The Upshot of Pet Immunizations: All About Pet Vaccines

Thanks to significant advances in veterinary science and an increased understanding of animal behavior and welfare principles, pets are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Part of their continued wellness is the prevention of communicable diseases through improved hygiene, preventive care, and of course, pet vaccines.

Knowing which vaccines your pet needs – and when – is an important part of pet ownership. At The Bluffs Pet Clinic, we take your pet’s preventive care seriously.  We aim to help you determine which pet vaccines your pet needs and when, which is a big part of that responsibility.

Pet Vaccines 101

Vaccines essentially prepare the body for a potential attack from a disease-causing organism. Vaccines stimulate the immune system by introducing molecules that mimic specific diseases. If your pet is ever exposed to the actual disease, their immune system will already know what it needs to do to either fight the disease or reduce its severity.

The term “core vaccines” refers to those that are considered essential by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), regardless of the location or lifestyle of a pet. Non-core vaccines are administered depending on the pet’s individual exposure risk.

Pet Vaccines At The Bluffs Pet Clinic

As wonderful as they are, pet vaccines are not without risk, which is why we use titer testing to make sure your pet isn’t being administered more vaccine than he or she needs.

By drawing a small amount of your pet’s blood and diluting it at varying ratios, we are able to determine how much (or how little) your pet’s body has reacted to specific vaccines. The presence or absence of antibodies to specific diseases in your pet’s bloodstream help us to determine when to administer your pet’s next round of booster shots.

Canine Vaccines

Core vaccines for U.S. dogs include:

  • Rabies virus – First dose at 4 months, booster 1 year later and every 1-3 years throughout life
  • Canine distemper virus – Three doses between 6 and 16 weeks, booster 1 year later and every 1-3 years throughout life
  • Canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis) – Three doses between 6 and 16 weeks, booster 1 year later and every 1-3 years throughout life
  • Canine parvovirus – Three doses between 6 and 16 weeks, booster 1 year later and every 1-3 years throughout life

Non-core vaccines for dogs include Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease, and parainfluenza.

Feline Vaccines

Core vaccines for U.S. cats include:

  • Rabies virus – First dose between 8 and 12 weeks, second dose 1 year later, followed by boosters every 1-3 years
  • Feline herpesvirus – First dose between 6 and 16 weeks, second dose 1 year later, followed by boosters every 3 years
  • Feline calicivirus – First dose between 6 and 16 weeks, second dose 1 year later, followed by boosters every 3 years
  • Panleukopenia virus – First dose between 6 and 16 weeks, second dose 1 year later, followed by boosters every 3 years

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline chlamydiosis are common non-core vaccines for cats.

Making It Easy

Committing to your pet’s ongoing health and wellness is the best way to provide a long and healthy life for them, and we strive to make that commitment easier for our clients with our wellness plans.

Our puppy, kitten, dog, and cat wellness plans are designed to set your pet up for success by making sure he or she receives all of the necessary immunizations, diagnostic testing, and other preventive services on schedule and at a price you can afford.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about pet vaccines or wellness plans at The Bluffs Pet Clinic.