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Vaccinations

Dr. Ward vaccinates a cat. Both cats and dogs need vaccinations!

Dr. Ward vaccinates a cat. Both cats and dogs need vaccinations!

Vaccination Protocols at Riverview Animal Clinic

Vaccinating your pet is a very important step in keeping it healthy. Vaccines have been developed to prevent diseases that are often fatal (like parvovirus, rabies, distemper, etc…). Even when not fatal, treatment of these diseases can be prolonged and expensive. Many of these diseases CAN BE PREVENTED BY VACCINATING. And, some diseases, like rabies, can be transmitted from animals to humans, which is why vaccination against rabies is required by law.

We realize that there can be controversy regarding some vaccinations, but medically, vaccines are highly effective at preventing disease in your pet. And vaccines are very safe and cause minimal or no side effects. When side effects do occur, they are generally mild and include swelling, redness and pain at the injection site. Rarely, vaccines may cause an allergic reaction that can be treated with antihistamines. When compared to the rare ‘bad’ effect (or ‘side’ effect) of vaccines, the good effects of vaccines are overwhelming.

At Riverview Animal Clinic, we follow the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines regarding the type, timing and frequency of vaccinations that your pet needs. A great deal of scientific research and clinical experience has gone into making these guidelines and we feel that the guidelines help us to provide the best protection for your pet. In addition to administering vaccines, for some vaccines, we can do blood tests to check for vaccine titers.

The recommendations listed below are our general recommendations, they may vary slightly depending on the age and risk status of your pet.

Puppy & Kitten Vaccinations

Puppies and kittens have immature immune systems so they must receive a series of vaccines that are timed to coincide with immune system changes. Vaccines that are administered in puppies and kittens that have a very young immune system may not be entirely effective so boosters are required. However, it is important to start the vaccines at a young age since puppies and kittens are highly susceptible to diseases that can be prevented by the vaccines. Since every puppy and kitten is unique, we tailor our vaccination recommendations based on their lifestyle and/or breed and according to the suggested guidelines.

Puppies

Although the vaccination protocol is highly dependent on the age that we first see your puppy, in general, we like to start with a parvovirus vaccine at 6 weeks of age with vaccines repeated every 3 weeks of age until 4-4½ months of age. After the initial vaccination with parvovirus alone, vaccinations will include parvovirus boosters, distemper, adenovirus, and parainfluenza.

Depending on risk factors for your puppy, we may also recommend vaccination against leptospirosis, Bordetella (‘kennel cough’) and rattlesnake envenomation.

Rabies vaccine will be administered after your puppy is at least 3 months of age.

At Riverview Animal Clinic, we highly recommend that you NOT take your young puppies to the park, levy, etc. until the pup has had at least 3 vaccines. Young puppies are extremely vulnerable to disease and are not fully protected from contracting disease until they have had at least 3 vaccines for most diseases.

Kittens

Although the vaccination protocol is highly dependent on the age that we first see your kitten, in general, we like to start with a 4-way vaccine (feline distemper, Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Chlamydia virus) at 8-9 weeks of age with vaccine boosters repeated every 3 weeks of age until 4-4½ months of age.

Depending on risk factors for your kitten, we may also recommend vaccination against leukemia.

Rabies vaccine will be administered after your kitten is at least 3 months of age.  

Routine adult dog and cat vaccinations

In adult dogs and cats, many of the vaccines are effective for 3 years and, although we prefer annual vaccination, the vaccines that we use each year rotate so that your dog or cat will be on a 3-year cycle for each vaccine. But by bringing the pet in each year for a different vaccine, we can be sure that your pet gets an annual wellness exam, which is an extremely important part of routine health care.

Dogs

After your dog reaches 2 years of age, the combination vaccine described under the puppy vaccines should be boosted every 3 years. The combination vaccine includes parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, and parainfluenza.

The leptospirorsis and rattlesnake vaccines need to be repeated yearly in dogs at risk (see more information about the rattlesnake vaccine below).

The Bordetella (‘kennel cough’) vaccine should be repeated every 6 months if your dog spends any time at a boarding facility and/or goes to the groomer on a regular basis.

Rabies vaccines are required by law to be repeated every 3 years.

Cats

After your cat reaches 2 years of age, the combination vaccine described under the kitten vaccines should be boosted every 3 years. The combination vaccine includes feline distemper, Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Chlamydia virus.

If your cat is an indoor/outdoor or strictly outdoor cat, the leukemia vaccine should be repeated annually.

Rabies vaccines are required by law to be repeated every 3 years.

Rattlesnake Vaccine

If you live in an area where rattlesnake envenomation is likely, we recommend that your pet receive the rattlesnake vaccine. The vaccination protocol is two vaccinations 4 weeks apart initially, followed by yearly boosters.

For more information on diseases that can be prevented by vaccination, types of vaccines and vaccination protocols, contact us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022),

You can also visit the American Veterinary Medical Association websites at:

8 cat diseases you can prevent with vaccination and deworming https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/cats.aspx

12 dog diseases you can prevent with vaccination and deworming https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/dogs.aspx

General information about vaccinations https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/vaccinations.aspx

Information about canine parvovirus https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/canine-parvovirus.aspx

Information about distemper https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Canine-Distemper.aspx

Information about leptospirosis https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Leptospirosis.aspx

For more information about the rattlesnake vaccine, see the website http://www.redrockbiologics.com/