Pet Vaccinations

For adult pets, we recommend vaccine appointments

annually.

Depending on your pet's age and vaccination history, your veterinarian might recommend a custom vaccination plan.

Pet vaccinations are important for all dogs and cats; even the ones that remain indoors most, if not all, of the time because they could still catch an airborne virus from outside at potty time or through an open window or door screen. More often than not, viruses are spread due to contact with other infected animals that are wild or whose owners did not elect to keep their pet vaccinations up to date. Given the violent and progressive nature of small-animal viruses, it is of the utmost importance to immunize your pet and opt to keep your kitty current with the latest cat vaccinations and your pooch up to date with his or her dog vaccination.

Dog Vaccinations

We ask that you review the following information prior to discussing which vaccinations you elect to have administered to your pet. While we can help provide you with appropriate information to weigh the risks and benefits, it is ultimately your decision as to which vaccines you wish to have your pet receive. Please feel free to ask the doctors or technicians any questions you may have.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) there are two broad categories of vaccinations: core and non-core.

Core Vaccines are those vaccines which every dog should receive, regardless of lifestyle and exposure to other dogs. These include rabies, distemper and parvovirus. These are given as a series of vaccinations as a puppy (or, in the case of rabies, as a single dose), then an “adult booster” a year later. The rabies vaccine is then given every 3 years. (This interval is mandated by state law). Although the distemper/parvovirus vaccine is labeled to be given every year to adult dogs, evidence now supports that the protection lasts longer. The current recommendation for adult dogs is a distemper/parvovirus booster every 3 years after the first adult booster.

Non-Core Vaccines are those vaccines which may or may not be necessary since the diseases they prevent occur sporadically, are more common in specific circumstances, or are new or “emerging” diseases.

The DAPP dog vaccine provides protection against canine distemper, adenovirus, para-influenza and parvo. 

This vaccine helps protect dogs against some forms of contagious bronchitis, and is recommended for dogs that stay in boarding facilities, go regularly to groomers, visit dog parks, attend dog shows or obedience classes, or frequently contact large numbers of dogs. This is given every 6 months

This disease occurs sporadically in the United States, usually in the summer or fall, and is caused by various strains (serovars) of a bacteria. Infected dogs often have a fever, do not eat well, may vomit, and may suffer liver and kidney damage. This disease, even when treated, can be fatal. Infected dogs shed the bacteria in their urine, and humans can become infected by contact with contaminated ground water, soil, or animal urine. Some serovars are carried by raccoons or skunks, which means the disease is becoming more problematic in suburban areas. Other serovars are harbored by farm animals, deer and mice, and are therefore more common in rural areas. Currently, the recommended vaccine contains four serovars and is boostered every year after an initial series of 2 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart. This was often a part of the old “distemper shot”, so most adult dogs will only need to continue with this annual booster. The newer vaccine has a lower risk of side effects than previous Leptospirosis vaccines. This disease can be passed on to people (“zoonotic”) and the disease can be found sporadically in our area. However, the vaccine may not give complete protection and cannot protect against all strains. Although rare, toy breed dogs may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to this vaccine. If you have a toy breed dog, please discuss the risks with the doctor or technician to decide if we should elect not to do this vaccine. If your dog (of any size) has had a previous reaction to this vaccine, this vaccine will not be given.

Any dog who may be exposed to ticks is at risk, as the ticks transmit the bacteria during feeding. Rural dogs as well as suburban dogs may come into contact with the deer tick. While effective tick control remains the cornerstone for reducing the risk of all tick-borne diseases, you may elect to reduce the risk further by having your dog vaccinated against Lyme disease. This is given as a series of 2 vaccines, given 2-4 weeks apart, then an annual booster given in the spring. Before starting this series, we will test your dog for Lyme disease with the 4DX Heartworm test. This vaccine will not protect a dog who is already positive for the disease.

Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including dogs and humans. Therefore, it is very important to protect your pet from this virus. 

Cat Vaccinations

We ask that you review the following information prior to discussing which vaccinations you elect to have administered to your cat. While we can help provide you with appropriate information to weigh the risks and benefits, it is ultimately your decision as to which vaccines you wish to have your cat receive. Please feel free to ask the doctors or technicians any questions you may have.

Core Vaccines are those vaccines which every cat should receive, regardless of exposure to other cats. These include distemper (feline panleukopenia), calicivirus and herpesvirus (feline viral rhinotracheitis). These are combined in the “feline distemper shot”, given as a series of vaccinations as a kitten then an “adult booster” a year later. Although this vaccine is labeled to be given every year, evidence supports that the protection lasts longer. The current recommendation for adult cats is a distemper booster every 3 years after the first adult booster. Rabies is also given to every cat. Kittens get one dose, then a booster a year later. Depending on the rabies vaccination used, the rabies booster is given every 1 to 3 years as an adult. (See the discussion about the Purevax rabies vaccine below.)

