Vaccinations for Pets

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Vaccinations are an important part of routine veterinary care to help protect pets from serious sickness and disease. From the time dogs and cats are puppies and kittens, they generally require a series of shots at each of their wellness visits. These shots are essential for keeping your furry friends healthy and well, which can help them thrive throughout their lives. 

Taking your pet to get shots can feel unsettling. It’s natural to have questions about why your pet needs vaccines, the risks they may cause, and why it’s so important to stay up to date on your pet’s vaccines. We hope the following information is helpful to you.

Common Questions About Vaccinations for Pets

Pet-owners often have questions about their pets’ vaccinations. Vaccinations are an important part of routine wellness-care visits for pets and with good reason. Here are some answers to questions our staff hears frequently hear. 

Why Does My Pet Need Routine Vaccinations?

Like people, pets are vulnerable to certain viruses and other germs they can catch from other animals or may encounter just from going outside. Many of these diseases can make pets very sick. Some, such as rabies, can be deadly – and can even be passed to people if an infected animal bites someone. The good news is, we have vaccines that can protect your pet from these diseases.

Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?

The exact regimen of vaccines a pet should get varies, depending on the type of pet you have, whether your pet goes outdoors, what diseases are common in your area, and other factors. There are some “core vaccines” that most cats and dogs should get. 

Core Vaccines for Cats 

Cats should get immunization against:

  • Feline distemper, series starting at 6 to 8 weeks
  • Feline herpes, series starting at 6 to 8 weeks
  • Feline calcivirus, series starting at 6 to 8 weeks
  • Rabies, as early as 12 weeks

Testing and vaccination are strongly recommended for feline leukemia, as well, especially for cats who go outdoors. This is a very contagious virus, easily spread among cats. Cats that go outdoors are at greater risk of exposure.

Your cat may also encounter parasites or other germs from eating birds and rodents or digging in dirt. If your cat goes outside, talk to your vet about preventives for these illnesses, too. 

Core Vaccines for Dogs 

Dogs should get immunization against:

  • Parvovirus, serie starting at 6 to 8 weeks
  • Distemper, series starting at 6 to 8 weeks
  • Canine hepatitis, series starting at 6 to 8 weeks
  • Rabies, as early as 12 weeks

Additionally, it’s often advisable to vaccinate against kennel cough, a very contagious infection dogs can catch from other dogs when they go to the groomer, a dog park, a “doggie daycare” center, or other community environments.

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Emergency cases must take priority as necessary.

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