Vaccines are administered every two to four weeks until pets are about 14-20 weeks of age, and then they are administered yearly after that. The idea is that pets can start to boost their own immune systems as their maternal antibodies wear off. The current recommendation is that cats receive an annual Feline Distemper combo vaccine (FVRCP) and a Rabies vaccine. Dogs should ideally receive an annual Canine Distemper combo vaccine (DHLPP) and a Rabies vaccine; Bordetella, or “kennel cough”, is also routinely vaccinated for given the prevalence of the disease in dog parks, dog kennels, grooming facilities, or puppy classes. Depending on the veterinary clinic, these vaccines are sometimes administered once every three years as the pet ages. However, yearly wellness examinations are still recommended in between vaccinations.
It’s important to note that vaccinations may not prevent certain diseases altogether; minimally, they lessen the severity in case your pet does become ill at some point. Following a vaccination schedule reduces the possibility of a gap in your pet’s immune system. Some diseases can adversely affect humans or other pets, and vaccinating ensures that everyone else can feel protected too. If your pet comes into contact with a wild animal, it’s much easier and less expensive to quarantine a pet to watch for clinical signs than to begin treatment for exposure and symptoms.
by Emily DeHaan
A new puppy or kitten visit can be a bit daunting; consider each vaccine booster visit an opportunity for your pet to make new friends, learn new tricks, and become comfortable with the environment. Your pet will certainly enjoy all the treats and encouragement offered!
If you’ve ever owned a puppy or kitten, you may have memories of them trying to wiggle away while the veterinarian was trying to administer a vaccine. No one likes to receive an injection anyway, and it can be scary to watch a tiny furry friend receive their first “poke”. Why do veterinarians require vaccines, and why so many of them?
A pet’s lifestyle may dictate the vaccines they do and do not receive. Depending on where they live, which diseases they may have been exposed to, or stress factors, veterinarians may alter a pet’s vaccine schedule as they grow older. It’s important for each pet and their family to establish a relationship with a veterinarian so that any vaccine change can be addressed as needed. Most cities require health licenses as well, and these can only be signed by the veterinarian who administered the vaccine.
Vaccines are an important part of every pet’s medical care, from the time it’s a few weeks old to when it enters the geriatric stage of life. Veterinarians recommend that puppies and kittens receive their first core vaccines when they are approximately six to eight weeks of age. When they are born, puppies and kittens have an incomplete immune system; as they start to nurse, they receive their mother’s colostrum, or milk with maternal antibodies. The amount of colostrum that puppies and kittens receive is not known, and veterinarians do not know how long this colostrum lasts in the body. In order to ensure that they can maintain a hearty immune system long into adulthood, it’s recommended they begin a vaccine series.