Why You Should Keep Your Pets Up-To-Date on Their Shots


Our pets are precious, but they're not invincible. They're as susceptible to diseases and infections as the rest of us. That's why it's important to keep them up-to-date with all of their shots. It's the best way to grant them immunity against future diseases.

What Are Vaccines?

The easiest way to protect your pets is to get them vaccinated. Vaccines are health products that are designed to trigger immune responses in your pets. Vaccines help them fight back against illnesses and diseases. They also stimulate the immune system's production of antibodies and lessen the severity of any diseases that your pets do end up catching.

Most of the time, vaccines will ensure protection against diseases. Most vaccinated pets will never show any signs of disease ever again.

Why Is It Important to Vaccinate? 

Vaccination is extremely important to the health and wellbeing of your pets. Its role in fighting off diseases shouldn't be underestimated. Experts all over the world agree that vaccinating your pets is vital to their health due to the numerous benefits that it provides. 

We're always concerned over our pets whenever they're out and about. It's so easy to catch a disease or an infection just by going outside. It's better to prepare your pet to face those risks rather than hoping that they won't encounter them at all.  

How Often Should Pets Be Vaccinated?

Once a pet has been vaccinated, the effects will last for a while. Unfortunately, pet vaccines typically don't last forever. It depends on the pet, but a vaccine is usually good for about three years. Some states even require annual vaccinations for dogs and cats to prevent diseases like rabies. 

When Is the Best Time to Vaccinate a Pet? 

It's good to vaccinate, but it's important to keep track of how often your pet has undergone the process. Their age is a determining factor when it comes to vaccinations. Puppies and grown dogs are vaccinated at different points in their lives. Same goes for cats. The schedule usually goes like this:

  • Puppies: Depending on how healthy its mother was, a puppy will receive antibodies from her milk. Then, the puppy will usually receive a series of vaccinations when they're between six and eight weeks old. That's when a veterinarian will administer three vaccinations at intervals of three-to-four weeks. The final dose will come between 16 and 20 weeks of age, depending on the breed, exposure potential, etc.
  • Grown dogs: It varies for adult dogs. Some of them will receive annual vaccines. Others will be vaccinated  every three years for some conditions (rabies also following state laws, DHPP). Others vaccines are annual (Leptospira, Lyme, influenza) or more often (like kennel cough) if the dog is being board frequently or going to day care. 
  • Kittens: Kittens are exactly the same as puppies. They'll usually receive antibodies from their mothers' milk. Then they'll receive vaccinations when they're around six to eight weeks old. The final vaccination will come once they're sixteen-weeks old.  
  • Grown cats: Adult cats are the same as adult dogs. They'll either receive vaccinations annually or up to every three years for indoor cats. Just like with dogs, you will need to consider risk (outdoor vs. indoor, multi-cat homes, etc.) Some vaccines are annual if there is exposure potential, FeLV for example.

Some vaccines can last up to three years in SOME animals, however, you will find that most vets  typically don't go over three years between shots, unless there is a medical concern preventing vaccination. Some vaccines will clear antibodies earlier, but the tricky part is, there is not way for anyone to know which ones. 

Are There Any Side Effects?

There are a few side effects that might impact your pets after their vaccinations. It's important to note that these effects are only temporary. You should contact your vet immediately if you have ANY concerns; vomiting for example can be a sign of true anaphylaxis and needs to be promptly attended. It never hurts to check in and be safe, we don’t want any pet we are trying to keep well to be very sick.

  • Swelling at the vaccination site.
  • Mild fever.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Sneezing.
  • Mild coughing.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Swelling around the face or muzzle.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea.

Who Should Administer the Vaccines?

The most qualified person to administer the vaccines would have to be a veterinarian or trained hospital staff. If you're a resident of South Boston, you should visit the South Boston Animal Hospital. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.