How Vaccines Work

How Vaccines Work

When a pet is vaccinated against a disease, a small amount of the organism, modified so it will not cause disease in the animal, is administered to your pet. The organism in a vaccine formulation will stimulate your pet's immune system to generate a protective immune response.

This vaccine-induced immune response prepares the immune system for future exposure to the natural disease-causing agent. Vaccination induces the generation of memory cells in the immune system to act at the time of a future disease challenge. A fully immunized pet will remove the pathogenic disease agent before it causes serious disease.

Once vaccinated, the duration of time your pet will be immune to challenge from a natural disease-causing agent depends on the pet's immune system and the virulence of disease agents. Vaccines that protect against diseases caused by viruses, such as canine distemper and parvovirus or feline panleukopenia or calicivirus, often protect for longer periods of time than vaccines that protect against diseases caused by bacteria, such as canine Lyme Disease or feline chlamydophila.

Young and geriatric animals may require more frequent vaccination. In summary, vaccines stimulate the cells of the pet's immune system, in a controlled manner, to a higher level of preparedness for invasion by disease-causing organisms. Vaccines enable your pet to have a higher quality of life in a world with many disease challenges.

Vaccination responses can vary

Most animals have the optimal genetics needed for proper immune system function. Their immune systems can recognize the antigens, provide protection from natural disease following exposure and eradicate the disease agent.

However, not all immune systems respond the same. If an animal's immune system is compromised because of genetics, mental, physical or environmental stress, it may not recognize the infectious agent in the vaccine or process it effectively, leaving the animal unprotected or not fully protected against the disease. Fortunately, this is not common and most dogs and cats are protected for life when an optimal vaccination program is implemented. After vaccination, it's ultimately up to the animal's own immune system to prevent infection and disease.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) is a family-owned company founded in 1885. The company is a global leader in human and animal health and ranks in the top five of all animal health companies.



BIVI vaccines are one of the most widely used pet vaccines in U.S. veterinary clinics today.*
Data on file at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.


Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate vaccinations for your pet, including the full line of BIVI vaccines for dogs and cats.