Vaccines are an important part of keeping pets healthy. They help to keep your pet free from viruses that can be harmful or even lethal.
Ideally, puppies are vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks and then will require boosters every 1-3 years. All dogs need core vaccines and Rabies vaccines but may require other vaccines depending on their lifestyles.
Rabies is a public health risk as it can be transmitted to humans and there isn’t any cure. Therefore it is mandated by law that all pets are vaccinated against Rabies. Your pet will have this vaccine at approximately 16 weeks, one year and then every 3 years for the rest of its life.
Core Vaccines for dogs consist of vaccines against Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza virus. These viruses thrive in the environment and can even be brought home on your clothes or shoes so they are recommended for every puppy. Once your dog is vaccinated for these core vaccines for 3 years in a row they can move to an every 3-year schedule.
Lifestyle vaccines in Ontario include Leptospirosis and Bordetella. Others that may be indicated include Lyme Disease, Giardia and Canine Influenza.
- Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be spread in the urine of mammals such as raccoons, coyotes and foxes. It is recommended in areas where these animals co-exist and for pets that go camping and hiking
- Bordetella is the vaccine for kennel-cough. It is recommended for dogs who will spend time inside with other dogs, such as in a boarding facility, doggy daycare, dog shows, sporting events, dog classes or the groomer. It is also possible for dogs to be at risk by spending time at the dog park but it is more likely in indoor environments
Core Vaccines for cats consist of vaccines against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia virus. These viruses thrive in the environment and can even be brought home on your clothes or shoes so they are recommended for every kitten Once your cat is vaccinated for these core vaccines for 3 years in a row they can move to an every 3-year schedule.
Lifestyle vaccines in Ontario include Feline Leukemia.
- Feline Leukemia is a virus that affects the white blood cells of cats. It can cause a wide range of symptoms but can be protected against with the feline leukemia vaccine. This virus is only spread by direct contact with an infected cat so we do not routinely vaccinate indoor cats of a single cat household.
Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended for your pet.
Vaccine reactions are rare but they do occur. Any suspected reaction should be reported to your veterinarian. It is not unusual for your pet to be quieter and not eat as much as within 24 hours after vaccination.
The following symptoms should be reported to your veterinarian:
- One to two episodes of vomiting or loose stool
- Mild pain
Call the veterinarian right away if any of these symptoms are present:
- Severe lethargy
- Swelling of the muzzle or head
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe pain/crying