Like humans, pets need annual boosters to reduce the risk of lethal diseases. One aspect of being a responsible pet owner is ensuring that your pet receives their annual vaccines. Knowing how often you need to vaccinate your pet will depend on the type of vaccinations, and your pet’s risk-factors for certain diseases.
For instance, vets will recommend your dog has all of their core vaccines as a puppy, as well as suggest non-core vaccines, if your pet goes to doggy daycares, the dog park, the groomers, or has other environmental influences that could put your dog at a higher risk of contracting certain diseases.
What are Vaccines?
Vaccines in pets work the same way as they do in humans, by triggering an immune-response to help your pet’s immune system fight off future infections from disease-causing factors. Vaccines jump-start your pet’s immune system by helping them create antibodies needed to fight off disease-causing organisms. Vaccines can help your pet become immune to one or more diseases, or they can also lessen the severity of a disease, when it comes in contact with your pet. In the last century, vaccinations have helped prevent deaths and diseases in millions of pets by protecting them from contagious diseases and improving their overall quality of life.
Reasons You Should Vaccinate Your Pet
There are a number of reasons you should vaccinate your pet, but the primary reason is that vaccinations prevent illnesses and save lives. Vaccinations are also an investment in your pet’s future, since they will cut back on costly treatments for diseases that are easily prevented. They not only help prevent the spread of disease that are transmitted from animal to animal, but they also stop the spread of diseases from animal to human. Many states have ordinances that require pet owners to vaccinate their pets, especially from diseases that are widely prevalent in wildlife, like rabies and distemper.
Why Do Puppies and Kittens Require Multiple Vaccinations?
Young animals are at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases, since their immune systems are not mature enough to fight off diseases yet. Puppies and kittens receive some antibodies from their mother’s milk; however, this is only temporary, and the protection they receive from milk decreases as they age.
Your pet’s first dose of booster vaccines will help spark her immune response against viruses, while the following doses will help to further trigger your pet’s immune system to produce its own antibodies to protect from diseases.
For the most effective protection, vaccines are usually schedules 3-4 weeks apart within the first few month of age. Most puppies and kittens will receive their final booster vaccines at about 4 months of age. We might recommend a different schedule, depending on your pet’s risk factors and size. It’s imperative that your pet receives every round of vaccination, since incomplete vaccine series can leave a gap in your pet’s immune system, making them susceptible to infections.
What Vaccinations Does My Pet Need?
We will recommend core vaccines based on the diseases that are prevalent in our geographical area, as well as non-core vaccines, based on your pet’s unique requirements. In order to determine which vaccines your pet needs, we will need to know about your pet’s lifestyle, your plans of travel, and your pet’s contact level with other animals. Some of the most common core vaccines for dogs include:
● Adenovirus (Canine hepatitis)
Common non-core vaccines for dogs include:
● Lyme Disease
● Canine Influenza
● Adenovirus Intranasal
Some non-core vaccines, like Bordetella, Lyme, and Leptospirosis, are bacterial vaccines, which can sometimes have negative physical responses in dogs. For that reason, we will only recommend these, if we believe that your pet is at a higher risk of contracting these diseases.
How Often Do Pets Need to Be Vaccinated?
Most vaccinations will need to be provided every 3 years, in order to ensure your pet has effective protection from diseases. Some vaccinates will require more routine scheduling to continually protect your pet. We will decide a vaccination program that is effective for your pet, based on your pet’s risk-factors, size, and other elements.
Rabies is the most important vaccine your pet will receive, which will require annual boosters. Rabies is a 100% lethal disease in pets, making prevention the most important way to protect your pet. Your pet’s first rabies shot will require annual boosters, then a second vaccination after one year, and will then need to be re-administered every 3 years.
Want to learn more about vaccination schedules for dogs and cats, and the importance of scheduling routine vaccinations? Call our office today .