Veterinarian giving injection to a little catPet vaccinations and boosters are an essential part of your four-legged friend’s annual wellness routine. To protect against contagious and sometimes fatal diseases and illnesses, a regular vaccination schedule should be followed.

By vaccinating your pet, you’re protecting his or her lifelong health, as well as the health of your family (in the case of certain zoonotic diseases), and strengthening your pet’s immunity and susceptibility to a number of illnesses and conditions.

Unfortunately, with so much misinformation online and in the media about vaccines, it is even more important to thoroughly discuss your pet’s daily routine, likelihood of exposure, and previous vaccination schedule with your Naperville team before coming to any quick conclusions about pet vaccinations.

At Naperville Animal Hospital, we view preventative care as the foundation for health at all stages of your pet’s life. We encourage you to be vigilant about regular wellness appointments because these allow us to maintain a baseline of information about your pet when healthy so that we can recognize and address risks associated with disease and parasites. Booster shots are also vital to reinforcing the protection of vaccinations, and your pet’s booster needs are taken care of in those important annual exams.

So, what are the core vaccines given to your pet? And, why are they important?

Core Vaccinations vs. Non-Core

There are two categories of pet vaccinations: core and non-core. Core vaccinations are considered absolutely necessary to protect your pet against the most contagious and serious diseases.

Core cat vaccinations include:

  • Feline distemper
  • Calicivirus
  • Rabies
  • Rhinotracheitis

Core dog vaccinations include:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies

Non-core vaccines are given only if your pet needs them. For example, pets being boarded need to have a bordetella (“kennel cough”) vaccination.

How Do I Decide about Non-Core Vaccinations?

So, how does a concerned pet parent decide whether Whiskers should be vaccinated against some of the diseases that fall into the non-core realm?

Ultimately, it depends on risk.  If your family is staying in a cabin on the lake this summer, it would be a good idea to vaccinate against leptospira, a life-threatening bacteria found in wild animals and in contaminated fresh water lakes and ponds. Likewise, if your feline companion spends time outdoors, you may wish to consider vaccinating against feline leukemia (FeLV).

Vaccinations and preventives are inexpensive protection against costly treatments or the premature death of a pet. Always safeguard your pet through regular vaccines and preventive care. Keep in mind, puppies and kittens require more frequent vaccinations. Contact your Naperville Animal Hospital team for more information regarding vaccines and the diseases they prevent.