Nowadays many infectious pet diseases are prevented with vaccines, usually given in the form of an injection. Vaccines stimulate your pet’s immune system by introducing small amounts or pieces of a pathogen into their blood, enabling them to create antibodies which remain in their system and provide long-term protection. Each pathogen requires its own specific vaccine, meaning dogs and cats require several different shots throughout their lives. In some cases additional ‘booster’ shots are required to maintain ongoing protection.
Vaccinations fall into the ‘preventive’ category of veterinary medicine. It is always more effective and less costly to prevent a disease rather than treat it. If your pet does become sick, many of these diseases are particularly dangerous and the cost of treatment can become very expensive.
If you’re skeptical about how pets contract diseases and viruses, it’s surprisingly easy. Domestic dogs and cats are social creatures, coming into frequent contact with other pets during their daily walks, at daycare/boarding, or while they’re out and about exploring the world. Many viruses, bacteria, and parasites can survive in the environment for long periods of time, so direct animal to animal contact isn’t even required for transmission. Clearly there are countless opportunities for germs to be transmitted from one animal to the next. So it follows that the risk of diseases and viruses propagating diminishes significantly when more animals are vaccinated.
Domestic dogs and cats should start their vaccination programs early on (usually at around 6 weeks of age). Factors such as geographic location, lifestyle, travel and how often your pet comes into contact with other animals determines your pet’s risk of exposure to particular diseases. Not every pet needs every vaccine, however. Your veterinarian will consider your pet’s risk and customize a vaccination program just for them. The rabies vaccine is required by law throughout the US.
With so much information to keep track of, it’s easy to forget which shots have been administered and when – especially if you have multiple pets in your household. Activ4Pets helps provide peace of mind by storing your pet’s vaccination records in their very own online health record. For added convenience, we even collect and upload your pet’s full veterinary history so you have everything health-related at your fingertips.
Many daycare, boarding and grooming facilities require evidence of up-to-date vaccines prior to service. So, rather than searching through paperwork, you can access your pet’s records in seconds through the free Activ4Pets mobile app.
These are the recommended core and non-core vaccinations for dogs and cats in the US:
|Rabies||Core||Every 1 or 3 years (depending on the type of vaccine and local or state law)|
|Distemper||Core||Initially 2 doses, given 3-4 weeks apart with a booster 1 year after completing initial series; Further booster required every 3 years|
|Parvovirus||Core||Initially 2 doses, given 3-4 weeks apart with a booster 1 year after completing initial series; Further booster required every 3 years|
|Hepatitis||Core||Initially 2 doses, given 3-4 weeks apart with a booster 1 year after completing initial series; Further booster required every 3 years|
|Leptospirosis||Non-core||Initially 2 doses, given 2-4 weeks apart; Further booster every year for dogs in high-risk locations|
|Bordetella||Non-core||Initially 2 doses; Further booster every 6 months for dogs in high-risk locations|
|Lyme Disease||Non-core||Initially 2 doses, given 2-4 weeks apart; Further booster recommended every year prior to tick season|
|Canine Influenza||Non-core||Initially 2 doses, given 2-4 weeks apart; Further booster recommended every year|
|Parainfluenza||Non-core||1 dose; 1 yearly booster|
|Rabies||Core||Initially 2 doses, given 12 months apart; Further booster every 1 or 3 years (depending on the type of vaccine and local or state law)|
|Leukemia Virus||Non-core||Initially 2 doses, given 3-4 weeks apart; Further booster required every year for felines at high risk|
|Bordetella||Non-core||Initially 2 doses, given 12 months apart; Further booster every year|