National Immunization Awareness Month: 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 they need them.
Pet Vaccines 101
Vaccines work by preparing 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
We want to make sure you are vaccinating your pets safely and only administering shots when necessary. In order to achieve this, we use titer testing to make sure your pet isn’t being administered more vaccines 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 helps us to determine when to administer your pet’s next round of booster shots.
Core vaccines for U.S. dogs include:
- Rabies virus: Rabies: core & required by law in Red Wing and by the state of Wisconsin
- DA2PP: core for all dogs, but not required by law. This is the version of the canine distemper vaccine we use, which also protects against multiple other contagious diseases.
Non-core vaccines for dogs include:
- Lyme: due to the high prevalence of Lyme disease in our area, we recommend all dogs that spend a significant amount of time outside to get this series
- Leptospirosis: spread through animal urine, particularly from deer; we recommend all dogs that spend significant time in standing water (like bird dogs) or those in an area heavily populated by deer. It is possible to contract Lepto even from digging in dirt that an infected animal had urinated on/in.
- Lyme + Lepto: combination vaccine recommended to dogs who are recommended to get both series; the combination vaccine is slightly more affordable than the individual separate vaccines
- Bordetella: we use the oral bordetella vaccine to protect dogs against kennel cough. We recommended this be given to all dogs who spend significant time around new/strange dogs. Especially those who are boarded, groomed, or go to dog parks or doggy daycare. We also usually like dogs to be up to date on the bordetella vaccine before having any procedure including spay & neuter procedures.
Core vaccines for U.S. cats include:
- Rabies virus: same as for dogs
- FVRCP: feline distemper (+) vaccine. Also same as for dogs.
- 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
Non-core vaccines for U.S. cats include:
Making It Easy to Vaccinate Your Pets
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.