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“We vaccinate our animals for the same reasons we would vaccinate humans, and that is to help reduce the effects of infectious diseases,” said Russ Daly, veterinarian and professor at South Dakota State University Extension.
When a vaccine is fully effective, the vaccine stimulates the immune system in both animals and humans against a specific germ. If the animal or person encountered this germ, the body could deal with it in a way that would not injure or damage it, Daly explained.
Pet owners are faced with a number of vaccination options for their herd. Much like people deciding which vaccines to get through human medicine, the information can be overwhelming. Talking to a doctor or veterinarian can sometimes remove the uncertainties and stress associated with vaccination decisions.
“Always speak to your veterinarian about your vaccination schedule, especially if you have questions about a specific vaccine,” said Gerald Stokka, veterinarian for the North Dakota State University Extension.
Herd immunity is desirable in both animal and human medicine when it comes to viruses, diseases and other diseases. However, because of the control that livestock keepers have over their stocks, it is easier to achieve herd immunity in farm animals than it is in humans.
“It’s pretty easy in a barn full of pigs or lots of cattle. We control this so we can vaccinate every single animal in that population. With humans, it’s up to individual choice, “said Daly.” In this regard, herd immunity in human populations can be somewhat more difficult than herd immunity in animal populations. “
However, herd immunity can be achieved for public health purposes. If enough people make the choice to get vaccinated, the majority of the population will be resistant to that specific germ. Even if the germ is introduced, it will not cause much damage or be able to sustain the life of the population.
In addition, vaccines for animals are not 100% effective or guaranteed to protect the animal from the specific germ. This is because not every animal will respond properly to the vaccine.
If the administered vaccine is overwhelmed too early in animals, it can also prevent it from working as intended.
“Many of our animal diseases are actually disease complexes. For example, there is pneumonia in feedlot cattle and we can vaccinate against this germ. But when we have really bad weather or a long truck ride and stress them, that can overwhelm the vaccine pretty easily. It’s not just about getting you vaccine and you are protected from some of these diseases. We don’t see it that much in humans, ”said Daly.