Taking care of your pet goes beyond grooming and making sure they are well-fed and loved. It also means getting your pet vaccinated for common diseases that can have harmful consequences on their health. Not only are vaccines beneficial for your pet’s health, but they are safe to administer and have few, if any, side effects.
At My Best Friend Veterinary Center, we take care of dogs and cats as if they were our own pets. We understand discussing vaccines can make some pet owners anxious, but we are here to offer you reassurance and peace of mind as we educate you on vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
We take a minimalist approach when it comes to giving vaccines to dogs and cats, meaning we will not recommend vaccines that are not necessary for your pet’s health. This focus on health puts us in a class of our own when it comes to caring for cats and dogs, and we hope you find our personalized approach to pet care refreshing and helpful.
Vaccinating Your Pet
Your pets should begin to receive vaccines when they are very young. For puppies and kittens, this means they can be vaccinated as young as six weeks old. After they receive their first vaccines, we will set you up with a booster schedule with occasional appointments for the next few months to get their immunity levels to a maximum.
Once your dog or cat has completed their vaccine schedule, they will receive annual boosters during their annual wellness visits.
Pregnant animals are not typically vaccinated.
The most common vaccines we give to dogs include a Bordetella vaccine, the DHLP-P vaccine, commonly known as the 5-in-1 vaccine, and the rabies vaccine.
Bordetella is a bacterium that causes a severe cough, often called “kennel cough”, and most boarding and large grooming facilities require protection.
The 5-in-1 vaccine protects against five diseases:
Rabies is another vaccine we recommend for dogs. After an initial dose that will last one year, we recommend boostering with a dose that then lasts three years. Re-vaccinating more frequently than this does not bolster their immunity any better than keeping to a three-year vaccination schedule.
All local governments require all pets be protected against rabies, as it is a human health concern. Even indoor pets need protection, as even a bat getting into your home could lead to a bite that would infect them with rabies.
Canine influenza is a new problem many dog owners may be familiar with and should be concerned about. Many kennels are requiring the flu vaccine to protect your dog from catching it while in their care, so it is a good idea to vaccinate your dog against the flu since it can easily spread between dogs and possibly could lead to serious illness and, in rare cases, death.
Cats receive a standard vaccine known as FVRCP. Also called the “feline distemper combo,” this vaccine is part of a lifetime preventive health measure for cats and kittens. The three upper respiratory diseases it protects against include:
Cats, like dogs, also receive the rabies vaccine as a preventative measure to protect against bites from infected animals.
Finally, we recommend that outdoor cats also receive the feline leukemia vaccine (FeLV) which is not considered a core vaccine, but will protect against the risks associated with the feline leukemia virus encountered in neighborhood cats.
During your wellness visit, you will likely see the vaccine process in action. Vaccines for cats and dogs are administered subcutaneously (not intramuscularly) in the nape of the neck or side of the chest.
Vaccines have few side effects, but some reactions to watch for include vomiting or a puffy face. If you notice your pet reacting in this way, an antihistamine can be given. If you notice any adverse reactions following your visit, please do not hesitate to contact us about your concerns.
In general, most pets have no reaction to vaccines, making them a great option to keeping your pet happy and healthy.
If you are interested in having your dog or cat vaccinated or have additional questions about pet vaccinations, contact us today!