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What Vaccinations Does Your Pet Really Need?

Posted In: Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness

With so many vaccinations available for pets, it is easy to become confused about which vaccines your pet actually needs. At AMCMA we follow the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association vaccine guidelines, which recommend that pets are vaccinated according to their risk of exposure to the disease.

Vaccines are classified as Core and Non-Core Vaccines. A core vaccine is one that all pets should be given because all pets are at risk of being exposed. Non-core vaccines are vaccines that are recommended based on the pet’s risk of contracting the disease the vaccine is designed to protect against.

What are the core vaccines pets need?

Rabies – for Dogs and Cats
All dogs and cats are at risk of being exposed to this viral disease, which is spread by saliva from an infected animal. The law requires that dogs and cats must be vaccinated for Rabies.  

DA2PP – for Dogs
Frequently referred to as the “Distemper Series” for dogs, DA2PP vaccinates dogs against Distemper, Adenovirus type 2, Parvovirus, and Parainfulenza Viruses. Puppies should receive their first booster starting around six to eight weeks of age and get another booster every three to four weeks until the puppy is around 16 weeks old. Adult dogs should have the DA2PP vaccination annually.

FVRCP – for Cats The feline “Distemper Series” vaccinates cats against the Rhinotracheitis, Calici, and Panleukopenia Viruses. All kittens and cats are at risk for contracting these viral diseases. Kittens should receive their first vaccination around six to eight weeks of age. They will need a booster shot every three to four weeks until they have had a total of four vaccinations. Adult cats should have the FVRCP vaccination annually.

What are some of the non-core vaccines that your veterinarian may recommend?

Bordetella – for Dogs
Any dog that goes to dog parks, boarding kennels, groomers, or who frequently comes in contact with other dogs should be given the Bordetella vaccination. It helps prevent kennel cough, which is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to pneumonia and other serious complications.

Canine Influenza – for Dogs

There are two strains of the dog flu in the United States. The vaccine protects against both strains of Canine Influenza. Any dog that goes to dog parks, boarding kennels, groomers, or who frequently comes in contact with other dogs should be vaccinated.

Leptospirosis – for Dogs

This is a bacterial disease spread by wildlife. Dogs can contract this deadly disease by drinking standing water, like small creeks or ponds, where water stagnates. The bacteria in the water attacks the liver and kidneys. Pets can spread the infection to people. Any dog that spends time outside or comes in contact with ponds, streams, or wildlife should be vaccinated for Leptospirosis.

Lyme Disease – for Dogs
This bacterial disease is spread by the bites of infected ticks. Once thought of as a disease of the northeast, the range of where this disease can be found has expanded in recent years. Dogs that have frequent exposure to ticks should be vaccinated.

Feline Leukemia – for Cats

Cats can contact this viral disease directly from the blood or saliva from infected cats. Any cat that spends time outside or lives with other cats should be tested and vaccinated. After the initial series is complete, we recommend vaccinating every other year.

If you have questions about core or non-core vaccinations, just give us a call!

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.