National Immunization Awareness Month

General

August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The purpose is to highlight the importance of immunizations for people of all ages, but many veterinarians, shelters and animal rights groups piggyback on the human campaign to raise awareness around pet vaccinations and immunizations.

Most people are familiar with the vaccination process for humans and get appropriate measles, mumps, tetanus, and flu immunizations as needed. But it’s important to know about and be diligent about your pet’s vaccinations as serious diseases and even death can be avoided by a simple vaccine.

Both cats and dogs have a set of vaccines they should receive on a regular basis. These typically start at six weeks of age for both puppies and kittens. Prior to that, the puppies or kittens are inoculated from diseases through their mother’s milk protections.

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Let’s review the essential vaccinations for your pets so that you can check with your vet this month and make sure your pet is fully inoculated and up to date.

Dogs:

  • Rabies: First administered at 3 months and then a booster every 3 years.
  • Distemper: Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then every 3 years.
  • Parvovirus (Parvo): Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then every 3 years.
  • Adenovirus Type 1 (Canine Hepatitis): Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then every 3 years.
  • Adenovirus Type 2 (“Kennel Cough”): Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then every 3 years.
  • Canine Influenza: Administered at 6–8 weeks of age and the second dose 2–4 weeks later.
  • Parainfluenza: Administered to puppies 6–8 weeks old, then every 3–4 weeks until 12 weeks of age.
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica: Not usually a danger in adult dogs. Vaccine schedule for puppies varies based on risk. Ask your vet.
  • Lyme Disease: Administered to puppies in 2 doses, the first around 9 weeks of age, with the second dose 2–4 weeks later.
  • Leptospirosis: Administered to puppies in 2 doses, 2–4 weeks apart, with the final dose no later than 12 weeks of age.
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Cats:

  • Feline panleukopenia (feline distemper) (FPV): Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then no more frequently than 3 year intervals.
  • Feline herpes virus type I (rhinotracheitis) (FHV-1): Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then no more frequently than 3 year intervals.
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV): Administered in 3 doses between 6-16 weeks, a booster at age 1 and then no more frequently than 3 year intervals.
  • Rabies: First administered at 3 months and then every 3 years.
  • Feline leukemia virus: Administer first dose between 8-12 weeks, and a 2nd dose 3-4 weeks later. An annual vaccine should be administered to cats at sustained risk of exposure.
  • Bordetella: Administer a single dose intranasally as early as 8 weeks of age. Annual booster for cats at sustained risk.
  • Chylamydophila felis: Administer the initial dose as early as 9 weeks of age; a second dose is administered 3-4 weeks later. Annual booster for cats at sustained risk.
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus: Initial dose at 8 weeks followed by 2 doses administered 3-4 weeks apart. Booster at 1 year and then annually for cats at sustained risk.
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This may seem like a lot of immunizations, but there is some wiggle room based on your geography and your pet’s activity. Indoor cats are less susceptible to some of these diseases and you can probably skip the 3 year boosters. Same with dogs, particularly as they age, they probably don’t need as many protections or they have built up immunity over the years.

What vaccines your pet should receive and how often should be a discussion you have with your trusted veterinarian. The two of you can decide what is appropriate for your pet.

Sources:

https://humanesocietyofmacomb.org/august-national-immunization-awareness-month-pets-vaccinated/

https://figopetinsurance.com/blog/immunization-awareness-focus-dog-vaccines

https://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PracticeGuidelines/VaccinationGLS-summary.pdf

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