Pet Vaccinations 101: Protecting Pets From Disease




As a pet owner, you hear a lot about vaccinations and how your four-legged friend has to have them. But what are pet vaccinations? And what vaccinations should your pet have?

Simply put, vaccinations are given to protect your pet against disease. During vaccination, a modified bacteria, parasite or virus is administered to your pet by injection or intra-nasally. The vaccination triggers an immune response within your pet’s body to protect against a specific disease.

Veterinarians usually recommend giving puppies and kittens a series of vaccinations starting when they are approximately six weeks old. Young animals need to be vaccinated early on since the natural immunity in their mothers’ milk gradually wears off and they become vulnerable to infectious diseases.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a series of vaccinations are usually scheduled approximately three to four weeks apart, with the final vaccination series being administered when they are 12 to 16 weeks old.

Annual booster shots will also be necessary to keep vaccine levels high enough in your pet to protect her over time. Fortunately, pet owners appear to be keeping up with their pets’ shots; the 2007 AVMA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook reports that 64.4 percent of dog owners and 63.7 percent of cat owners received vaccination services or products during their most recent veterinary visit.

Vaccinations for both cats and dogs can be categorized into two groups: core and non-core. Core vaccines are recommended for cats and dogs with an unknown vaccination history. Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines that should be considered depending on your animal’s risk.

Core vaccinations for puppies and dogs include: parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV), and rabies.

Non-core vaccines include: canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV), distemper-measles combination vaccine, bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough), leptospira spp., borrelia burgdorferi (lyme), and giardia.

Core vaccines for kittens and cats include: feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1), feline calicivirus (FCV), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) and rabies.

Non-core vaccines for kittens and cats include: feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), chlamydophila felis, and bordetella bronchiseptica.

It’s important to remember that not all vaccines are 100 percent effective; a vaccinated pet may not develop adequate immunity and can become ill. However, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. When vaccinated, pets are protected against life-threatening diseases.

Coming events

This Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, Humane Society of Central Arizona will be at the Payson PetSmart for its grand opening, located in the Rim Country Mall on Easy Highway 260. We will have an information table, as well as some of our adorable cats available for adoption. Come by and support HSCAZ and PetSmart! If you are interested in volunteering with the cats at PetSmart, please let us know. Come by the shelter, located at 605 W. Wilson Court, and put your volunteer application in. We thank you in advance for all of your support!

A Low-Cost Rabies Clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at Main Street Animal Clinic, 411 W. Main St. Rabies vaccinations are only $10. There will be a licensing fee for all dogs. This is a CASH ONLY event. For more information, please contact Main Street Animal Clinic at 474-9292, or HSCAZ at 474-5590.

Saturday, April 13 HSCAZ will be offering low-cost microchipping for $25. We will also be offering free heartworm prevention with the purchase of a heartworm test for $20. Get a $5 discount by purchasing both the test and microchip for only $40. For more details, please contact us at (928) 474-5590.

Adoptable pets

These are just a few of the wonderful pets currently available for adoption at the HSCAZ shelter, located at 605 W. Wilson Court (just south of Main Street). Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.humane


Baxter is an outgoing guy who loves people. He likes other dogs but will need a canine companion that is tolerant and easygoing because he is so active and playful. Baxter loves to play fetch! It’s cute watching a small dog run around with a tennis ball in his mouth, and Baxter loves to do it.


Crown is an active girl who is smart and eager to learn new things. She loves people and gets along well with children. Crown likes to go for rides in the car and needs a yard with a secure fence.


Socks is a playful guy who loves to hang out with other dogs that are playful too. He is good with children of all ages and used to live with a 2-year-old. Socks is funloving, outgoing and eager to find his loving forever home.


Sophie is a sweet girl who has her shy moments. She likes other dogs and loves to play. She would do best with an owner who is willing to work with her when she has her timid times. She really is a sweet girl who just needs a little confidence.


Naomi is a petite girl who enjoys her wet food and her naps. She is still getting used to being around other cats but is slowly making friends. Naomi is a sweet girl who loves attention from people. Naomi is currently available to be seen and adopted from our local PetSmart!


Milo is super-affectionate and loves spending time with people. He gets along well with other cats and can either be found playing around or taking a nap with one. Though he enjoys playing with toys, he also likes to take it easy and relax. Milo is currently available to be seen and adopted at our local PetSmart!


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