hospital for Animals.