Does My Pet Need to Be Vaccinated?

Just as humans benefit from vaccines to protect them against dangerous and potentially deadly diseases, so do pets. There are special vaccines designed to protect your dog or cat against viruses that are dangerous to animals (and even sometimes humans!). Getting your pet vaccinated can keep them safer and healthier.

There are several core vaccines that are recommended for dogs and cats, and a few that are optional depending on your pet’s health and lifestyle. Your veterinarian can discuss which vaccines they recommend based on your pet’s needs. Here are a few common ones to know about:

Vaccines for Dogs:

  • Rabies (core): Animals can contract rabies through bites from other animals, and this is one disease that can actually be spread to humans through animal bites as well. Rabies can be fatal and cause neurological problems.
  • Canine Distemper (core): This disease can cause respiratory and nervous system problems and is potentially fatal.
  • Infectious Hepatitis (core): This disease can cause liver inflammation.
  • Parvovirus (core): This disease can cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and if left untreated, sepsis, which can be fatal.
  • Bordetella (non-core): This is more commonly known as kennel cough, a respiratory disease.
  • Canine Influenza (non-core): This is a respiratory infection similar to the flu in humans.
  • Lyme Disease (non-core): Much like humans, dogs can contract Lyme disease from ticks as well.

Dogs can receive the DHPP vaccine which protects against distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and two types of hepatitis.

Vaccines for Cats:

  • Feline herpesvirus-1 (core): This can cause chronic respiratory infections.
  • Calicivirus (core): This is another respiratory disease that can lead to ulcers in the nose and mouth.
  • Panleukopenia (feline distemper) (core): This disease causes blood cell deficiencies and neurological problems and can be fatal; other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
  • Rabies (non-core): The same as in dogs, cats can develop and spread rabies through biting. It can cause neurological problems and be potentially fatal.
  • Bordetella (non-core): This is a bacterial respiratory infection.
  • Feline Leukemia (non-core): This is a chronic disease that weakens the immune system.
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (non-core): A chronic disease affecting the immune system which is contracted when a cat is bitten by another cat.

Many of the non-core vaccines are recommended or required for dogs and cats who are boarded or spend time around other animals, whether at a doggie daycare or dog park. Additional vaccines may also be encouraged for outdoor cats. Many boarding facilities require core vaccinations as well as Bordetella and rabies, and most states require proof of rabies vaccination.

Are Animal Vaccines Safe?

There are risk factors with any vaccine or medication, but the vaccines have been tested and proven to be safe for most animals. The benefits tend to outweigh the risks, as side effects or complications are often mild and treatable. The diseases that these vaccines are protecting against can be life-threatening. Your veterinarian can discuss any concerns you may have and let you know what is in the best interest of your pet and their health.

If you regularly board your pet or send them to doggie daycare, vaccines can play an important role in keeping them safe and healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Learn more about Lake Wylie Pet Resorts’ vaccine requirements, and contact us today with other questions or to schedule your pet’s stay.