Understanding the importance of vaccinations for your cat or dog to maintain the overall health and longevity should be a discussion made between you and your vet. Typically there is not a "one size fits all" for pets, but we are here to help you learn about the core vaccines based on your pet's age and health that you continue on for the remainder of their lives.
Why do pets need vaccines?
Vaccinations are made to protect your pet against contagious and potentially fatal diseases. Similar to human vaccines, your vet will inject a small amount of infectious organisms to strengthen your pet’s immune system and prepare their bodies to fight against future infections. It is important to wait until your puppy or kitten are both old enough, healthy enough, and weigh enough to get any vaccines.
Some factors to consider when vaccinating your pet are:
- 1. Age
- - Vaccinations have minimum age requirements as young puppies and kittens have to fully develop their immune systems to be able to handle the shot.
- 2. Dog size/weight
- - Similar to age, size and weight are important factors to consider as they need to be strong and healthy enough to handle the vaccinations.
- 3. Allergies
- - Discuss with your vet any known allergies of your pet as they can be allergic to specific ingredients that might be found in vaccines.
- 4. Medical History
- - Whether you just adopted a puppy/kitten or an adult pet, try to get any and all the medical records that are available to prevent any overlap vaccines which may cause negative reactions.
For Dogs, typically your vet will administrate a series of booster shots, heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, and the rabies vaccine when they are at least 6 months old. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle it is important to consider getting vaccines such as the Bordetella Vaccine to prevent kennel cough, the Lyme Vaccine if ticks are a problem in your area, Leptospirosis Vaccine and Canine Influenza.
For Cats, your vet will also do a series of booster shots similar to puppies, FELV Vaccine to prevent Feline Leukemia, and a Rabies Vaccine. Based on your cat’s lifestyle, you may want to consider a Bordetella Vaccine as well as parasite prevention (flea & tick and heartworm) if you plan to let your cat outside or board them.
Once your pet is over a year old, you will need to continue some of these vaccinations such as the Rabies and Distemper annually or every 3 years, and then parasite prevention monthly. Always consult with your veterinarian on what vaccines are required for your pet during your annual check-ups.