August is National Immunization Awareness Month! Vaccines are a vital part of keeping your furry companion healthy and in tip-top shape throughout his or her life. They can protect your pet from a range of preventable diseases. At Prairie Animal Hospital, we understand every pet is unique. We understand that because of this uniqueness, they require different vaccine programs. Here’s an overview of core and non-core types of vaccines. 

Core vs. non-core

Vaccinations are classified into two categories, with core vaccinations being those absolutely necessary to prevent truly virulent diseases from attacking your pet. Non-core vaccinations are optional; however, we may recommend them if you and your dog engage in outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, frequenting dog parks, and for cats, spending time outdoors.

Core vaccinations

For dogs, the core vaccinations include:

  • Rabies
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine Distemper
  • Canine Hepatitis

For cats, they are:

  • Rabies
  • Feline Panleukopenia (distemper)
  • Feline Herpes Virus and Calicivirus (respiratory infections)

Non-Core Vaccinations

For dogs:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Infectious Bronchitis
  • Bacterial Blood Infections

For cats:

  • Feline Chlamydophila
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (an intestinal disease)
  • Feline Leukemia
  • Ringworm

How vaccinations work

The immunizations contain a substance that stimulates the pet’s immune system to build antibodies against targeted infections. As their immunity builds, the dog or cat should be able to resist the diseases if and when they come into contact with them. Once they’ve achieved full immunity, it’s then a matter of reinforcement with annual vaccinations.

My pet never goes outside

Some pet owners question whether their pet needs to be vaccinated if he or she never goes outside. The answer is yes! Some of these life-threatening infections are airborne and can even come in through an open window, or the pet could escape outside and be exposed. The bottom line is this: pets need to be vaccinated to be protected.

Puppies and kittens

Pet vaccination needs to start at an early age. For the first 6 to 8 weeks of age, puppies and kittens are protected by their mothers’ immunity, but after weaning, they are then very vulnerable to being struck by one of these dreaded diseases. This is the time our vet urges you to begin the schedule of core vaccinations for your pet. We administer their vaccines more frequently than older pets and right up to 16-20 weeks old.

Take steps to protect your pet and keep her healthy throughout her life. Contact us to schedule an appointment for vaccinations or to check to see if your furry friend’s vaccinations are up to date.