Vaccinating your pets is a relatively inexpensive but important way to protect their health. In addition to preventing many life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can keep your pet and family safe from diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans.
Core vaccines are recommended (and may be mandated by law) for most dogs and cats, and include:
- Rabies (dogs, cats and ferrets)
- Distemper (dogs and ferrets)
- Parvovirus, and canine hepatitis (dogs)
- Panleukopenia (feline distemper), calicivirus, feline viral rhinotracheitis (cats)
Vaccinations with boosters (typically four weeks apart) are especially important for young puppies and kittens, as they do not have full immunity from many serious infectious diseases. For example, the parvovirus in puppies is a gastrointestinal disease that can kill young pets quickly and with little warning. It’s critical to ensure puppies and kittens have completed the entire series of combination vaccinations to keep them protected.
Another suggested vaccination for cats and kittens is the feline leukemia virus vaccination. This is a “lifestyle” vaccine, primarily for outdoor cats or indoor cats who are exposed to outdoor cats. You may also want your cat protected if you foster cats or kittens.
For dogs and puppies, Bordetella and canine influenza (CIV) shots are a must if they frequent dog parks, boarding kennels, or any place where they’re socializing with other canines. We may also recommend leptospirosis and Lyme disease vaccinations depending on your dog’s lifestyle.