How Often to Vaccinate Dogs and Cats?

how often to vaccinate dogs & cats

If you own a dog/cat as your pet, you must know that you have many responsibilities to fulfil. Petting a cute dog/cat is not only about feeding it and playing around when you feel emotionally low, but it’s a full-fledge commitment that you must take care of. When you own a dog/cat, you must learn about its needs like vaccinations, neutering, spaying etc.

Many people who begin to pet dogs and cats recently might not know about neutering or spaying procedures and their importance. Others might not be familiar with getting their dogs/cats vaccinated on time. Like humans, every animal tends to develop multiple harmful infections and diseases and stay protected from such conditions. However, they require vaccination against specific diseases common among their species.

Dogs and cats can suffer from several diseases. However, Rabies always stands out. Rabies is one of the most familiar diseases among cats and dogs. Therefore it is your responsibility as a dog owner to get your pet vaccinated against Rabies and other infections. This article guides you on your pet’s vaccinations and how often you should vaccinate them. So, let’s get started!

What vaccines are available for dogs/cats?

Different vaccines are available for dogs like the five-in-one DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza); some people also refer to it as ‘distemper shot.’ Another vaccine is three-in-one FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia) specific for cats. However, the Rabies vaccine works for both dogs and cats.

How often do dogs need shots?

Before the vets had a robust understanding regarding the dog’s immune system, all vaccines used to get administered yearly in the dog. Vets believed that yearly vaccinations could prepare dogs for the diseases they might encounter at any time. However, with time, different medical studies on dog’s immunity suggest that you should vaccinate your dog according to the new schedules given.

Moreover, every dog responds differently to vaccinations. According to vets, after immunisation, the vulnerability to catching a disease increases with time. Therefore, your dog might stay protected from a specific illness while others are not. Therefore, there are new vaccination schedules available that help keep your dog immune before the next shot occurs.

Check out our article for vaccine schedule and their cost.

What is 5 in 1 vaccine for dogs? (DHPP)

DHPP, also known as, distemper shot is the 5-in-1 vaccine available for dogs, and you must have your dog vaccinated with this. It protects your dog from developing distemper, two different types of hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus induced diseases.

In previous years, dogs used to get DHPP shots every year. However, the yearly shots did not seem to help protect them from the mentioned diseases. Therefore, according to the revised vaccination schedules, your dog must receive the DHPP vaccine at 8th, 12th, 16th week, 1st year, then one year and three years later.

Medical research on DHPP vaccines supports that the vaccination works for three years for adult dogs, given that they have received all their puppy shots. Besides, adult dogs also require vaccination one year after their puppy sets owing to the low immunity.

Moreover, if your dog has received all the vaccination shots on time and never missed one, its memory cells will be able to protect for three years easily. But, in case your dog has missed vaccinations, then you might need to get it vaccinated more often than usual.

What is a 3-in-1 vaccine for cats? (FVRCP)

The distemper shot is a canine vaccine, whereas the 3-in-1 vaccine FVRCP is the major one your pet cat needs! In addition, the FVRCP feline vaccine guarantees to protect your cat against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia, given that you have got your cat vaccinated according to the proposed vaccination schedules.

According to the new vaccination schedule, your cat needs FVRCP shots at 8th, 12th, 16th week and then six months to 1 year later. So then, you can take your cat for FVRCP shot every three years. However, in previous years, cats received FVRCP shots every year. But now, according to further medical research, your adult cat can stay protected for three years after the FVRCP shot. Therefore, you need not worry about yearly vaccinations.

Rabies vaccines for pets

Rabies is a disease caused by the Rabies virus that affects the infected animal’s nervous system and humans. The disease spreads when the infected dog or cat bites another animal and human. Infected humans and dogs/cats suffer from a condition known as ‘encephalitis’, which refers to inflammation of the brain and resultant death if left untreated.

For dogs

Both the dogs and cats are vulnerable to catch the Rabies virus. Therefore you must get both of them vaccinated against the virus. According to the current proposed schedule, dogs usually receive a canine-specific rabies vaccine, which is the receival of shots at 16th week, one year later and then after every three years.

For cats

For a long time in history, cats received the same canine-specific rabies vaccine, which was acceptable for three years. However, studies suggest that it led to tumour development in cats. Therefore, now vets recommend that cats must get their feline specific rabies vaccine to avoid harmful consequences.

It would be best if you got your cat vaccinated with feline specific Rabies every year.

Other vaccines for your pets

Other killed vaccines are available for your dogs and cats, which are leptospirosis, bordetella, lyme, influenza, and FelV. It would be best if you got your pets vaccinated with these vaccines yearly. Please keep in mind, even though DHPP for dogs includes leptospirosis, you still need to get your dog leptospirosis booster shots every year.

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In conclusion

Undoubtedly, vaccination is an integral part of owning a pet, be it a dog or cat; you must get vaccinated according to the official schedules. Vaccination protects your pets from deadly diseases and infections and saves you from costly medicines you might need to buy when your pets get sick.

In this article, we have tried our best to brief you on dog’s and cat’s vaccinations like DHPP and FVRCP. Besides, we have also discussed how often you should get your pets vaccinated. We hope this information will prove helpful!


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