Vaccinations are an important part of wellness care for individual pets because they protect your pet from diseases that are found in a significant percent of the pet population
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines are used to stimulate a protective immunity for both viral diseases and bacterial diseases. Vaccines for viral diseases contain pieces or “sub units” of the virus. Vaccines for bacterial diseases contain killed bacteria. These virus subunits and killed bacteria stimulate the production of a population of antibodies which will inactivate the infectious organisms entering the body. An unvaccinated pet will only begin to make antibodies to a disease producing organism after it is suffering from the disease. A vaccinated pet will already have antibodies to fight the disease and inactivate the infectious organisms before they causes the disease.
Those antibodies then persist in their bloodstream for any where from one year to several years. Should they encounter that disease, they will already have the tools to fight it. To keep their antibody populations at effective levels, vaccinations should be "boostered" at the time when the vaccines effectiveness will likely wear off.
Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
Your pet needs “core” vaccines and may need “non-core” vaccines. Core vaccines for dogs and cats include Rabies and other infectious diseases that are commonly found here in the Southeastern United States. Non core vaccines are recommended based on the living circumstances of some pets that puts them more at risk for other diseases. Those are recommended by the doctor based on a physical exam and discussions with the owner about the patient's life style.
The bottom line is: It is better to prevent disease with a vaccine than it is to treat a disease.