What Vaccinations Does My Pet Need?

dog getting a vaccinationIn addition to regular veterinary care, Pet vaccinations are the most important type of preventive medicine that dogs and cats receive. Professionals recommend vaccinating puppies and kittens more often because of their young age and how their immune system works, and then vaccinating against major diseases less often as they age.

 
How Pet Vaccines Work
Vaccines help a Pet’s immune system recognize harmful organisms that cause diseases. The antigens in the injections mimic the offending organism, mildly stimulating the immune system without causing the disease. If a Pet is exposed to the harmful organism later, its immune system will recognize the organism and fight it or reduce its severity.

In the veterinary world, there are two types of vaccines: core and non-core. Core vaccines are the types that professionals recommend for every Pet. Non-core vaccines are immunizations a Pet needs based on its lifestyle. For example, an indoor-only cat might not need the same non-core vaccines as an outside-inside cat. Talk to a vet to develop a vaccination schedule for your Pet.

 

Keep this checklist on hand to remind you about important vaccinations for your pet!

Vaccines for Dogs – Core Vaccines

 

Rabies: One-Year Vaccine

  • Administration to puppies: A single dose given as early as 3 months, depending on state regulations
  • Administration to adults: A single dose
  • Booster schedule: After 1 year
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Rabies is a fatal viral disease to Pets and humans that does not have a cure. It causes brain inflammation and symptoms such as aggression, fear of water, uncontrolled movements, fear and the inability to move parts of the body.

 

Distemper

  • Administration to puppies: Three doses given between 6 and 18 weeks of age
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given at least three weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One booster administered one year after the initial series of vaccines, then a booster every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccine
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Distemper is an airborne virus that can cause permanent brain damage, along with respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments. Prevention is more effective than treatment. Distemper is often fatal.

 

Parvovirus

  • Administration to puppies: Three doses given between 6 and 18 weeks of age
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given at least three weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One booster administered one year after the initial series of vaccines, then a booster every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccine
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Parvo is a highly contagious virus that spreads between dogs. It can cause bloody diarrhea and severe vomiting. If left untreated, parvo is often fatal.

 

Adenovirus, Type 1 (CAV-1, Canine Hepatitis)

  • Administration to puppies: Three doses given between 6 and 18 weeks of age
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given at least three weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One booster administered one year after the initial series of vaccines, then a booster every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccine
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Canine hepatitis spreads via feces and urine, leading to liver damage and death.

 

Adenovirus, Type 2 (CAV-2, Kennel Cough)

  • Administration to puppies: Three doses given between 6 and 16 weeks of age
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given at least three weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One booster administered one year after the initial series of vaccines, then a booster every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccine
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Adenovirus-related kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection that is highly contagious. The virus spreads through airborne droplets of saliva that a dog produces while sneezing or coughing.

 

Non-Core Vaccines

Parainfluenza

  • Administration to puppies: One shot administered at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by one shot every three or four weeks until the puppy is 12 to 14 weeks old
  • Administration to adults: A single dose
  • Booster schedule: One shot after one year, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines; depending on the situation, a dog may receive boosters every three years
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Parainfluenza is different from canine influenza, and causes fevers and coughs in dogs.

 

Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough)

  • Administration to puppies: Two doses, depending on the vaccine
  • Administration to adults: One dose if administered orally or intranasally, or two doses if given as an injection
  • Booster schedule: Every six or 12 months, depending on if a dog is in a high-risk environment
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Bordetella-related kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is an upper respiratory infection that is highly contagious. The virus spreads through airborne droplets of saliva that a dog produces while sneezing or coughing. It is particularly dangerous in puppies.

 

Lyme Disease

  • Administration to puppies: One dose as early as 9 weeks of age, followed by a second dose two to four weeks later
  • Administration to adults: Two doses, two to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: Annually at the beginning of tick season
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Lyme disease is caused by a tick infected with a parasite. The disease causes a target-shaped rash, achy joints, lethargy and fevers.

 

Leptospirosis

  • Administration to puppies: One dose at 12 weeks, followed by another two to four weeks later
  • Administration to adults: Two doses, two to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: Once a year for dogs in high-risk areas
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Leptospirosis spreads between a variety of animals via contaminated water, soil and bodily fluids. It can cause flu-like symptoms, as well as kidney or liver disease. Dogs often contract it in water. It can be communicable to people.

 

Canine Influenza

  • Administration to puppies: One dose at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a second dose two to four weeks later
  • Administration to adults: Two doses, two to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: Annually
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Canine influenza is similar to kennel cough and is pretty uncommon.

 

Vaccines for Cats – Core Vaccines

Rabies

  • Administration to kittens: A single dose given to kittens as young as 8 weeks of age, depending on the product, followed by a second dose 12 months later
  • Administration to adults: Two doses, 12 months apart
  • Booster schedule: Administer every year or every three years, depending on the product used and state regulations
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Rabies is a fatal viral disease that does not have a cure. It causes brain inflammation and symptoms such as aggression, fear of water, uncontrolled movements, fear and the inability to move parts of the body.

 

Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)

  • Administration to kittens: A single dose administered to kittens as young as 6 weeks of age, followed by a dose every three or four weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given three to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One dose after the initial administration, followed by boosters every three years
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Feline distemper is a highly contagious and dangerous disease that often affects kittens. The virus causes anemia, malnutrition, dehydration and diarrhea. It may lead to death.

 

Feline Herpesvirus

  • Administration to kittens: First dose given to kittens as young as 6 weeks, followed by a dose every three to four weeks until 16 weeks of age
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given three to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One dose after the initial administration, followed by boosters every three years
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: The feline herpesvirus leads to viral rhinotracheitis, an upper respiratory condition that is highly contagious.

 

Calicivirus

  • Administration to kittens: First dose given to kittens as young as 6 weeks, followed by a dose every three to four weeks until 16 weeks of age
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given three to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: One dose after the initial administration, followed by boosters every three years
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Calicivirus is a contagious upper respiratory condition that causes a lack of appetite, fever, joint pain and ulcers in the mouth.

 

Non-Core Vaccines

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

  • Administration to kittens: First dose given to kittens as young as 8 weeks, followed by a second dose three or four weeks later
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given three to four weeks apart
  • Booster schedule: Every two years for low-risk cats, or annually for cats at higher risk
  • About the disease the vaccine protects against: Transmitted from cat to cat, feline leukemia affects a cat’s lymphoid system and immune system. The virus can eventually infect the cat’s bone marrow and invade the tissues and organs throughout the body.

 

Bortadella

  • Administration to kittens: One dose given to a kitten as young as 4 weeks old
  • Administration to adults: Two doses given 12 months apart
  • Booster schedule: Yearly

About the disease the vaccine protects against: Bortadella is an upper respiratory illness that’s highly contagious.

[Photo from Petful via Creative Commons 2.0]

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