Over the past months, we have been writing about ailments and treatments of puppies and young dogs (also referring from time to time, to young cats and kittens). Today we will begin discussing the prevention of the acquisition of various illnesses that affect canines and felines of any age.
As you would have noted by now, I tend to give the subject being discussed a definition/an explanation of the topic. My best and most easily understandable definition of Vaccination is “the introduction into animals (including humans) of microorganisms, which have been previously treated to make them harmless, for the purpose of inducing the development of antibodies which create an immunity against specific diseases. I must now give a definition for Immunity: a condition whereby the animals develop a security against agents that are injurious to the animals’ health and wellbeing. Simply put, Immunity is the body’s resistance to a disease.
We must also define Antibodies. These are simple proteins that are found in the blood with special characteristics, about which we do not need to get into any details other than to say that they are the essential element of the fight against diseases.
There are different types of immunity, namely:
Active Immunity
Adaptive Immunity
Acquired Immunity
Natural immunity
Passive Immunity

This condition results when exposure to a disease agent (pathological organism, germ) causes the animal’s body to produce defences against that particular invading disease-causing organism /germ.

Adaptive Immunity involves specialized immune cells/antibodies that wage war and destroy foreign “invaders” (disease causing agents). Subsequent to the battle between the foreign invaders and the body’s specialized defence cells, according to which disease-causing agents in the animal’s body are capable of producing antibodies which prevent the disease, in case of future attacks, by establishing a specific memory bank which identifies what those new attacking substances/germs look like, and then mounting an appropriate defensive immune response.

The better name should be ACTIVE ARTIFICIAL IMMUNITY, because it is when resistance to a disease is the result of antibodies being produced as an especial response to a disease- causing foreign substance, or when an animal produces or receives antibodies (see above) from another source.

This is sometimes called Innate Immunity. It is the inborn resistance against infections. This resistance is possessed by the animal from birth, because of its genetic background. I should mention that the liver is such an organ which possesses predominant Natural Innate Immunity capabilities.

This is a type of Immunity that occurs when an animal is given (by injection or orally) antibodies rather than producing the antibodies by itself through its own immune system. For example, PI occurs when a newborn pup/kitten receives the antibodies from a vaccinated mother dog/cat through the mother’s milk when they are nursing. In such cases, however, the antibodies are short-lived (often only for a few months, because the “Memory Cells” mentioned above are not produced or retained by the new born kitten/puppy.
Dear reader, I think I have belaboured you enough with the science this week. However, this above text is necessary if we are to understand the concepts of Vaccination. It seems that such knowledge will help in your decision to vaccinate your pets, notwithstanding the vocal positions of the antivaxxer movement. More advocacy for vaccination will be offered next week.