A sensible immunization program is a critical component of preventative medical care for companion animals. Unfortunately, too many pet owners let the potential for side effects frighten them into forgoing vaccinations altogether. This leaves pets vulnerable to serious infectious diseases.
There is, however, a way to protect your pet while minimizing side effects. New veterinary guidelines call for fewer and less frequent immunizations, minimizing dangers. To make sure your furry friend receives appropriate vaccinations, you need to understand how veterinary experts prioritize vaccines and learn which vaccines your pet needs.
Prevent Pet Diseases with Vaccination
Vaccine Classification Veterinary experts divide vaccines into three categories: core, non core and other. Core vaccines are those with benefits that clearly outweigh potential risks. These are the ones that experts believe every animal should have because these vaccines protect against diseases that are both reasonably common and potentially deadly. Non core vaccines are necessary for pets that are at an increased risk of contracting certain diseases by virtue of having certain lifestyle factors or living in high risk areas. Other vaccines are those that are available but are not recommended by most experts. Using this classification system, your veterinarian can help you to tailor a specific vaccine program based on your animal’s lifestyle.
Canine Vaccines Most veterinary experts agree that core vaccines for every puppy include rabies, distemper, canine adenovirus-2 and parvovirus. Adult animals with uncertain vaccine histories should also receive these vaccinations. Non core canine vaccines include those against parainfluenza, leptopsorosis, Lyme disease and Bordatella bronchiseptica. Factors that influence whether or not your puppy or adult dog needs some or all of these non core vaccines include:
- The area in which you live.
- Whether or not your dog has access to ponds, streams or rivers.
- How much contact your dog has with other dogs.
Feline Vaccines Core vaccines for cats include panleukopenia, rabies, feline herpesvirus -1 and calicivirus. Some cat non core vaccines that are recommended based on lifestyle factors include feline leukemia virus (FeLV), Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). If you have a cat that goes outside, your veterinarian is likely to recommend the FeLV vaccine to you and to discuss the FIV vaccine with you. The Chlamydophila felis vaccine is only recommended in high risk environments, such as catteries and animal shelters, and in endemic areas.
Frequency of Vaccination Every healthy puppy or kitten and unvaccinated adult animal should receive an initial series of vaccines. In most cases, annual boosters are not necessary. Instead, your veterinarian will consider your pet’s risk factors and the duration of immunity conferred by each vaccine in order to decide when you need to revaccinate your pet. Go here to understand when is the perfect time to get pet insurance?