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Everything You Need to Know About National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Pet Immunization Awareness Month. It is meant to remind pet owners to vaccinate their pets and update their vaccination records. Pets need protection from diseases that can be dangerous or deadly to their health, and can be transmitted to other animals and humans. Your veterinarian can review your pet’s vaccination history and determine if it is up to date.

What is a Pet Vaccine? 

Pet vaccines have been used by veterinarians since the late 1800s. Vaccines trigger a protective immune response in pets, which prepares them to fight future infectious diseases. Vaccinations lessen the severity of symptoms, reduce the risk of transmission, and can sometimes prevent infection completely. While there are many diseases that can affect cats and dogs, your veterinarian will determine what vaccinations he needs by evaluating his risk level, environment, habits, age, weight, and medical history. Your veterinarian may recommend core vaccinations and non-core vaccinations.

Core Vaccinations & Non-Core Vaccinations

Core vaccinations are ones that prevent diseases that commonly affect pets, have a high level of exposure, and can be transmitted to humans and other animals. All cats and dogs should receive core vaccinations starting at 6-8 weeks old. Vaccinations continue every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks old. From that point on, pets should get booster shots every 1-3 years. Core vaccinations for dogs are rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. Core vaccinations for cats are rabies, distemper, calicivirus, and herpesvirus type I. Non-core vaccinations for dogs are bordetella, borrelia, and leptospira bacteria. Non-core vaccinations for cats are leukemia virus, bordetella, and Chlamydophila Felis.

Monthly Preventive Medications

In addition to vaccinations, your pet may need monthly preventive medications. These medications protect against the infestation of parasites. Parasites can transmit diseases, cause illness and infection, and can damage blood and organs. Your veterinarian will recommend monthly medications based on your pet’s risk levels and lifestyle. This might include protection from:

  • Heartworm
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Mites

Make an appointment with your veterinarian today to discuss your pet’s vaccination needs.