Help your pet live a long and healthy life by ensuring they are up to date on their vaccinations. Whether your furry friend receives a single vaccine for a specific illness or a combination of vaccines for maximum protection against contagious diseases, vaccinations for cats and dogs can aid in preventing many different illnesses.
At Orchard Mesa Veterinary Hospital, we understand that, like any medical procedure, pet vaccination offers benefits and risks that you must carefully consider. Our veterinary team is happy to discuss the vaccination process with you and create a vaccination schedule to provide your pet with the greatest protection.
Why Are Pet Vaccines Important?
Vaccines help your pet’s immune system fight off disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens that your pet’s immune system will mistake for specific contagious diseases but do not cause your pet to become sick. Receiving the vaccine stimulates their immune system and encourages it to create antibodies. If your pet is exposed to the disease, their immune system can recognize and fight off the illness quicker or prevent them from becoming sick.
Pet vaccination also plays a significant role in protecting yourself and other humans. For example, more than 59,000 people die from rabies each year. Only one or two of these deaths occur in the United States, which has strict laws regarding pet rabies vaccinations. Most global rabies deaths occur in areas without widespread vaccination programs.
Are Vaccines Safe?
As with any medical procedure, there are some risks with vaccinating your pet. However, most pets respond well to vaccines. The most common adverse reactions to vaccines are soreness at the injection site, fever and a mild allergic reaction. If your pet does experience any adverse reactions, they are typically short-term. However, if you have any concerns about your pet following vaccination, please let our team know.
When Should Your Pet Get Their First Vaccines?
Generally, it’s best to start your pet’s vaccination schedule when they are between six and eight weeks old. If the mother of your puppy or kitten has a healthy immune system, your pet will obtain antibodies through nursing. It’s best to begin vaccination after weaning your puppy or kitten off their mother’s milk so they remain protected.
Young puppies and kittens should not receive more than two vaccines at the same visit. Boosters ensure your pet can get the protection they need without overvaccination.
Core Vaccines for Pets
Our practice offers various core and non-core vaccines, enabling us to personalize your pet’s care. Core vaccines are vaccinations all pets should receive for maximum health benefits and compliance with state regulations. In contrast, non-core vaccines are voluntary and based on a pet’s unique medical history.
Core vaccines for dogs include:
- Canine hepatitis
- Canine distemper virus
Core vaccines for cats include:
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline rhinotracheitis
- Feline panleukopenia virus
Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs, Cats and Other Animals
Our veterinarian team may also recommend that your pet receive some non-core vaccines. If you plan on bringing your pup to day camp or boarding, they may need the Bordetella or parainfluenza vaccine to keep themselves and other dogs safe. Some non-core vaccines also serve as preventive measures, such as the FeLV vaccine for cats, which protects against feline leukemia. Our team is happy to discuss your vaccination options to help keep your pet as safe as possible.
What kind of precautions does your pet rabbit, horse or other exotic animal require? Rabies and distemper are two of the most deadly diseases mammals face, making it essential to vaccinate your exotic pet for maximum protection. Other contagious illnesses are species-specific or affect certain breeds disproportionately. Our veterinarian team will recommend vaccines based on your exotic pet’s age and breed to provide the most significant benefit.
What Vaccinations Should Your Pet Have and When?
At Orchard Mesa Veterinary Hospital, our team will work with you and your pet to establish a vaccination schedule. Some factors we will consider when determining this timeline include your pet’s age, medical history and lifestyle. Every vaccination schedule will look different depending on your pet. However, you can follow a general timeline to better understand when your pet should receive their vaccinations.
Canine Vaccination Schedule
Generally, a regular vaccination schedule for dogs will resemble this list:
- First vaccination: Puppies receive their first dose of a combined distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus vaccination (DHP) at 6 to 8 weeks old.
- Second vaccination: They receive a second distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus immunization at 9 to 11 weeks old.
- Third vaccination: We administer a third dose of DHP at 12 to 15 weeks old.
- Fourth vaccination: Your puppy receives a fourth dose of the DHP vaccine at 16 to 20 weeks old.
- Booster: We will recommend boosters at 1 year of age or 12 months after the last dose of DHP.
- Rabies: Most states require dogs to have rabies vaccinations at 3 to 6 months old, with the first booster at 12 months and a booster every one to three years.
Feline Vaccination Schedule
Cats follow a specific vaccination schedule as well, with some slight variations:
- First vaccination: Your kitten receives their first dose of a combined feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopenia (FVRCP) vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks.
- Second vaccination: We administer the second FVRCP vaccination at 10 to 12 weeks
- Third vaccination: Kittens receive the third dose of FVRCP at 14 to 16 weeks.
- Booster: We recommend the FVRCP booster at 1 year of age or 12 months after the last FVRCP vaccine and every three years.
- Rabies: Your kitten should receive the first dose at 14 to 16 weeks, with a booster at 12 months and another booster every one to three years.
Start Your Pet’s Vaccination Schedule With Orchard Mesa Veterinary Hospital Today
Protect your pet from contagious diseases with confidence when you schedule an appointment with Orchard Mesa Veterinary Hospital in Grand Junction, CO. Our expert team has been caring for pets in Grand Junction for years and has the knowledge and experience to ensure your pet is calm and comfortable throughout the vaccination process. Contact our team today at (970) 241-9866 to schedule your pet’s vaccines!