Vaccinations for Cats
Core vaccines are vaccines that every cat, regardless of risk factors, should receive. Core vaccines in cats include vaccination against feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, and rabies.
Herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia vaccines are combined into a single injection – it is abbreviated as HCP 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 use a 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.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine 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.
Vaccinations 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, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and rabies.
Canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, and canine parainfluenza virus vaccines are combined into a single injection – it is abbreviated as DAPP 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 3 years thereafter.
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 (rats, raccoons, rodents, opossum, deer) or farm animals. It can cause gastrointestinal, liver, and kidney abnormalities that may be life-threatening. Recently, leptospirosis has become more common in urban areas. Small breed dogs are at greater risk of disease than larger breed dogs.
Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks, and dogs with tick exposure should be vaccinated for Lyme disease.
Bordetella is one of the bacteria that can cause a disease called kennel cough, 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 Hospital, 1227 Larpenteur Ave. West, Roseville MN, 55113