When Should I Get My Pet Vaccinated?

When Should I Get My Pet Vaccinated?

As a pet owner, you want to do all you can to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. Seeing your pet suffering can be heartbreaking. Thus, trying to protect your loyal friend from falling sick is important.


Vaccinations play a significant role in protecting pets from dangerous and even fatal illnesses. These can prevent diseases that can kill or cause serious harm to your pet. State law requires rabies vaccinations for all dogs, but other vaccinations offer protection from other diseases. 


Why Vaccines Are Important


Vaccines help prepare the animal’s immune system to defend itself when invaded by disease-causing organisms. Vaccines have antigens that mimic the disease-causing organisms in the animal’s immune system without actually causing the disease. 


The goal of the vaccines is to stimulate the immune system so that it can recognize the antigens. If the animal is exposed to the actual disease, the immune system will remember and fight it off. This will keep the animal from contracting the disease or reduce its effects.


The Core Vaccinations


There are core vaccinations considered by the American Animal Hospital Association as essential to canines. The assessment is based on the severity of the disease, the widespread risk of exposure, and the risk of transmission. 


The risk of transmission to humans and other animal species is also considered. Several vaccinations are considered core for canines. These include rabies, hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and canine distemper.


Non-Core Vaccinations


Several vaccinations are considered non-core. These are vaccinations whose usefulness to canines is still not established. The non-core vaccinations include canine influenza or dog flu, Bordetella, Lyme vaccine, and leptospirosis. 


While the vaccines are not considered core, they are vital for canines exposed to infectious diseases. You need to talk to your veterinarian about the vaccinations that your pet should get. 


When to Get Your Pet Vaccinated


When considering when to get your pet vaccinated, you need to think about different factors. The factors include the type, breed, age, and health of your pet. Puppies should begin the vaccines as early as possible — usually between six to eight weeks old. 


After the initial vaccination, the puppy should be vaccinated every three weeks until the final round at four months old. If a puppy has a mother with a healthy immune system, antibodies can be passed on through the mother’s milk. A nursing puppy can wait to be vaccinated after it has been weaned. 


Optional Vaccines - Factors to Consider


Pet vaccinations are vital to the health and overall wellness of your furry companion. However, not every dog or puppy will need to be vaccinated against all diseases. Some of the vaccinations are administered depending on different factors. These factors include the animal’s age, lifestyle, environment, medical history, and travel habits. The vet will recommend the right vaccination protocol for your pet.


Specific time frames for rabies vaccinations will vary depending on your location or state. Talk to your vet about your pet’s vaccination schedule.


For more information on when you should vaccinate your pets, visit 4 Paws Veterinary Hospital at our office in Duffield, Virginia. You can call (276) 431-4838 today to schedule an appointment.

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Dr. Cortney Jessee