Vaccinations and Your Pet

Vaccinations and Your Pet

Parents want their kids to be healthy and protected from illness—and pet parents no exception. Vaccinations are important for protecting your loved ones from health threats, but understanding what’s involved (and required) can be challenging.

Regulations regarding pet vaccinations vary by municipality (see Nassau County’s requirements), but you can generally assume that a rabies vaccine will be required for dogs, cats, and some other pets (like ferrets). A license may also be required, and you should provide documentation of both to your groomer/boarder to ensure that all pets are protected, and no one’s pet will be exposed to another animal that may have been exposed.

But rabies is not the only ailment pets can be vaccinated against, nor is it the only one recommended by professionals.

Dog Vaccinations

Essential vaccines

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies

Recommended (depending on dog’s exposure)

  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetella (often called “kennel cough”)
  • Lyme Disease
  • Canine Influenza
  • Corona Virus

Many of these are particularly important if your dog spends time at dog parks, in the woods, and/or at a kennel.

Cat Vaccinations

Essential vaccines

  • Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
  • Calicivirus
  • Herpes type I (rhinotracheitis)
  • Rabies

Recommended (depending on cat’s exposure)

  • Chlamydia
  • Feline Leukemia (Felv)
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
  • Bordetella

Many of the recommended vaccines are particularly important if your cat spends any time outdoors.

Other Pets

Inquire with your vet regarding vaccinating other pets, including exotics like ferrets, rabbits, small mammals, and even livestock. Also check with your municipality regarding what is required by law.

How Often Should I Vaccinate?

Many vaccines are administered annually or every three years. For multiyear vaccines, your vet may recommend a schedule where your pet receives a booster annually, but not all medications at once, to reduce reactions or side-effects. Consult your trusted vet for the right plan for your dog, cat, or other pet.

Are vaccines safe?

The risk associated with vaccinations has been widely discussed both in humans and in pets. Veterinary professionals widely support pet vaccinations for the safety of the pet population and (in cases where disease can cross the species barrier) their guardians. To prevent problems, vaccinating early and then less often with age is recommended. And pet parents can look for these signs of a reaction and alert your vet:

  • Fever
  • Crankiness, expressed as biting or growling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sluggishness
  • Redness or swelling around the injection site
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Vaccinations help reduce both the risk of disease for your pet, but also the spread of these diseases throughout pet populations. With a safe administration plan from your trusted vet, you can keep your beloved dog or cat healthy and thriving, and reduce worry of socializing your pet with others.

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