Non-Core Vaccines are those vaccines which may or may not be necessary since the diseases they prevent occur sporadically or are more common in specific circumstances. At Fort Drum, we offer the feline leukemia vaccine as an optional vaccine for cats at risk.

Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats and humans. This being the case, it is very important to protect your pet from this virus. Kittens receive this cat vaccine one time after they reach 12 weeks of age. Following the initial vaccine, adult pets receive the Purevax® form of this cat vaccination yearly for the most advanced safety and protection.

FVRCP cat vaccine is our “feline distemper” vaccination that protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus and panleukopenia. These diseases are highly contagious among cats and can have devastating effects on their respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Our feline patients should receive this cat shot when they are kittens, starting at six weeks of age. This cat vaccination should be given every three weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old, as it will confidently ensure there is not any maternal antibody competition. Once the initial immunizations have been administered, we administer this cat vaccine one year after the last kitten shot is given and once every three years afterward.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a deadly virus that infects cats worldwide. It causes a variety of symptoms including cancers, anemia, and immunosuppression, leading to infections with other diseases. Early in the course of the disease, cats can have no symptoms for months to years, but can be infective to other cats. It cannot be transmitted to people and has no relation to leukemias that happen in people. However, cats that are immunosuppressed with the feline leukemia virus that develop secondary infections can sometimes pass those other infections onto people. Cats pick up the virus from direct contact with another infected cat, usually through grooming, biting, or sharing food or water dishes. It can also be passed from a mother cat to her kittens. Although young cats and kittens are most susceptible to the virus, adult cats can be infected as well.

The feline leukemia vaccine is recommended for cats and kittens who will go outdoors, potentially contacting other cats who may be infected. It is also recommended for cats in multiple-cat households where the introduction of new cats is common, and for cats living with an FeLV-infected cat. All cats should be tested for FeLV prior to vaccination, since the vaccine will not provide protection if your cat has already been exposed. All new cats should be tested prior to bringing them into your household. If you have a kitten and are not sure it will be kept indoors, you should have the vaccine until you know for sure. The vaccine is given as a series of 2 shots, 3-4 weeks apart, and then an annual booster.

About Feline Leukemia Testing: All cats should be tested at least once in their lives for FeLV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline AIDs). This is commonly referred to as the “combo test”. Both viruses are contagious to other cats, and if we know that your cat is positive we can make recommendations for his/her health as well as recommendations to reduce the risk of infection to other cats around him/her. It can take 3-4 months from the time of exposure before the infection will be detected by the test, so in general, cats coming from unknown backgrounds should be tested prior to bringing them into a household. If they will be housed indoors and not vaccinated, they should be retested 3-4 months later. Kittens should have an initial test, then retested when they are over 6 months old

Risks of vaccination for dogs: in general, vaccines may cause localized pain or swelling, low grade transient fever, allergic reactions such as swelling of lips and eyelids, and mild lethargy. With any vaccine, anaphylaxis (a potentially fatal hypersensitivity reaction) may occur. While there is no direct cause and effect relationship between vaccinations and certain immune-mediated diseases, this continues to be investigated. Overall, the risk of any reaction is quite small compared to the risk of the diseases the vaccines protect against. 

Risks of vaccination for cats: in general, vaccines may cause localized pain or swelling, low grade transient fever, allergic reactions such as swelling of lips and eyelids, and mild lethargy. With any vaccine, anaphylaxis (a potentially fatal hypersensitivity reaction) may occur. In cats, this is generally seen as severe vomiting and diarrhea or wheezing, usually within half an hour of receiving the vaccine. If this occurs, let us know immediately. While there is no direct cause and effect relationship between vaccinations and certain immune-mediated diseases, this continues to be investigated. It is normal to feel a small lump where the vaccine was given, but it should disappear. Let us know if it is still there a month after vaccination. In cats, there is another rare but serious reaction called a Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma. This is estimated to occur in 1-2 out of 10,000 cats, where a cancerous lump develops soon after or even several years after a vaccination, injection, or even trauma (not associated with a vaccine). The reason is unclear. There is a newer brand of rabies vaccine for cats called “Purevax” that may be less likely to stimulate a cancerous lump. The Purevax rabies vaccine needs to be boostered yearly—it is not a 3 year vaccine—but it is considered by many experts to be safer for your cat than the older rabies vaccine as well as being highly effective. We recommend this vaccine instead of the older 3 year rabies vaccine.

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