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What immunizations (vaccines) does my pet need

Years ago, the common practice in the veterinary field was to vaccinate every animal with every possible vaccine it could get every single year in order to keep it healthy.  These days however, there have been some fundamental changes in vaccination recommendations.  At Damonte Ranch Animal Hospital, we believe that pet's should be vaccinated according to the current recommended protocols.  There are, for example, some core vaccinations that all pets should receive, while there are other vaccinations that fall in a more "optional for life-style" category.  Below is a summary our hospital's recommended protocols for dogs and cats:

1.  For puppies - Ideally starting at 6-8 weeks of age, to receive the DA2PP vaccine every 3-4 weeks until they are 4 months of age.  The DA2PP vaccine is a core vaccine that all puppies / dogs should receive.  When their puppy series is over, it lasts for 1 year.  When they get it at 1.5 years of age, it will then be good for 3 years.  The 1 year Rabies (also core, for all) is administered once a puppy is 4 months, oftentimes at the time of their last puppy round.  When they get that vaccine again a year later, it will also then be good for 3 years.  The Bordetella vaccination is given initially as a series of 2 vaccines 3-4 weeks apart.  The Bordetella vaccine is an "optional" vaccine - recommended to be given to any canine that will have an active, sociable life-style ... if your dog will be meeting other dogs at dog parks, trails, having exposure at doggie day cares, dog shows, training group classes as well as potential boarding experiences, it should receive the Bordetella vaccine on a regular basis every 6 months to a year.  There are a few other vaccines "out there" for dogs (ie. the Rattlesnake vaccine, Lepto, Lyme).  Feel free to discuss whether any of these other vaccines might be important for your dog at your pet's next routine wellness visit.

2.  For kittens - Ideally starting at 6-8 weeks of age, to receive the FVRCP vaccine every 3-4 weeks until they are 4 months of age.  This is a core vaccine for cats.  When their kitten series is over, it lasts for 1 year.  When they are due again for their FVRCP booster at 1.5 years of age, it will then be good for 3 years.  The Rabies vaccine is given at the time of the last kitten vaccines at 4 months of age and then annually thereafter.  The Feline Leukemia vaccine is initially given as a series of 2 vaccines spaced 3-4 weeks apart.  Unlike the Rabies and FVRCP vaccine, this is not considered to be a core vaccine.  It is recommended to be given to all cats that will be indoor / outdoor as well as all cats living in multi-cat house-holds.  At Damonte Ranch Animal Hospital, we advocate the use of only "NON- adjuvanted" vaccinations for cats as a means of minimizing the chances of causing vaccine-associated fibrosarcomas.  Please feel free to ask any further questions regarding this topic at your cat's next routine wellness visit.

“The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.” ~Ambrose Bierce

“Kittens are angels with whiskers.” - Unknown