Vaccinations for Your Pet (2024)

Vaccinations for Your Pet (1)

Vaccines help prevent many illnesses that affect pets. Vaccinating your pet has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, there are different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet relative to his lifestyle and health. Your veterinarian can determine a vaccination regime that will provide the safest and best protection for your individual animal.

Understanding Vaccines

Vaccines help prepare the body's immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don't actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If a pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

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Vaccines are very important to managing the health of your pet. That said, not every pet needs to be vaccinated against every disease. It is very important to discuss with your veterinarian a vaccination protocol that’s right for your pet. Factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. Most vets highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy pets.

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans.

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For Dogs: Vaccines for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk. These include vaccines against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

For Cats:Vaccines for panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat's lifestyle; these include vaccines for feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Your veterinarian can determine what vaccines are best for your pet.

Determining the Timing and Frequency of Vaccinations

Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule for your pet. This will depend on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, environment and lifestyle.

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For puppies: If his mother has a healthy immune system, a puppy will most likely receive antibodies in mother’s milk while nursing. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. A veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three- to four-week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of age.

For adult dogs: Some adult dogs might receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every three years or longer.

For kittens: Kittens automatically receive antibodies in the milk their mother produces if their mother has a healthy immune system. When the kitten is around six to eight weeks of age, your veterinarian can begin to administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age.

For adult cats: Adult cats might be revaccinated annually or every three years.

Local Laws Regarding Mandatory Vaccines

Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some areas require yearly rabies vaccination. Other areas call for vaccines every three years. In almost all states, proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory.

Risks Associated with Vaccination

Immunizations should mildly stimulate the animal’s immune system in order to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This stimulation can create mild symptoms, ranging from soreness at the injection site to fever and allergic reactions.

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There are other, less common side effects like injection site tumors and immune disease associated with vaccination. That said, it is important to realize that vaccines have saved countless lives, and play a vital role in the battle against infectious diseases. As with any medical procedure, there is a small chance of side effects. In most cases, the risks are much smaller than the risks of disease itself. But it is important to talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

Most pets show no ill effect from vaccination. Vaccine reactions may be minor and short-lived or require immediate care from a veterinarian. Clinical signs include:

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Lameness

It is best to schedule your pet’s appointment so that you can monitor him for any side effects following administration of the vaccine. If you suspect your pet is having a reaction to a vaccine, call your veterinarian immediately.

Vaccinations for Your Pet (2024)

FAQs

What vaccines do dogs actually need? ›

Vaccination helps protect your pet against these and other highly contagious or deadly diseases.
  • Canine distemper.
  • Canine influenza.
  • Canine parvovirus.
  • Feline panleukopenia.
  • Leptospirosis.
  • Rabies.

At what age do you stop vaccinating your dog? ›

At what age do you stop vaccinating your dog? Senior dogs do not generally stop requiring vaccinations, but it will depend on your dog's lifestyle and overall health. Once a dog reaches seven years of age, its senior status requires some special considerations to keep them healthy and happy.

Do indoor pets need vaccines? ›

It is a myth that cats who live indoors do not need to be vaccinated against infectious diseases. While living an indoor lifestyle is certainly safer overall than living outdoors, and indoor living contributes to a longer life expectancy, important infectious diseases can find indoor cats.

Is it cheaper to vaccinate dogs yourself? ›

Buying a vaccine over the counter and administering it on your own means no service fee for a veterinarian. For pet parents who have multiple pets at home, especially breeders, this can be quite a tempting cost-saving measure.

What happens if your dog is not vaccinated? ›

If dogs aren't vaccinated at a young age, they will be vulnerable to diseases such as rabies, canine distemper, hepatitis, canine parvovirus, Lyme disease, canine influenza, leptospirosis, and kennel cough.

How much is an 8 in 1 vaccine for dogs? ›

Veterinary
VACCINE & PHARMACYPHP
Vaccine 8-in-1750.00
Vaccine Kennel Cough800.00
RCCP Vaccine1,000.00
Proheart Injection 5kg below1,500.00
20 more rows

How often should a pet be vaccinated? ›

As vaccines are improved over time, some do not need to be given as often, depending on individual circ*mstances. Most dogs with low-risk lifestyles can be vaccinated every three years with the core vaccines and as needed for any non-core vaccines (most non-core vaccines require annual boosters).

Do dogs need shots if they stay inside? ›

While we may assume that our indoor pets are protected against many viruses and diseases, as they spend so much time indoors, this isn't always the case. It is extremely important to make sure your indoor animals receive regular vaccinations to prevent potential illnesses and avoid expensive vet bills down the line.

Does my indoor cat need Bordetella vaccine? ›

Bordetella - This bacteria causes upper respiratory infections that are highly contagious. This vaccine may be recommended by your vet if you are taking your cat to a groomer or boarding kennel.

What's in the 5 in 1 dog vaccine? ›

The 5-in-1 vaccine, or DHPP vaccine, protects against five viruses: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Adenovirus 1 and 2, Canine Parainfluenza, and Canine Parvovirus. Puppies should receive the 5-in-1 vaccine starting at 6-8 weeks of age, with shots given every 3-4 weeks until they reach 16 weeks old.

Are vaccines from Tractor Supply safe? ›

Tractor Supply officials told Channel 9 that their vaccines have a 25-year track record and are the same ones offered by veterinarians. Hinson has never had issues before. “I've always trusted Tractor Supply,” she said. “For 20 years since I've been raising dogs, that's where I've always gotten my shots from.”

Will a vet see my dog without shots? ›

Of course you can. Be aware that some clinics will require you to vaccinate your dog while you're there and some will simply recommend it. They will require you to get your dog's rabies vaccine, which is a legal requirement in most states so that's not a vet choice, but a legal mandate.

Do dogs really need annual vaccinations? ›

If you regularly board your dog or if he is exposed to other dogs, some vaccines, especially those for infectious bacterial diseases such as kennel cough (Bordetella), may be needed annually. Before vaccine administration, your veterinarian will perform a health examination.

Does my dog really need a leptospirosis vaccine? ›

Vaccination against the most common leptospirosis serovars is the most effective way to prevent any associated clinical illness in your dog.

Is Bordetella vaccine necessary? ›

Does my dog need the Bordetella vaccine? The Bordetella vaccine can prevent kennel cough. It is administered by vets as a squirt in the nose. Not all dogs need this vaccine, but we recommend it for social dogs and any dogs who will be boarded (most boarding facilities require proof of a recent Bordetella vaccine).

What are the full vaccines for dogs? ›

We typically recommend the following vaccination schedule for puppies: 6-10 weeks: DA2PP, Bordetella (Kennel Cough) 11-14 weeks: DA2PP, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease. 16 weeks: DA2PP, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease, Rabies.

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