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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Vaccines Give You More Years to Enjoy with Your Pet

2015-08-02

Our pets are with us for such a short time that it only makes sense to do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy, and comfortable. This includes staying current with their vaccination schedule. Immunizations protect your pet from developing disabling or even fatal diseases. Because the anti-vaccine movement now includes pets, a lot of misinformation about the necessity and safety of routine vaccinations persist.

At Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, we offer both core and non-core vaccinations for cats and vaccinations for dogs. Core vaccines are those that are essential to prevent highly contagious or deadly diseases. In some cases, such as the rabies vaccine, they are required by law. Non-core vaccines provide protection against illnesses and conditions your pet may pick up due to her day-to-day lifestyle and the risk factors it poses for her. We make recommendations on non-core vaccines according to the age, breed, overall health, and other characteristics unique to your pet.

First Vaccines for Puppies and Kittens

Your puppy needs a series of several shots between six and 16 weeks of age to protect him from rabies, distemper, adenovirus, and parvovirus. Typically, we give a combination of these vaccines and their boosters every few weeks until your puppy is four months old. Some breeds may require additional immunizations due to their size and other factors.
Kittens should get the feline leukemia vaccination if they meet certain risk factors. Core vaccines for kittens include rabies, calicivirus, rhinotrachetis, feline herpes, and panleukopenia. We follow the recommendations of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), which were last revised in 2011. Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is pleased to have earned accreditation from the AAHA.
If you adopted your dog or cat at a later age, be sure to ask for his vaccination record. We can help you get caught up with any shots that he may be missing.


Vaccines Are Safe and Necessary

Some pet owners feel that vaccines aren't necessary because the diseases they protect against no longer exist. The reality is that rabies, parvovirus, feline leukemia, and many other serious and fatal animal illnesses are still quite prevalent. When enough people skip vaccinations for their pets, these diseases become epidemic. As with people, pets depend on herd immunity to protect them from infection that can lead to disease.

Side effects from pet vaccines are typically mild when compared to the immunity they offer. They may include:

  • Decreased appetite and activity level
  • Mild fever
  • Discomfort at the injection site
  • Respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and coughing

These are normal side effects that should go away on their own. If your pet experiences a severe allergic reaction, persistent diarrhea or vomiting, swelling, or difficulty breathing, contact us immediately. These indicate a serious side effect. Fortunately, they are extremely rare. Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is happy to partner with you to ensure that you and your pet enjoy many quality years together.