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Many pet owners consider their pets to valued members of their family. As such, many pet owners strive to protect their pets by whatever means possible. Pet vaccinations are just one of the many ways you can protect your pet from illnesses and keep him or her happy and healthy.

What Are Pet Vaccines?

Pet vaccines are injections of organisms that resemble diseases, called antigens. Antigens rouse the body????????s immune system and help the body develop immunity against diseases without actually causing that disease in the body. Just like humans, pets are given vaccines starting at an early age and on a regular basis, to prevent them from getting and spreading diseases.

When Should My Pet Be Vaccinated?

Puppies and kittens get antibodies from their mother????????s milk. These antibodies protect them when they are very young. At VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital, our veterinarians recommend your pet gets vaccinated around 6 to 8 weeks of age, once he or she begins to lose these antibodies. The actual vaccination schedule will be established by your vet, based on the needs of your pet and the laws of your state.

Canine Vaccine Protocol:

  • Rabies- 1st vaccination given after 12 weeks of age, is boosted in one year, and then every 3 years
  • Distemper- 1st vaccination given after 6 weeks of age and boosted every 3-4 weeks until pet reaching 16 weeks of age. A single dose will be given 1 year later, and then every 3 years.
  • Parvo- 1st vaccination given after 6-8 weeks of age, then every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks. It is boosted at 1 year, then every 3 years.
  • Bordetella- 1st vaccination is given 6-8 weeks of age, then every 6 months. A type of bronchitis, this disease is also known as Kennel Cough.
  • Leptospirosis- 1st vaccination given after 12 weeks of age, boosted in 3-4 weeks, then yearly. This is a disease spread to dogs by way of local wildlife.
  • Canine Influenza (CIV) ???????? There are two H3N8 CIV vaccines available that both aid in the control of the disease and contain inactivated whole viruses. Dogs get flu just like people.

What Vaccines Does a Dog Need?

The ASPCA recommends that puppies receive vaccines against rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis. These are the core vaccinations that are recommended for all puppies. Some other vaccinations are available for dogs and may be distributed as needed.

Feline Vaccine Protocol:

  • Rabies- 1st vaccination given after 12 weeks of age, is boosted in one year, and then every 3 years
  • Feline Distemper- 1st vaccination given 6-8 weeks of age, boosted every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks old. A single dose will be given 1 year following initial series, and then every 3 years.
  • Feline Leukemia- 1st vaccination given 8-10 weeks of age, boosted in 3-4 weeks, then annually. This vaccine is only for cats who go outdoors.

What Vaccines Does a Cat Need?

According to the ASPCA, the core cat vaccinations include feline distemper, feline calici virus, rabies and feline herpes virus type I. Some cat owners opt for other vaccines, such as the feline leukemia virus vaccine. This virus and other feline afflictions have been described in-depth on the Cornell Feline Health Center website.

For more information about which vaccines are right for your pet contact us today - 615-239-0391. VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital serves Nashville, TN and the surrounding areas. We administer vaccines, perform surgeries and provide other pet health care services.

Can Vaccines Hurt My Pet?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Your pet may display mild symptoms after receiving a vaccine. These symptoms may range from soreness to allergic reactions and fevers.

In rare cases, pets can develop the disease they are being vaccinated against. This type of reaction is very rare, and is generally not a concern for the owners of healthy pets. Although vaccines are not perfect, in general, vaccines are considered to be a triumph of medical science. Given to pets, vaccines save the lives of people as well as animals.

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