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Vaccinations for Pets

Vaccinations are a critical component to preventive care for your pet. Vaccines have been created to protect your pet from numerous disease threats, including rabies, distemper, hepatitis and several others. Some of these diseases can be passed from pet to people, so proper vaccinations have protected human health as well.

What vaccinations are recommended?
To assist veterinarians with making vaccine recommendations, the American Animal Hospital Association has issued a set of vaccine guidelines. All vaccine decisions should be made on an individual basis for each pet. Issues to consider include the age, breed, health status, environment, lifestyle and travel habits of the pet. Discuss these issues with your veterinarian to decide on the immunization program that best protects your pet based on his risk and lifestyle factors.

There are two general groups of vaccines to consider: core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines protect against diseases that are more serious or potentially fatal. These are diseases found in all areas of North America and more easily transmitted than non-core diseases. Core vaccines include distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and rabies. Non-core vaccines are for those pets at risk of infection due to lifestyle. These include kennel cough, lyme disease and leptospirosis.

How often should your pet be vaccinated?
Make sure that your dog completes the initial series of core vaccines administered at the puppy stage, as well as booster shots at one year of age. Following the one-year boosters, it's recommended that the distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus core vaccines be administered once every three years. States and municipalities govern how often rabies boosters are administered. In PA, a three-year effective rabies booster is adequate.

Non-core vaccines should be administered whenever the risk of disease is significant. The kennel cough vaccine is an example where it is suggested to be administered once every year or once every six months. If your pet boards a lot or goes to doggie daycare, you may consider vaccinating for kennel cough every six months.

Vaccinations can be administered during routine wellness exams. Vaccine reactions are commonly nonexistent. However, if your pet does have a reaction which may include swelling or local pain, call your veterinarian immediately. Most reactions will occur soon after the vaccination.

Although some of your pet’s vaccines are administered every three years, this does not mean you should skip your pet’s yearly wellness exam. Routine wellness exams provide the opportunity for your veterinarian to detect and prevent problems at an early stage.

Call 215-563-6245 to schedule your pet’s routine wellness exam that may include its yearly vaccinations.



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