Common Pet Questions

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When should my pet be vaccinated and for what?

Puppies should be vaccinated with the basic vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks, beginning at 6-8 weeks of age, until they are at least 16 weeks of age. Rabies vaccine should first be administered between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Dogs over 4 months of age either unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated or those of questionable vaccine status should receive basic vaccines which are then boostered in 3 to 4 weeks as well as a rabies vaccine which should be first boostered in 12 months.

Basic vaccines include distemper (respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts), adenovirus (liver), leptospirosis (kidneys), parainfluenza (respiratory tract) and parvovirus (intestinal tract).

Once either of the above series is complete, the basic vaccines should be boostered in 12 months and then every 2-3 years. Rabies vaccine should be boostered 12 months after the initial vaccine and at least every 3 years thereafter with a properly licensed vaccine.

Kittens should be vaccinated with the basic vaccines beginning at 6-8 weeks of age and boostered every 3 to 4 weeks until 15-16 weeks of age. Rabies vaccine should first be administered between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Cats over 3 months of age either unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated or those of questionable vaccine status should receive basic vaccines which are then boostered in 3 to 4 weeks as well as a rabies vaccine which should be first boostered in 12 months.

Basic vaccines include feline viral rhinotracheitis (conjunctiva, oral cavity and respiratory tract), distemper/panleukopenia (gastrointestinal tract), calicivirus (conjunctiva, oral cavity and respiratory tract) and chlamydia (conjunctiva and respiratory tract).

In addition, all kittens/cats should be tested for feline leukemia virus (9 weeks or older) and feline immunodeficiency virus (6 months or older). Cats that venture outside or live in multiple cat households should be vaccinated against feline leukemia. This vaccine is boostered 3 weeks after the initial vaccine and then yearly. The first vaccine can be administered as early as 9 weeks of age. Currently there is no vaccine for feline immunodeficiency virus.

Once the initial series is complete, the basic vaccines should be boostered in 12 months and then every 2-3 years. Feline leukemia vaccines should be boostered every 12 months. Rabies vaccine should be boostered 12 months after the initial vaccine and then yearly.

Vaccines should always be administered by a qualified, licensed veterinarian! (Or by a qualified, licensed veterinary technician, under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian!)

NOTE: Vaccine longevity is currently being investigated in hopes of safely lengthening the time between vaccine boosters after their initial series.

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