What to Know About Vaccinating Your Pet

Puppies and kittens receive an initial series of vaccines during their early weeks of life. Antibodies that puppies and kittens receive from their mother can neutralize vaccines. The age at which these maternal antibodies wear off varies from pet to pet so it’s essential that young animals receive boosters approximately every three weeks until they are over 16 weeks of age.

After they have gone through their initial series, dogs should be vaccinated against rabies virus, distemper virus, adenovirus, and parvovirus. In our mountain area, vaccination against Leptospirosis (a disease people can get) is also very important. Dogs that socialize with many other dogs are boarded at kennels, and attend dog shows or dog parks will need to be vaccinated for Bordetella (kennel cough) and Canine Influenza. Rattlesnakes and Lyme disease are two more hazards in our area for which vaccines are available. Dogs should also have a blood parasite screen yearly for heartworm disease and receive heartworm prevention year round.

Cats should be vaccinated for rabies virus, feline panleukopenia virus, herpes virus, and calicivirus. Kittens and stray cats should be tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. A vaccine preventing feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is also available.

Your veterinarian will recommend a vaccine protocol that best fits your pet’s lifestyle. Vaccinating your pet is the best way to prevent certain diseases in your dog or cat, but no set vaccination frequency is right for every pet.

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