Vaccines have become a hot topic in recent years as fear of whether there are negative effects or a possibility of over-vaccinating. Obviously, we all want to keep our pets happy and healthy and help them live a long life. But with all the different information out there it can be hard to decide what vaccinations are worth giving and why.
When talking about vaccines for our pets there are two categories we need to explore: core and non-core. Core vaccines are those that are considered vital to all pets where as non-core vaccines are often recommended based on risk of exposure in your area, lifestyle of the pet, or other variables.
For dogs the distemper combination vaccine, often listed as DAPP or DHPP, and rabies are considered core vaccines. For cats the feline distemper combination, often listed as FVRCP, and rabies vaccines are considered their core vaccines. The risk of exposure, severity of the disease, and/or the transmisibility to humans has been found to warrant all cats and dogs be vaccinated against these diseases.
Beyond the core vaccines there are many non-core vaccines that can be given based on the geographical area you live in, lifestyle of the pet, and other variables that would be discussed by your veterinarian. For dogs these can be vaccines against Bordetella (commonly called kennel cough), Leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and Canine Influenza. For cats non-core vaccines include feline leukemia, Chlamydophila felis, Bordetella, and feline immunodeficiency virus.
When/how often do I vaccinate?
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Guidelines Task Force and the American Association of Feline Practitioners are made up of veterinary care related professionals with extensive experience. These groups have released vaccination guidelines with their evidence-based recommendations for vaccination timelines. Below are links to their vaccination recommendations:
By discussing with your veterinarian your individual pet’s risk and lifestyle as well as learning the exposure risk in your area, as a team you can make a vaccination plan that keeps your furry friends healthy and happy.