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What vaccinations does CAH recommend and how frequently do we repeat them?

Vaccines are preventative medicine against infectious diseases. Newborn animals receive protective antibodies from their mothers when they nurse on the first day of life. These antibodies are an important source of protection for puppies and kittens until their immune systems are mature enough to make their own antibodies. This maternal protection fades with time.

Veterinarians give vaccines to puppies and kittens to stimulate immunity to life threatening infectious diseases. The diseases and schedule of vaccinations varies between dogs and cats. Vaccination reactions are uncommon. A bump may develop at the vaccine site. This bump should be loose within the skin and as soft as the tip of your thumb. After time it will get smaller and harder, then eventually disappear. If the bump is still present after 3 months, it should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Allergic reactions to vaccinations occur rarely. Signs of allergic reactions include vomiting, facial swelling, hives, panting and swollen ear flaps – usually within an hour of receiving the vaccination.

Vaccines for Dogs

Puppies are vaccinated against Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHPPV) at their first visit and then every 3-4 weeks until older than 16 weeks. This vaccination is repe4ated one year later and every three years thereafter.

The infectious canine cough or “Kennel Cough” vaccine offers protection against Bordetella and Parainfluenza viruses. This vaccine is administered as a nose drop or can be given as an injection. It is repeated annually.

Influenza vaccination is recommended for all dogs, especially those who board in kennels, go to doggy day care, dog shows, groomers or frequent dog parks.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs that is contagious to people. Dogs acquire the infection by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected wildlife or other dogs (such as at a dog park). Rats can also spread this bacteria through their urine.

Rabies vaccine is given once they are over 12 weeks old, boosted at one year and then given every 3 years.

Lyme vaccine offers protection against Lyme disease carried by ticks. It is given twice initially and then boosted yearly.

Vaccines for Cats

Kittens are vaccinated against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia virus (FVRCP) starting at 8 weeks of age. They are boosted every 3-4 weeks until 4 months of age, and again at 1 year. Boosters are recommended every 3 years thereafter.

Rabies is a disease that is transmissible to humans. Furthermore, rabies vaccination of all cats is mandated by New York State statute. For these reasons, all cats should be vaccinated against rabies. Feline Leukemia is caused by a virus. Feline leukemia vaccination is required for cats who live in multi-cat households where cats are allowed to go outdoors. We do not routinely recommend this vaccination for households where the cats are kept indoors.

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