Scheduling Essential Booster Shots For Your Pet

Whether you're a cat lover or a dog person, keeping your pet healthy should be high on your list of priorities. Of the things you do to preserve their health, vaccinations are probably one of the most effective and important parts. However, just giving them their initial round of vaccines isn't enough, so it's important that you understand how often boosters will be needed in order to maintain the same level of protection throughout your pet's life.

Young Animal Boosters

In order for most vaccines to be fully effective and active within your pet's bloodstream, they require more than a single course. That means that your pet's first round of shots only gets them started, and while it offers some protection, it's severely limited. The exception to this rule is the rabies vaccine, which is normally a part of the final course of vaccinations at 3 months of age, and then again every 9 - 12 months, or as directed by local animal control ordinances.

For all other vaccines, the first round of shots should begin six weeks after your pet is born, with boosters administered every 2-4 weeks, depending on the vaccine and the type of pet you have.  Dogs will typically need boosters every two weeks, while some cat vaccines can wait up to 4. In both cases, early vaccinations continue until they are 12 weeks old, at which point they should have a full course of treatment and fully developed antibodies to those viruses.

Adult Boosters

For cats, booster shots are relatively easy to figure out, making scheduling their veterinary appointment simple. Core vaccines should be updated at least every 3 years, with rabies once again acting as the exception. Rabies vaccines come in several varieties, and while all can remain effective for up to three years some need to be updated as frequently as once a year, and the same is true for dogs.

Dogs require a little more detail to effectively schedule, so it's important you work with your veterinarian in order to understand the nature of the vaccine being used. Distemper, parvovirus and  rabies all vary, so while one brand of vaccine may need a booster every year another may not need updated for up to 3 years. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a specific timeframe at the time of your visit.

Updating your pet's vaccinations ensures uninterrupted protection against a number of potentially lethal illnesses. Rather than take the risk of leaving your pet unvaccinated, give them the security they deserve as a part of your family. If you're not sure whether your pet needs their booster shots, contact a veterinarian, like Cherokee Hospital for Animals, or local animal shelter to get your questions answered.