Vaccine Recommendations for Small Pets

Even if your dog or cat stays indoors most of the time, they still need vaccinations. Some vaccines, like rabies, are required under the law if you license your dog or cat. Even if it is not legally required, vaccines fight against illnesses that can kill or disable your pet. They prevent the disease or at least render symptoms harmless. With this in mind, here is an overview of vaccines likely to be recommended by your vet in Cannon Falls, MN.

Cat vaccines

Many cat owners skip vaccines because their pets live indoors. However, cats are sneaky and can escape. Also, the law requires cats over six months of age to receive rabies vaccinations. When your cat receives the vaccine, the vet provides a certificate that proves your cat received the rabies shot. This certificate is necessary if you take your cat to a boarding facility or groomer.

At the very least, schedule core vaccines for your pet. They include rabies, but also the combined feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (FVRCP) vaccine. (Some vets call the latter one the “distemper” shot.) Another core vaccine immunizes cats against the feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV or FHV-1), which is a major cause of chronic respiratory infections. FHV infects cats for life and sheds into litter trays and food bowls, so if one cat develops it, chances are any other cats in your household caught it too.

If your cat spends time outside, your vet may recommend feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia (FELV), Bordetella, and Chlamydophila Felis. FIV and FELV transmit through close contact, including through catfights. Bordetella are bacteria that cause contagious respiratory infections. Groomers and boarding facilities often require it. Chlamydophila Felis are bacteria that cause conjunctivitis. If your cat needs it, your vet includes it with the distemper vaccine.

Dog vaccines

Chances are, your dog does not spend all her time inside. Since dogs spend time outdoors and are likely to get into things, their need for vaccines is more obvious. Just as with cats, dogs have “core” vaccines and non-core vaccines.

Core vaccines include rabies, parvovirus, canine distemper and canine hepatitis. All states require dogs to have proof of rabies vaccine. Just as with the cat rabies vaccines, the canine version is effective and well tolerated by most animals. Parvovirus is very contagious and involves a series of three shots followed by a booster. You must schedule it every three years. Distemper is normally combined with the parvovirus shot, and hepatitis often combines with distemper or parvovirus vaccines.

Non-core vaccines include heartworms, Lyme disease, kennel cough, parainfluenza, coronavirus (not to be confused with human COVID-19) and leptospirosis. Your vet assesses the need for non-core vaccines based on your dog’s lifestyle and current health conditions. For example, dogs that go hunting or take other long outdoor adventures will receive vaccines for Lyme disease and leptospirosis, since those transmit through wildlife and insects.

At Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd., we specialize in providing a full range of services for your small pets. To schedule a vaccination appointment with a vet in Cannon Falls, MN, reach out to us today.