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Pet tips: Get your vaccinations

Once your puppy or kitten has received their initial series of vaccines, an annual booster is all that is needed. (AP Photo)

Pets, like people, need vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease and to keep them healthy. Dogs and cats require different vaccines and their vaccine schedule will vary depending on age, history and lifestyle.

Your veterinarian will recommend core vaccines like DA2PPv, which include Distemper, Adenovirus-type 2, Parainfluenza, and the Parvovirus for dogs.

For cats, the common FVRCP vaccine covers Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia. These are all viruses that are highly contagious and are generally life-threatening, especially to puppies and kittens.

It is important to start these vaccines around 6-8 weeks of age, and boosters are needed every 3-4 weeks until the series is complete. Vaccination schedules will differ if your pet is in need of vaccines and is older than 16 weeks.

Once your puppy or kitten has received their initial series of vaccines, an annual booster is all that is needed. Some vaccines are approved to last three years, and the use of these vaccines will depend on the age and species of your pet.

Vaccination against Rabies is also required for both dogs and cats. These vaccines can be administered at 16 weeks for puppies, and 12-16 weeks for kittens. A yearly booster is required. The use of an annual or a three-year booster will depend on the type of vaccine, and should be administered at the recommendation of your veterinarian.

Non-core vaccines:

Depending on the lifestyle of your pet, your veterinarian may recommend non-core vaccines. If you travel with your pet to different regions, board or groom them frequently or hike trails where encounters with wild animals or snakes are possible, then your pet may need additional vaccinations to ensure their protection.

For dogs, these may include Bordetella (protection against kennel cough), Leptospirosis or the Lyme and Rattlesnake vaccines.

For cats, protection against FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), FeLV (Feline Leukemia) or Chlamydophila felis may be needed, depending on whether your cat goes outdoors, or if they have an unknown history.

** Pets adopted from Seattle Humane Society will be up-to-date on all core vaccinations, including Rabies (depending on the age of the pet), and Bordetella for dogs. Adopters are given vaccination history and schedule, which may include additional vaccinations, at the cost of the owner. **

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