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Understanding Your Pet's Vaccines

Vaccines have saved millions of lives by protecting against contagious, potentially fatal diseases. Regular vaccinations are one of the most important things you can do to care for your pet, and a vaccination schedule should be an important part of your pet’s wellness routine.


4 Reasons To Vaccinate Your Pet
  1. Vaccinations prevent many illnesses.

  2. Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for preventable diseases.

  3. Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals or from animals to people.

  4. In many areas, local or state ordinances require certain vaccinations for household pets.

Different vaccinations protect against different types of diseases. The most essential vaccines for your dog or cat are called CORE vaccines and are based on risk of exposure, severity of disease, and transmissibility to humans. Other vaccines are NON-CORE, and although they are not considered essential, they are strongly recommended.


CORE Vaccinations for Dogs

Rabies Vaccine

This vaccine protects against rabies disease, which is 100% fatal to dogs. It is required by law due to the risk of transmission to humans. Since there is no treatment available, prevention is key. Your puppy should first receive the rabies vaccine when they are 12 - 16 weeks old. After that, they should get a booster annually.


DA2PP-L Vaccine

The DA2PP-L vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against five common (and sometimes fatal) diseases: Canine Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis.

  • Distemper is caused by an airborne virus and can result in permanent brain damage.

  • Adenovirus is a respiratory disease often passed from dog to dog through coughing.

  • Parainfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus.

  • Parvovirus commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies. Mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases.

  • Leptospirosis is usually passed through drinking, swimming, or walking in contaminated water.

The DA2PP-L vaccine should be started in puppies between 6 - 8 weeks old; boostered every 3 - 4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old; then, boostered annually.


NON-CORE Vaccinations for Dogs

Bordetella Vaccine

The Bordetella vaccine protects your pet against “kennel cough”- a contagious virus that can cause your pet to get a severe upper respiratory infection. Your dog can be infected through nose-to-nose contact, barking, sneezing, or coughing. We strongly recommend dogs who visit parks, greet other dogs on walks, stay at a boarding facility, or see a groomer receive this vaccine at 10 - 12 weeks old and every 6 - 12 months after that.


Influenza Virus Vaccine

This vaccine protects against Canine Influenza Virus - a highly contagious disease which causes 80% of infected pets to experience upper respiratory symptoms or infection. The 20% who don’t have symptoms can still spread the virus. The virus is transmitted through nose-to-nose contact, barking, sneezing, and coughing. We strongly recommend dogs who visit parks, greet other dogs on walks, stay at a boarding facility, or see a groomer receive this vaccine at 10 - 12 weeks old, get a booster at 12 - 16 weeks old, and then annually after that.


CORE Vaccinations for Cats

Rabies Vaccine

Just like with dogs, this vaccine protects your cat against rabies disease, which is 100% fatal to cats. It is required by law due to the risk of transmission to humans. Your kitten should first receive the rabies vaccine when they are 12 - 16 weeks old. After that, they should get a booster annually.

FVRCP Vaccine

The FVRCP vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is a major cause of upper respiratory disease in cats, and is the most common cause of conjunctivitis.

  • Feline Calicivirus causes upper respiratory infections and oral diseases.

  • Feline Panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus.

The FVRCP vaccine should be started in kittens 6 - 8 weeks old; boostered every 3 - 4 weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old; then, boostered annually after that.


NON-CORE Vaccinations for Cats

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) Vaccine

This vaccine protects against Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), which is transmitted when infected cats interact closely with other cats. It can weaken a cat’s immune system and cause them to get sick more easily and to have a shorter life span.


We strongly recommend the FeLV vaccine for all cats who are less than 1-year-old, have access to the outdoors, or may encounter new cats. Your cat should test negative for FIV and FeLV before receiving this vaccine. The FeLV vaccine should be started in kittens 8 - 10 weeks old, boostered at 10 - 12 weeks old, and then boostered annually after that.


We know keeping up with your pet's vaccinations can be overwhelming, but we're here to help! You can learn more and book an affordable vaccine clinic appointment at Pet Community Center here.


Resources:

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/vaccinations

https://www.avma.org/vaccination-faq

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/vaccinations-your-pet


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