WHAT VACCINES SHOULD MY PET RECEIVE?
Most veterinarians will recommend "core" vaccines for healthy pets. Core vaccines are considered extremely important to all pets based on their risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans. Here where I practice in the Bahamas the core vaccines for dogs are the DHLPP or "distemper" shot and the Rabies vaccines. The DHLPP vaccine contains combinations of vaccines including Canine Distemper, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Canine Hepatitis and Parainfluenza. Depending on where you live or your dogs lifestyle your vet may also recommend vaccines such as Bordetella (commonly called kennel cough), Lyme disease, Canine Influenza or Coronavirus, these are known as non-core vaccines.
In cats, the core or essential vaccines are the FVRCP vaccine and Rabies. The FVRCP vaccine contains a combination of vaccines including Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calisivirus and Panleukopenia (also known as Kitten Distemper). The non core vaccines for cats are considered Chlamydia, Feline Leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Bordetella.
"Hot Boy" happily got his vaccinations today!
WHEN DO MY PETS NEED TO GET VACCINATED?
Determining when your dog or cat receives its vaccines is also very important and while the vaccination schedule and type of vaccine will be determined by your vet, it is your responsibility as a pet owner to adhere to the vaccination schedule as closely as possible to ensure that your pets vaccines are effective. Puppies and kittens generally begin their vaccination series around the age of 6-8 weeks and will receive their core vaccines every few weeks until they have reached at least 16 weeks of age. Adult dogs and cats can be re-vaccinated every 6 months, annually or every three years depending on the vaccines they receive.
WHAT DO VACCINES ACTUALLY DO?
Vaccines help your pets immune system to fight off disease causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens which are similar in nature to (or look like the disease causing organism) but do not actually cause disease. Introducing your pet to the antigen will cause a mild immune response. That way, if or when your pet is exposed to the actual disease its immune system can recognize it and fight it off completely or reduce the severity of illness from the disease. Vaccines are important to managing the overall health of your pet throughout its lifetime so talk to your vet to determine the vaccination protocol that is most appropriate for your pet.
Snuckums got his shots today...he's not so pleased about it but he knows his owners love him!
Speaking primarily about dogs and cats, vaccines help to protect your pet from contagious diseases so it is extremely important to keep your animals' vaccines up to date, even if they are kept mostly indoors.
If there is anything you should know about animal disease it's that some of them are airborne and can be spread through an open window, or consider your strictly indoor pet accidentally getting out and becoming exposed to a contagious disease. Even animals that frequently go for boarding and grooming, the beach or dog park are at rick to certain diseases, so talk to your vet about what to do before taking your animal to any of these places.
During the month of August many households are busy with back to school activities which may include doctor visits for immunizations for school aged children. At Purrfect Pets we don't want you to forget about your four legged fur-kids at home who will also need their series of puppy or kitten shots, or annual adult vaccinations. So, make it a point to have your pets seen by a vet to be brought up to date with their shots...It can save their lives!