Vaccinations are necessary and important to keep your furry family members healthy and protected throughout their lives. They protect pets from disease by exposing their body’s immune system to inactive or parts of a type of bacteria or virus.

Core vs. non-core vaccinations

Vaccinations are classified into two categories, with core vaccinations being those absolutely necessary to prevent truly virulent diseases from attacking your pet. Non-core vaccinations are optional. However, we may recommend them if you and your dog engage in outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, frequenting dog parks. We may recommend them for cats who spend time outdoors.

Core vaccinations

For dogs, the core vaccinations include:

  • Rabies
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine distemper
  • Canine hepatitis

For cats, they are:

  • Rabies
  • Feline panleukopenia (distemper)
  • Feline herpes virus and calicivirus (respiratory infections)

Non-core vaccinations

For dogs:

  • Lyme disease
  • Infectious bronchitis
  • Bacterial blood infections

For cats:

  • Feline chlamydophila
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (an intestinal disease)
  • Feline leukemia
  • Ringworm

How vaccinations work

The immunizations contain a substance that stimulates the pet’s immune system to build antibodies against targeted infections. As their immunity develops, the dog or cat should be able to resist the diseases if and when they come into contact with them. Once they’ve achieved full immunity, it’s then a matter of reinforcement with annual vaccinations.

What about indoor-only pets?

Some pet owners question whether their pet needs to be vaccinated if he or she never goes outside. The answer is yes! Some of these life-threatening infections are airborne and can even come in through an open window, or the pet could escape outside and be exposed. The bottom line is this: pets need to be vaccinated to be protected.

Puppies and kittens

Pet vaccination needs to start at an early age. For the first 6 to 8 weeks of age, puppies and kittens are protected by their mothers’ immunity, but after weaning, they are then very vulnerable to being struck by one of these dreaded diseases. This is the time our vet urges you to begin the schedule of core vaccinations for your pet. We administer their vaccines more frequently than older pets and right up to 16-20 weeks old.

Our doctors will help you decide which vaccines are appropriate for your pet’s risk factors. We offer vaccinations during regular business hours, but you must call to schedule an appointment. You can also visit us every Sunday during our walk-in vaccination clinic. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us.