25 May Shots! Shots! Shots! Everybody! (When and Which Vaccine Shots to Get for Your Pet)
Shots! Shots! Shots! Everybody! (When and Which Shots to Get for Your Pet)
Congratulations on your new pet. You’ve fallen in love with your new dog or cat, whether they are newborn or an older animal, and you want them to be your best friend for life.
Now the next important thing to do, especially if you have brought home a young animal, is to keep them up to date on their shots. Animal vaccine schedules can be confusing, so we’ve broken it down into its simplest forms.
Why Do I Need to Vaccinate My Pet?
Veterinarians have understood the importance of vaccinating pets for decades. It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure that your fur baby will have a long and healthy life.
But if you are new to pet ownership, vaccines can be confusing at first because there are several different vaccines for different diseases and some vaccines have different types or combinations.
Your vet can help you figure out which are the right vaccine types for your individual pet.
Why Do Kittens and Puppies Need a Series of Vaccinations?
When dogs and cats are very young, they are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases because their immune system is still maturing.
Although they gain protective antibodies from their mother’s milk, these are not always enough to protect them as they mature. So, it’s important that your kitten or puppy begins their series of shots before their maternal antibodies completely subside.
Typically, the first dose readies your pet’s immune system to fight against a certain bacterial infection or virus and subsequent doses help to strengthen that immune response. This is why it’s vital that your pet completes the full series of shots. Otherwise, their protection will not be complete.
Reasons to Get Your Pet’s Shots
Don’t be tempted to risk not vaccinating your pet because vaccinations:
- Prevent many pet illnesses that can be fatal
- Help prevent expensive treatments down the road
- Reduce the risk of disease passing between animals
- Protect pets from animal diseases that are prevalent in the wild (such as rabies)
- Are required by some states or local ordinances
Understanding How Pet Vaccinations Work
A vaccination contains antigens that help your pet’s immune system right bacterial or viral infections. An antigen is an organism that is similar to a disease-causing virus or disease, but it does not actually cause the disease. Instead, it acts as a mild stimulant to your pet’s immune system.
In the future, if your pet is exposed to the actual virus or bacteria, it’s immune system will be triggered and will know how to fight the illness completely, or at the very least, to reduce its severity.
There are two types of pet vaccines:
- Core vaccines: These are considered to be vital to all pets because of the severity of the illness the risk of exposure, or the possibility that the disease may be transferable to humans.
- Voluntary vaccines: These are not considered vital but may benefit some animals because of their risk exposure or particular health needs.
Your vet will explain your pet’s vaccination schedule. The timing of your pet’s vaccinations will largely depend on their medical history, age, and where they live.
What Vaccinations Does My Pet Need?
Core Dog Vaccines
- Rabies: First shot at three months, then an annual booster shot.
- Distemper: First shot at four months, Second shot 4 weeks later. Follow-up shot 1 year later, then a booster every 3 years.
- Parvovirus: The shot at 4 months. The second 1 month later. There is a follow-up vaccine after twelve months then a booster every three years.
- Adenovirus 1 (canine hepatitis): First shot at 4 months. . Second and third doses at 4 and 8 weeks later. Follow-up shot after 1 year, then a booster every 3 years.
- Adenovirus 2 (kennel cough): First shot at 4 months. Second and third shots at 4 and 8 weeks later. Follow-up shot after 1 year, then a booster every three years.
Core Cat Vaccinations
Essential vaccines for your cat:
- Rabies: First shot from 8 weeks. Two additional doses twelve months apart, then a yearly booster.
- Feline distemper: First shot from 6 weeks. Two additional doses 3-4 weeks apart, then one more dose twelve months later.
- Feline herpes virus: First shot from 6 weeks. Two additional doses 3-4 weeks apart. Follow-up shot after twelve months, then a booster every three years.
- Calicivirus: First dose from 6 weeks. Two further doses, 2-4 weeks apart. A follow-up shot after twelve months, then a booster every three years.
You love your pat and want the best for him or her, which is why it’s important to establish her vaccination schedule with your vet and keep to it so that you can maximize your dog or cat’s healthy and longevity.