Vaccinations

Pet Vaccinations 101: What Dog and Cat Owners Should Know About Shots

Pet vaccinations should begin at an early age, with a series of immunizations given over several weeks to help your puppy or kitten progressively develop resistance to common illnesses. As your pet matures they will require repeated immunizations throughout their life as part of an annual wellness exam. While no one likes shots at any age, vaccinations at Pewaukee Veterinary Service (PVS) are buffered with treats and hugs to help make the visit easier on pets and their parents.

Below are recommendations from our veterinarians for essential core and optional vaccinations:

Core Canine Vaccinations

• Rabies
• DHPP (distemper, hepatitis and adenovirus cough, parainfluenza, parvovirus)

Rabies shots are required by law, with one given between 4-6 months of age and repeated every 1-3 years. DHPP vaccination begins at six to eight weeks of age. Three doses given 3-4 weeks apart are recommended for puppies. Boosters are every 1-3 years.

Optional Canine Vaccinations

• Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough)
• Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease contracted through tick bites)
• Leptospira (bacteria found in stagnant water)
• Influenza

Active dogs have a higher risk of contracting the illnesses listed above. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s lifestyle and how to keep him or her safe on the go.

Note: Monthly medications that protect against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, intestinal parasites, and heartworm are highly recommended. These pests are common in our area and are often carriers of serious disease.

Core Feline Vaccinations

• Rabies
• FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia)

Rabies vaccination is given between 4-6 months of age and repeated every 1-3 years. FVRCP vaccination begins at 6-8 weeks of age. Three doses given 3-4 weeks apart are recommended for kittens. Boosters are administered every 1-3 years.

Optional Feline Vaccinations

• Feline leukemia virus or FELV (immune disorder often preceding cancer)
• Chylamydophila felis (respiratory infection)
• Feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV (bite-transmitted infection)

Your cat may benefit from these additional immunizations, depending on his or her health, history, and lifestyle. Your PVS veterinarian can help you decide what is best for your cat.

Note: Monthly medications that protect against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, intestinal parasites and heartworm are recommended especially for cats who spend time outdoors. These pests are common in our area and are often carriers of serious disease.

Yes, Pet Vaccinations Are Safe

Core immunizations are proven safe and recommended by our animal medical professionals. Allergic reactions are rare, so the risk is minimal compared to the potential threat of the illnesses they provide immunity to. That said, it’s always a good idea to monitor your pet after shots, and contact us if you notice lethargy, loss of appetite, swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or discomfort of any kind.

Titer Testing—An Alternative to Annual Immunizations

If you have concerns about immunizing your pet, we are happy to talk about risks and benefits, and also offer the option of a titer test. A titer test measures antibodies already in the body, either from natural exposure or earlier vaccinations. A high titer number indicates active immunity and you may be able to forego additional vaccinations. (Note: rabies vaccinations for dogs are required by law, regardless of the results of a titer test. In most cases titer levels may not be accepted for purposes such as travel, boarding, grooming, or training classes.)

Contact us for information on preventive services and annual wellness exams.