Vaccinating your pet is a relatively inexpensive but essential way to protect his or her health. In addition to protecting your pet from a wide array of life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can prevent diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans. It’s particularly important to administer vaccinations when pets are puppies and kittens because their young immune systems are still developing and need protection to stay healthy.
While any medical treatment involves some degree of risk, in the case of vaccinations, the benefits far outweigh any potential side effects. Adverse reactions are rare and usually mild and short-term when they do occur.
Which vaccines should your pet have? “Core” vaccines are those recommended—and possibly mandated by law—for most pets. Core vaccines include:
- Rabies (dogs and cats)
- DA2PPV – Distemper, Hepatitis, Adenovirus 2, Parvo, and Parainfluenza (dogs)
- FVRCP – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (cats)
- Feline Distemper and Rabies
- Canine Distemper and Rabies
- Non-core Leptospirosis and Lyme vaccines
Other non-core, but highly suggested vaccinations for cats include FIV for feline immunodeficiency virus and FeLV to protect against feline leukemia. For dogs, Bordetella and canine influenza shots are recommended if they frequent dog parks, boarding kennels, or any place where they’re socializing with other canines.
It’s also important to note that even pets who live primarily indoors should be vaccinated, as they can still be exposed to disease. Your Westside Animal Hospital veterinarian can advise you on which vaccinations are required or recommended for your pet based on age, health, and lifestyle. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at (207) 829-4090.