Providing vaccines is a critical service offered by your veterinarian. Vaccines prevent or minimize the severity of symptoms caused by a variety of infectious agents. Vaccines are grouped into two categories:
Core and non-core. The core vaccines are those recommended by the American Verterinary Medical Association for all pets regardless of lifestyle. Rabies vaccines is regulated by local legislation and is good for either one or three years with the initial vaccine lasting for a year and subsequent vaccines for three if kept up to date. Other core vaccines for dogs include distemper/hepatitis/leptospirosis/parainfluenza/parvovirus vaccination, often given as one combination vaccine for dogs and distemper/calicivirus/rhinotracheitis as a combined vaccine for cats are the other core vaccines.
Non-core vaccines protect against diseases that your pet may or may not be a risk for your pet depending on their environment and activities. For dogs these include Lymes, Bordetella, and Influenza. Lyme's vaccine is recommended who live or spend time in rural or wooded areas, are taken hunting or camping, or live on farms as the organism causing the disease is spread by ticks. Bordetella (kennel cough) is recommended and often required by boarding facilities, grooming parlors, obedience trainers, doggy daycare and dog parks. The disease is similar to whooping cough in children and is spread through the air by bacteria and virus causing a complex infection. Canine influenza (flu) is required by some facilities for boarding (this is not a requirement at All Creatures Small). Canine flu, much like human flu varies by strain and prevalence from year to year. For cats Feline Leukemia is a non-core vaccine recommended for any cat who spends time outdoors with the chance of exposure to unknown cats as the virus is spread through blood, urine and saliva.
Vaccines are generally begun about eight weeks of age for both puppies and kittens although they can still be started later in life if this was not done. Initially they need to have a series of vaccines at three-week intervals (two to three depending on age) until sufficient antibodies are produced and then repeated at one to three year intervals depending on the vaccine. The staff at All Creatures Small will be happy to discuss your pet's needs with you and tailor the protocol to your animal's risk factors.