A Look At Pet Vaccinations You'll Need For A New Puppy, Kitten, Or Feral Cat

Part of being a responsible pet owner is getting vaccinations for your dog or cat. Vaccinations keep your pet healthy so they have longer and better lives. Plus, some vaccinations may be required by law and you don't want your pet to get caught without being up to date on vaccinations. Here are things to know about pet vaccinations.

Puppies And Kittens Need Scheduled Shots 

Vaccinations start when pets are quite young, so there's a good chance your puppy or kitten will have at least one round of shots before you adopt them. That's why it's important to get medical records for your new pet. Your veterinarian will have a record of past shots and then advise you on the schedule your new pet needs.

Puppies and kittens may need a shot every month or so a few times to get all the important shots in while they're young. After that, the schedule may spread out to one or two years for boosters.

Your Vet Decides Which Shots To Give

There are a number of vaccinations available for pets, and your pet may not need all of them. Your vet will give your pet vaccines that are required by law and then add vaccines that are appropriate for your pet's age, lifestyle, and medical condition. Your pet will probably get a number of vaccines for the best health protection.

Common vaccinations for dogs include distemper, parvovirus, rabies, parainfluenza, and hepatitis. Your vet may recommend optional vaccines depending on the type of exposure to health threats your puppy will have. Common vaccinations for cats include rabies, feline distemper, feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and feline leukemia virus.

Vaccinations Are Usually Tolerated Well

Most pet vaccinations are given by injection. They may be injected into a muscle or just under the skin. Pets tend to tolerate the vaccines well, but if your pet has a history of side effects, or if you're just worried about side effects, your vet may have you wait in the office for several minutes after the injections just to make sure your pet will be okay. However, it's not uncommon for pets to seem lethargic for a couple of days after their shots. If you have concerns, call your vet and let them know.

Feral Cats Need Vaccines Too

If you start taking care of feral or stray cats, you may wonder if they need vaccinations. Trap and release programs for feral cats often include vaccinations to keep the cat colonies healthy and reduce the spread of disease.

Even though you have no health history for feral cats, your vet will probably recommend at least a rabies and an FVRCP shot. The FVRCP shot includes the feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia vaccines.