Just like in humans, vaccinations play an important role in keeping pets healthy by providing immunity against many serious diseases. These precautions in animals are necessary to prevent the spread of diseases and ensure their long-term health.
In Wisconsin, all dogs must be licensed by five months of age, and to be licensed, they must have proof of a current rabies vaccine. Cat license requirements and fees vary by location and may be higher for unaltered pets.
Wisconsin requires proof of specific vaccinations for pet licensing to ensure public health protection and control the spread of disease. In La Crosse County, the deadline to license your pet to avoid fines is March 31.
With licensing available from January 1st to March 31st to avoid late fees, now is a good time to schedule all of your pet’s basic vaccinations, as well as your pet’s exposure risk. Also non-core vaccines given from
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According to Onalaska Animal Hospital co-owner and veterinarian Dr. Nicole Eisen, core vaccines are the ones recommended for all pets, regardless of their condition.
“For dogs, these typically include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus. For cats, primary vaccines typically include rabies, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and panleukopenia (feline Distemper) included.”
Non-coverage vaccines can cover diseases including Bordetella bronchiseptica, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis in dogs and feline leukemia virus in cats, he added.
Vaccines contain antigens that mimic disease-causing organisms but do not actually cause disease. When administered, they stimulate the immune system to respond and produce immunity. So, if the animal later contracts the disease, its immune system recognizes it and is ready to fight it.
“Some people are concerned about vaccinating their pets, but what they should really be concerned about is — aside from referrals — dropping them off,” Azene said. “Without vaccinations, pets are at high risk of contracting and spreading infectious diseases. Some of these diseases, such as rabies, can be fatal and pose a significant public health threat. In addition, non- Vaccinated pets may require more expensive medical treatment if they develop treatable diseases.”
In Azene’s experience, she said people who resist pet vaccines usually cite one of five reasons:
1. They worry about vaccine safety or that the vaccine itself might make their pet sick. But Azene said vaccines undergo extensive testing and monitoring for safety and effectiveness, and side effects are usually mild and temporary, far less severe than the diseases they prevent.
2. There may be mistrust or lack of understanding about the effectiveness and necessity of vaccines. Reliable veterinary science supports the use and efficacy of vaccines. Veterinarians can provide accurate information and dispel myths, helping owners make informed decisions.
3. They cannot afford to vaccinate their pets. But vaccinations are a fundamental part of pet ownership and a responsibility you accept when you decide to become a pet owner.
4. Their pets live indoors, so they are not at risk of disease. “Indoor pets can still be exposed to viruses and bacteria, as they can come into the home through shoes, clothing or other pets,” Ezin said. “Vaccinations help protect your animals regardless of the environment they live in.”
5. Their pet has had an adverse vaccination experience in the past. “If your pet has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine in the past, veterinarians can adjust the vaccination protocol or schedule to minimize risks, increase your pet’s comfort and ensure safety. Precautions can be taken.”
For specific deadlines and regulations regarding pet licensing and required vaccinations in your area, it’s best to consult your local county or city government’s website or contact them directly. They will provide the latest and applicable information.
Regardless of regulations, pet vaccinations are an important part of responsible pet ownership. This protects pets and protects the community from the spread of potentially dangerous diseases.
Heather Drewold is the executive director of the Cowley Region Humane Society. It can be reached. Heather.Drievold@couleehumane.com.