Today’s pets live longer, healthier lives than ever before—in part because of vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Over the years, vaccination against dangerous diseases has saved millions of pets and virtually eliminated some fatal diseases that were once common. Unfortunately, many infectious diseases still pose a significant threat to dogs and cats that are unvaccinated. Although vaccinations are highly successful and considered routine today, caregivers and pet owners cannot afford to become complacent about keeping pets up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Many vaccines are available for use in dogs and cats, but not every pet needs every available vaccine. Some vaccines are considered core and should be administered to all pets, including strictly indoor pets. Other vaccines are non-core or optional and may be recommended for pets based on a variety of factors, such as their risk for exposure to disease. Detailed information and the latest recommended protocols can be found on the websites of the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practioners. The Kenai Veterinary Hospital vaccination protocols are based on these recommendations and are detailed below. Recommendations can change throughout a pet’s life as lifestyle and travel habits change. We will consider all these factors when we determine which vaccines your pet should receive.
There are two core canine vaccines for our area. The first contains the distemper, parvo, hepatitis, and parainfluenza viruses all combined into one vaccine. The product we use is Pfizer’s Vanguard Plus 5. We begin vaccinating puppies with this vaccine at 7-8 weeks of age. A series of three vaccinations is administered, one each at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. The second core canine vaccine is rabies. The product we use is Merial’s Imrab 3TF. Rabies vaccination is performed along with the third Vanguard Plus 5 vaccination at 16 weeks of age. Deworming is also performed at 8 and 12 weeks of age.
Upon completion of your puppy’s vaccination series, it will be protected for a year at which time we will booster both the Vanguard Plus 5 and the rabies vaccinations. After these annual boosters, your dog will only need these core vaccinations every third year for the rest of it life.
Another commonly required immunization is the canine bordetella or “kennel cough” vaccination. It is considered a non-core vaccine and is not routinely administered. Most boarding facilities require this vaccination. Also, if you participate in dog classes, agility trials, and dog shows; or if you take your dog to the groomer frequently it would be a good idea to protect your dog with this vaccination. We use an intranasal or “nose drop” vaccine for the initial vaccination. It provides a year of protection for your dog. Thereafter, if revaccination is required, the vaccine will be administered by injection and requires annual revaccination.
There are two core feline vaccines for our area. The first contains the distemper, rhinotracheitis, and calici viruses all combined into one vaccine. The product we use is Pfizer’s Felocell 3. We begin vaccinating kittens with this vaccine at 7-8 weeks of age. A series of three vaccinations is administered, one each at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. The second core feline vaccine is rabies. The product we use is Merial’s Imrab 3TF. Rabies vaccination is performed at 16 weeks of age along with the third dose of Felocell 3. Deworming is also performed at 8 and 12 weeks of age.
Upon completion of your kitten’s vaccination series, it will be protected for a year after which we will booster both the Felocell 3 and the rabies vaccinations. After these annual boosters, your cat will only need these core vaccinations every third year for the rest of its life.
The feline leukemia vaccine is considered non-core but is highly recommended for all kittens by the American Association of Feline Practioners. We vaccinate kittens with Pfizer’s Leukocell 2 vaccine at 12 and 16 weeks of age. All cats are then administered a booster dose of Leukocell 2 one year later. If your cat lives strictly indoors, it will not need any further leukemia vaccinations. However, if your cat is allowed outside at all or lives with another cat that goes outside, it should receive the feline leukemia virus vaccine annually through age ten.