Vaccination FAQs from our Vets in Durham, NC
Vaccinating your pet can prevent major illnesses and help keep your pet happy and healthy. Here are some of the most common vaccination questions we receive.
Why should I have my pet vaccinated?
Vaccines help prevent potentially life-threatening illnesses in your pet. Life threatening diseases and infections for dogs include rabies, parvovirus and distemper. Rabies causes destruction of your pet’s central nervous system. Parvovirus causes destruction of your pet’s immune system, vomiting and diarrhea. Distemper causes pneumonia and seizures. All of these illnesses can be prevented by vaccinating your pet.
Life-threatening illnesses for cats include rabies, feline distemper, and leukemia. Rabies in cats causes central nervous system destruction. Feline distemper causes low white blood cell counts and vomiting. Feline leukemia also wreaks havoc on a cat’s immune system and can cause cancer.
When should I take my pet into the veterinarian to get vaccinated?
Both cats and dogs can be taken to our veterinarian to be vaccinated when they are between one and a half months to four months old. By vaccinating early, you are ensuring that your pet does not contract the illnesses and remains healthy throughout his or her life.
What are the core dog vaccines?
Core dog vaccines include rabies, which is also required by law, distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis. Rabies should be first administered at three months. A booster shot should be given 12 months later, and additional boosters should be given every three years. Distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis should be first administered at six to eight weeks of age with an additional two to three doses given every three to four weeks.
What are the core cat vaccines?
Core cat vaccines include rabies, feline distemper, herpes and calicivirus. These vaccines should be first administered at six weeks of age. Rabies should be administered a second time 12 months after the initial dose. Feline distemper and herpes requires three additional shots before 16 weeks of age. Calicivirus requires two additional vaccines that are spaced between three and four weeks apart.
What are non-core vaccines and does my pet need them?
Non-core vaccines are up to the discretion of our veterinarian and the owner. If your cat or dog is at high risk for any of the additional illnesses, vaccination is usually recommended. Non-core dog vaccines include parainfluenza, kennel cough, lyme disease, leptospirosis and canine influenza. The primary non-core cat vaccine is feline leukemia.
If my pet never goes outside, should I have my pet vaccinated?
If your cat or dog remains mostly inside and away from other animals, our vet can help you determine which vaccines should be administered. In general, your pet should still receive all of the core vaccines. Rabies vaccination is required by law, since it can be transmitted to humans.
How often should my pet be revaccinated?
After the initial vaccinations and boosters, most vaccines will need to be boosted every one to three years.