An Overview of Vaccinations for Dogs and Cats

July 30, 2021 12:11 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Just like humans, dogs and cats need their own canine and feline vaccines. They prevent devastating illness, which can be transferred from animal to animal, so your pets can live a long and healthy life. If you’re considering adopting a new dog or cat, it’s important to find out whether they’ve received vaccinations, on what dates and which kind.

Do you know what kind of vaccinations your pets need? Here’s a brief overview—be sure to talk to your vet next time you make an appointment.

Vaccines for dogs

First, you’ll need to get your dog the “canine core vaccines,” which target high mortality diseases like parvovirus, distemper, rabies and adenovirus. Usually, you start giving your dog these vaccines when they’re around six to eight weeks old. Every three to four weeks, they’ll get a booster, ending when they’re about 16 weeks old. Boosters are given every six months to one year, and then every three years after that. Your vet will help you keep track of when it’s time for your dog’s next canine core booster.

There are other non-core vaccines available for dogs, too. For example, if you love to hike, you might want to look into the rattlesnake vaccine for your dogs—it could save a curious puppy’s life. Other vaccines include those for canine influenza, parainfluenza and measles. Generally, these vaccines are given based on geographic location and other key factors. Ask your vet whether your dog needs additional non-core canine vaccines.

Vaccines for cats

Cats also have core feline vaccines, including feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, panleukopenia, feline leukemia virus and, of course, rabies. Like dogs, kittens will get these vaccinations starting at about six to eight weeks of age, with a booster every three to four weeks. The last booster should come no sooner than 16 weeks. Again, they’ll get another booster at six months to one year, and then every three years after that.

Cats may also receive non-core vaccines. These are typically for feline immunodeficiency virus, chlamydia felis and bordetella. Currently, the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine is not in use—its efficacy is debatable, and veterinarians do not recommend administering this for your indoor cats.

What if my pet is older than 16 weeks?

If your dog or cat is older than 16 weeks, they can still get their vaccinations. They’ll typically get higher doses every three to four weeks until their immune response is ready to fight off these diseases. If you’re concerned about whether your pet has been appropriately vaccinated, your veterinarian can talk to you about your options.

Schedule your feline or canine vaccination appointment today

Getting ready to bring home a new pet, or need to update your pet’s booster shots? The vets at Christown Animal Hospital are here to help. We know how important your pet’s health is, so we’ll make sure their experience is as easy and painless as possible. Get in touch with us today to set up an appointment for your dog’s or cat’s vaccinations.

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