Vaccinations are a vital aspect of pet health, as they prevent your pet from contracting dangerous, potentially deadly diseases. Without vaccinations, pets live shorter lives that are often plagued with pain and infection. For these reasons it’s important for pet parents to make sure their pets stay up to date on their vaccinations. This is easy to do when you regularly bring your pet in for wellness exams here at Lafayette Veterinary Care Center, as vaccinations are included as part of our wellness package.
Why Vaccines Are Important
- Rabies – Because dogs go outside so often and interact with other animals frequently, it’s extremely important they are vaccinated against rabies. Dogs receive this shot as part of their initial puppy vaccinations, and then your dog should receive a booster shot a year later. After that, the vaccination should be administered every year.
- Leptospirosis – This disease can be potentially deadly if left untreated, so it’s important for dogs to receive this vaccine as recommended by a veterinarian. The leptospirosis vaccine is given in four initial doses at 6, 9, 12 and 15 weeks. Then, adult dogs should receive the vaccination on a yearly basis.
- Bordetella – More commonly known as “kennel cough,” bordetella is one of the most common and most contagious illnesses affecting dogs. We recommend pet parents vaccinate their dogs for Bordetella every six months.
- DHPP – This vaccine protects dogs against distemper, hepatitis, para-influenza, and parvo. Puppies should receive this vaccination every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. After that, the vaccine will be administered one year after the last puppy shot is given and once every year after that.
- Influenza – To protect against dog flu, dogs receive the influenza vaccine in two doses that are three weeks apart as puppies, then one does annually throughout adulthood.
- Rabies – This vaccination is administered to kittens once they reach 12 weeks of age. After that, adult cats receive the rabies vaccination yearly for continued protection against contracting rabies. It is important that both indoor and outdoor cats receive the rabies vaccination as recommended, as both indoor and outdoor cats can contract this deadly infection.
- FVRCP – Commonly called the “feline distemper” vaccination, the FVRCP vaccine protects cats against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus, and panleukopenia. This infection is extremely contagious among cats, and it leads to negative effects on cat’s respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. This vaccination is administered to kittens when they reach six weeks of age, and it is given every three weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old. After that, the vaccination is given yearly to continue protecting against FVRCP.
- FeLV – Feline leukemia virus is a viral disease that can be deadly. It affects cats’ immune systems and can lead to an increased risk of cancer, especially leukemia. This vaccination is given to kittens when they reach nine weeks of age and a second round is administered soon after. A booster is given one year after and every three years following that.
Other Preventive Medications
Other medications should be taken in conjunction with vaccinations to ensure your pet stays as healthy as they possibly can. One of the most important preventive medications you should be giving your pet is heartworm preventive. Heartworms are a type of parasite worm that live in the hearts, lungs, and arteries of small mammals, including cats and dogs. While heartworms are sometimes treatable in dogs, there is no known treatment for cats, so it is extremely important that you prevent heartworm infection with preventive medication. Additionally, external parasites like fleas and ticks can be prevented with regular medication as well. Because fleas and ticks can cause skin irritation, spread disease, and transmit other parasites, it is important that an infestation is prevented with medication.