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Our main focus at Pomona Animal Hospital is to educate you about protecting your pet against preventable diseases and ailments. The first step is by making sure your pet is current on vaccines. This begins with a series of at least 2 vaccines given about 3 weeks apart. For pets under 12 weeks, this continues until your pet is 15 weeks old. For puppies this includes a DHPPC combo vaccine (to protect against distemper and parvo) and bordatella vaccine to protect against kennel cough. Kittens will get a FVRCP combo vaccine to protect against panleukopenia, and FeLV to protect them from feline leukemia. Once your pet is current, the combo, bordatella, and FeLV vaccines are boostered annually. Last, but not least, your pet will get a rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age or older. The 2nd rabies vaccine is given in 1 year and then every 3 years.
Last reviewed May 2005
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are health products that
trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight
future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the
severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection
altogether. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by
Is it important to vaccinate?
Yes! Pets should be vaccinated to
protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. Experts
agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has
prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even though some
formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still
highly recommended because these serious disease agents
Which vaccines should pets receive?
When designing a vaccination program, veterinarians consider the pet's
lifestyle, related disease risks, and the characteristics of available
vaccines. "Core vaccines" (e.g., rabies, feline panleukopenia, feline
viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, canine distemper,
canine parvovirus infection, and canine hepatitis) are recommended for
most pets. Additional "non-core vaccines" (e.g., feline leukemia,
canine kennel cough and other vaccines) may be appropriate based on the
pet's particular needs.
How often should pets be revaccinated?
Veterinarians have traditionally vaccinated annually; however, they are now learning that some vaccines
How does my pet's lifestyle affect its vaccination program?
Some pets are homebodies and have modest opportunity for exposure to
infectious disease, whereas others have a great deal of exposure to
other pets and/or wildlife and infectious disease by virtue of their
activities. Still other pets live in geographic areas that place them
at greater risk for contracting some infectious diseases. Differences in
lifestyle illustrate the importance of customizing a vaccination
program to individual patients.
Are there risks associated with vaccination?
Vaccines have protected millions of animals from illness and death
caused by infectious diseases. All medical procedures, however, carry
with them some risk. Fortunately, in the case of vaccination, serious
adverse responses are very infrequent. Veterinarians minimize risk by
carefully selecting vaccines on the basis of a pet's individual needs
and by choosing appropriate injection sites. In an effort to find ways
to prevent even these limited numbers of adverse responses from
occurring, the AVMA is working with government and industry to redefine
how information regarding adverse responses is gathered, analyzed, and
Is serologic testing useful to evaluate immunity to some diseases?
Theoretically, tests that measure antibody response (i.e., serologic titers) may help veterinarians determine the need for revaccination in some cases. Unfortunately, veterinarians cannot be certain that a specific concentration of antibody is always protective or that a lower concentration leaves an animal unprotected.
This information has been prepared as a
service by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Redistribution
is acceptable, but the document's original content and format must be
maintained, and its source must be prominently identified.
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