Pet vaccinations are absolutely necessary for your dog or cat’s overall good health. Vaccinations will help to protect against life-threatening diseases that your pet may become exposed to. Even if your pet stays indoors most of the time, the risk of exposure could still be there, especially in cases where your pet might accidentally get out or be exposed to other animals at a dog park, the groomer and other public places.
When a vaccination is administered, a modified virus, parasite or bacteria is given to your pet either intra-nasally or by injection. An immune response is triggered by the vaccination in your pet’s body that helps to protect your dog or cat from a specific disease that the vaccine is designed to protect against.
Kitten And Puppy Vaccinations
Veterinarians commonly recommend giving kittens and puppies a series of specific vaccinations, beginning when they are approximately six weeks old. It’s important for young animals to be vaccinated at an early age because the natural immunity residing in the mother’s milk begins to wear off, leaving kittens and puppies vulnerable to various infectious diseases.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends a series of vaccinations that usually are scheduled three or four weeks apart. The last vaccination in this series is administered when the pet is 12-16 weeks old.
In order for the vaccine levels to remain high in your pet’s body, it is very important for them to have annual booster shots to protect your dog or cat over their life span.
Keep in mind that vaccines may not always word. Some dogs and cats do not have adequate immune systems and could get sick from the shot. Although there are some risks involved when it comes to vaccinations, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
Core Pet Vaccinations
Vaccinations for dogs, as well as cats can be classified into two main types: non-core and core. For dogs and cats with unknown vaccination histories, core vaccines are usually recommended. Non-core vaccines are considered to be optional vaccines that may or may not be administered, depending on the specific risks to your pet’s health as well as the perceived need for that specific vaccine.
Core vaccinations for dogs and puppies include:
- Canine adenovirus (CAV)
- Canine distemper virus (CDV)
- Parvovirus (CPV)
Core vaccines for cats and kittens include:
- Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV)
- Feline calicivirus (FCV)
- Feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1)
Some of the main non-core vaccines for dogs include:
- Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease)
- Leptospira spp.
- Bordetella bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough)
- Distemper-measles combination vaccine
- Canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV)
Non-core vaccines for cats include:
- Bordetella bronchiseptica
- Chlamydophila felis
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
- Feline immunodeficiency virus
- Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
Know The Facts
It is very important to understand that not every vaccine is going to be 100% effective for every pet. Some animals never develop adequate immune systems and could become ill. However, vaccines provide your pets with protection against potentially life-threatening diseases. Therefore, the risks are far outweighed by the benefits.