FAQs About Pet Vaccines

Vaccines are an easy, cost effective way to protect your pet from many dangerous diseases, and keeping your pet updated on some vaccines protects you, as well. Our Fremont Animal Hospital team wants to help by answering frequently asked questions about pet vaccines.

Question: When should my pet start their vaccines?

Answer: When puppies and kittens are born, they receive antibodies from the mother’s milk that protect them from infection, although this protection wanes as they get older. Puppies and kittens should start their vaccinations at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and should receive booster shots every three to four weeks until they reach about 16 weeks of age. 

Q: What vaccines should pets receive?

A: Pet vaccines are divided into two types, including:

  • Core vaccines — Core vaccines are defined as those that protect against diseases endemic to an area, have potential public health significance, are required by law, are highly infectious, and pose a severe disease risk.
  • Non core vaccines — Non core vaccines are those administered to some pets because their lifestyle puts them at higher disease risk.

Q: What are core vaccines for dogs?

A: Core vaccines for dogs include:

  • Rabies — Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. In the United States, rabies is most commonly carried by wildlife and transmitted through an infected animal’s bite. Signs include excessive drooling, aggression, incoordination, and seizures, but rabies is almost always fatal once signs occur.
  • Distemper — Distemper is a viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system of puppies and dogs. Transmission occurs through contact with an infected dog or contaminated objects. Mother dogs can also pass the disease to their unborn puppies. Signs include fever, nasal and ocular discharge, coughing, lethargy, inappetence, and vomiting.
  • Parvovirus — Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks the rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract, causing vomiting and severe, oftentimes bloody, diarrhea. Transmission occurs by contacting an infected dog or contaminated objects.
  • Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) — ICH is caused by an adenovirus that can cause liver inflammation and, in many dogs, respiratory signs and ocular opacity. The virus is transmitted through an infected dog’s urine, nasal discharge, and ocular secretions.

Q: What are core vaccines for cats?

A: Core vaccines for cats include:

  • Rabies — Rabies is a fatal viral disease that attacks the central nervous system in cats as well as dogs.
  • Feline rhinotracheitis — Feline rhinotracheitis is a herpesvirus that causes respiratory disease and conjunctivitis in cats. Transmission occurs by contacting an infected cat or contaminated objects. 
  • Feline calicivirus — Feline calicivirus causes respiratory disease, and ulcerations on the cat’s tongue, hard palate, gums, lips, and nose. Infection occurs by contacting an infected cat or contaminated objects.
  • Panleukopenia — Panleukopenia is a highly contagious infection caused by the feline parvovirus that targets the cat’s bone marrow, GI tract, and the developing fetus. The disease is transmitted in an infected cat’s urine, stool, and nasal secretions.
  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) — FeLV is considered a core vaccine for kittens and outdoor cats, because the disease suppresses the immune system and is the most common cause of cancer in cats. Transmission typically occurs through an infected cat’s bite.

Q: What are non-core vaccines for dogs?

A: Non-core vaccines for dogs include:

  • Lyme disease — Lyme disease is caused by Borellia burgdorferi and is transmitted by black-legged ticks. Signs include enlarged lymph nodes, lethargy, fever, and joint pain.
  • Leptospirosis — Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease most commonly transmitted when a dog swims in or ingests urine-contaminated water that can lead to kidney or liver disease. Signs include lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice.
  • Canine influenza — Canine influenza is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory infection in dogs.
  • Bordetella Bordetella is a common pathogen isolated in dogs affected by kennel cough.
  • Parainfluenza — Parainfluenza is an important pathogen responsible for kennel cough and is transmitted through contact with an infected dog, or by inhaling aerosolized respiratory droplets.
  • Rattlesnake vaccine — The rattlesnake vaccine can decrease the effects of the venom of certain rattlesnake species if a dog is bitten.

Q: What are non-core vaccines for cats?

A: Non-core vaccines for cats include:

  • Chlamydia — Chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydophila felis and causes respiratory signs and conjunctivitis.
  • Bordetella Bordetella is a bacterial disease that causes respiratory infection in cats.

Q: Are pet vaccines required by law?

A: Washington state requires that cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies by the age of 4 months, and they must remain up to date on their rabies vaccination per the vaccine manufacturer’s instructions.

Q: How frequently should my pet be vaccinated?

A: Your pet needs a vaccine booster one year after they finish their puppy or kitten shots, and then every one to three years, depending on the particular vaccine.

Q: What risk is involved when my pet gets vaccinated?

A: Pet vaccines seldom cause side effects, but some pets may experience sleepiness or soreness at the vaccination site. In rare cases, pets experience anaphylactic shock, but this reaction typically occurs soon after the injection in the examination room, so your veterinarian can treat your pet appropriately.

Keeping your pet vaccinated is an easy, cost effective way to protect them against many dangerous diseases. Contact our Fremont Animal Hospital team and make an appointment for your pet, so we can ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

By |2023-01-15T23:59:23+00:00January 12th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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