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Vaccination for Cats

Core vaccines are vaccines that every cat, regardless of risk factors, should receive. Core vaccines in cats include vaccination against feline panleukopenia (FPV), feline herpesvirus (FHV), feline calicivirus (FCV), and rabies.

The FPV, FHV, and FCV are combined into a single vaccine – it is abbreviated as FCVR or ‘distemper’ at our practice. This vaccine must be given to kittens at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, while older cats just require a series of 2 vaccines. Once the initial series is finished, the vaccine must be repeated in 1 year, then every 3 years for all cats. Duration of immunity studies show that once a cat has received the initial series, immunity against FPV, FHV, and FCV lasts for at least 3 years.

All cats must be vaccinated for rabies – this is required by law. We are using a new, safer rabies vaccine for cats called PureVax. It contains no adjuvant which significantly reduces the risk of serious side effects such as feline vaccine-associated sarcomas. It is given to kittens initially at 16 weeks of age, then annually to all cats.

Vaccination against feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is indicated for at-risk individuals. An at-risk cat is one that goes outside or has contact with other cats whose FeLV status is unknown. A series of 2 vaccines separated by 3-4 weeks is required initially, and revaccination must occur annually. Indoor cats with no exposure to other cats do not require this vaccine. However, all cats should be tested for FeLV.

We do not advocate vaccination against FIP, FIV, giardia, chlamydiophila, or feline bordetella.

Vaccination for Dogs

Core vaccines are vaccines that every dog, regardless of risk factors, should receive. Core vaccines in dogs include vaccination against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine parvovirus (CPV), canine adenovirus (CAV), and rabies.

The CDV, CPV, and CAV are combined into a single vaccine along with canine parainfluenza virus and canine coronavirus – it is abbreviated as DHPPC or ‘distemper’ at our practice. This vaccine must be given to puppies at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, while older dogs just require a series of 2 vaccines. Once the initial series is finished, the vaccine must be repeated in 1 year, then every 3 years for all dogs. Duration of immunity studies show that once a dog has received the initial series, immunity against these viruses lasts for at least 3 years.

All dogs must be vaccinated for rabies – this is required by law. The first rabies vaccination should be given to puppies at 16 weeks of age. The first vaccination, regardless of the dog’s age, must be repeated one year later, then every 2 years thereafter. Our vaccine is labeled as a 3 year vaccine, but we recommend the vaccine every 2 years to comply with certain city ordinances and ensure adequate protection for your pet.

Other vaccinations for dogs are dependent on your dog’s exposure and risk. Chihuahuas who use an indoor litter box and never leave the house may not need any additional vaccines, while a dog with an active outdoor lifestyle may need all the vaccinations.

Leptospirosis is a serious disease caused by a bacteria transmitted in the urine of wild animals (raccoons, rodents, opossum, deer) or farm animals. It can cause gastrointestinal, liver, and kidney abnormalities that may be life-threatening. Dogs exposed to environments with wild animals or farm animals should be vaccinated for Leptospirosis.

Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks, and dogs with tick exposure should be vaccinated for Lyme disease.

Bordetella or kennel cough is a contagious respiratory disease transmitted between dogs. Environments that carry the most risk include boarding facilities, dog day care facilities, grooming facilities, dog parks, or dog classes/activities such as obedience, agility, or fly ball. Exposure to other dogs in these environments warrants vaccination against Bordetella. If your dog’s lifestyle makes him or her at risk for any of these diseases, it is best to vaccinate. 

It is important to remember that no vaccination provides 100% protection to vaccinated animals. Regardless of your pet’s vaccination schedule, it is important to schedule a physical examination with your veterinarian every year.

Content prepared by St. Francis Animal and Bird Hospital, 1227 Larpenteur Ave. West, Roseville MN. 55113