Why Initial Vaccines and Regular Boosters Are Important to Your Pet’s Health
Vaccines help keep pets protected against diseases that are highly contagious, life-threatening—and PREVENTABLE. Call us today to make an appointment for your puppy or kitten’s initial vaccinations or to schedule your pet’s regular vaccine boosters!
How Vaccines Work
Vaccines are designed to reduce the chance of pets getting certain diseases. As an added benefit, if a pet does get a disease that he or she was vaccinated against, the symptoms are often less severe and don’t tend to last as long.
“Core” vaccines provide protection against rabies, as well as severe respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses. Some of these vaccines are given together, as a combination vaccine.
Other vaccines, such as the one for kennel cough, help protect pets based on exposure risk and other factors. These are referred to as “lifestyle” vaccines.
At Vedder Mountain Veterinary Clinic, we consider the core vaccines and several of the lifestyle vaccines to be essential for all our patients.
Recommended Vaccines for Dogs
- Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza
- Bordetella bronchiseptica (commonly referred to as kennel cough or canine infectious respiratory disease complex)
- Canine leptospirosis
- Lyme disease
Recommended Vaccines for Cats
- Feline calicivirus, viral rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia (also called feline parvovirus or feline distemper)
- Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) for kittens
Why Puppies and Kittens Need Vaccines
The antibodies that young pets receive from their mothers’ milk protects them while their immune systems are first developing. But this protection declines over the first few weeks to months of life, making puppies and kittens susceptible to diseases. This is when vaccines first become valuable.
We vaccinate puppies or kittens every few weeks, from when they’re 6 to 8 weeks of age until about 16 to 20 weeks. These vaccinations stimulate a pet’s immune system to kick in. Finishing the full series of puppy/kitten vaccines is crucial for providing your pet with complete protection.
Vaccines set puppies and kittens up for a healthier life down the road!
Why Adult and Senior Pets Need Vaccines
Although diseases like parvovirus and distemper may be thought of as ones that only puppies and kittens get, the truth is that pets need boosters for certain vaccines at regular intervals throughout life to ensure that they stay adequately protected. This is the case for several reasons:
- Not all pets who are vaccinated develop an immune response.
- A pet’s level of immunity to specific diseases decreases over time, based on how long vaccines remain protective.
- Other vaccines don’t provide pets with long-term immunity, so these vaccines need to be given more frequently.
- As pets age, their immune system tends to decline, so vaccinations can help boost an older pet’s immunity.
Even indoor cats benefit from the protection that vaccines provide.
How to Protect Your Pet
By making sure your pet is vaccinated following your veterinarian’s recommendations, you’ll be helping to keep your pet protected against highly contagious, potentially deadly diseases. And the peace of mind that comes from knowing your pet won’t have to needlessly suffer from a preventable disease is priceless.