Young animals are like kids–it’s a never-ending job to keep them safe and happy. Vaccinating your pet is a relatively inexpensive but very important way to protect his or her health. In addition to preventing many life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can prevent diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans. It’s important to administer vaccinations when pets are puppies and kittens because their young immune systems are still developing and need protection to stay healthy.

While any medical treatment involves some degree of risk, in the case of vaccinations, the benefits far outweigh any potential side effects. Adverse reactions are rare and usually mild and short-term when they do occur.

Which vaccines should your pet have? “Core” vaccines are the main ones recommended by the veterinary community, including rabies for both dogs and cats, and DA2PPV (Distemper, Hepatitis-Adenovirus-2, Parvo, and Parainfluenza) for dogs.

We also highly recommend these core vaccines: Bordetella (the bacteria that causes the commonly known “kennel cough” upper respiratory disease in dogs) and FVRCP for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.

Another non-core but a strongly suggested vaccine for dogs is leptospirosis (or commonly known as “lepto vaccine”). This one is important because of its worldwide distribution and zoonotic potential (the leptospirosis bacteria can be transmitted to people). We also recommend the canine influenza vaccine, especially when known specific viral strains are known to be causing outbreaks in the area.

For cats with an unknown history, once we can screen and confirm a negative FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus)/FeLV (feline leukemia virus) tests, we recommend vaccination against feline leukemia.

It’s also important to note that even pets who live primarily indoors should be vaccinated, as they can still be exposed to a disease. Your Boca Palms Animal Hospital veterinarian can advise you which vaccinations are required or recommended for your pet based on age, health, and lifestyle. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 561-395-4030.