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Vaccines That You Must Get For Your Cat And Dog

Vet Talks 6 min read
vaccines for pets

As fun and exciting as it is to get a new furbaby, it can sometimes it can be overwhelming to get a new pet. Choosing what kind of pet we would like to adopt, researching everything we can about a dog breed, or cat behavior, are just a few things to keep in mind. We receive a lot of information and sometimes we need expert advice to help us and teach us how to take proper care of a new beloved companion, especially when it comes to the vaccines that you must get for your cat and dog.

Veterinarians use vaccines to help stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies.

One of the main things that we need to know when adopting a new pet is how to keep them healthy. For that, a veterinarian would say: give good food, exercise and play with your pet, and give the correct vaccines.

Veterinarians use vaccines to help stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. With antibodies, puppies and kitties will be able to prevent certain infections or fight them if they happen.

There are two types of vaccines. Core vaccines, mean the types of vaccines that are essential for dogs and cats. Non-core vaccines, mean the ones that are only suggested for animals that have higher risks of infection. It is important to discuss the vaccine protocol with your veterinarian before starting it. This way you will know what type of vaccines your fur baby is getting and what is the schedule.


Pups are adorable. Their little fluffy faces, their smell (not the poop smell, though), and the way they play and explore the new world around them. Everything is exciting about a puppy. Simply adorable. Sometimes they act tough, learning how to bark, growl and playing tug, but since their system is in development, their immune system is fragile and needs our help to grow strong and be healthy.

Core Vaccines For Puppies

Canine Distemper (CDV), Parvovirus, and Adenovirus (aka infectious canine hepatitis)

These are the three main diseases that infect dogs, especially the elderly and puppies. If left untreated, they are often fatal. Even treatments for these conditions are difficult and often fatal. If the puppy survives, it is common to have permanent neurological damage.

Vomiting, diarrhea, discoordination, muscle paralysis, lethargy, appetite loss, seizures are some of the symptoms that your puppy can show when they are infected. They can contract these diseases by using an infected dog’s bowl or coming into contact with contaminated feces, nasal discharge, or urine.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to vaccinate your puppy. The protocol follows with 3 doses of each vaccine, often given in the same set of shots.

The first shot must be given when the puppy is 6-8 weeks old. That is when the maternal antibodies start to decrease levels in the puppy’s body and the vaccine will start to stimulate the immune system.

A second shot must be given after 3-4 weeks when the puppy is 9-12 weeks old. A third shot when the puppy is 13-16 weeks old. That is when the maternal antibodies are almost nonexistent, and the vaccine is most effective to stimulate the immune system. After the third shot, your veterinarian will assess and decide if a booster must be given yearly or every 2-3 years. This decision might be affected by the incidence of these diseases in your country or region.

Rabies Vaccine

This is a very serious and fatal disease that attacks the nervous system and can be spread from animals to humans. Rabies can be contracted when an infected animal bites another or when an infected animal bites a human.

Note: a human will not contract rabies if a non-infected animal bites them. The infection only happens if the animal is infected by the rabies virus. Symptoms are extreme foaming, hydrophobia, and extreme aggression without a reason. Rabies is fatal in mammals in general, and the vaccine is considered mandatory.

All dogs must be rabies vaccinated when they are 12-16 weeks old. This vaccine is usually given with the third shot of distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus. For a booster, the veterinarian can decide on the 1-year or 3-year booster, depending on how controlled the rabies infection is in your country or region and the type of rabies vaccine given to your puppy for the first time.

Non-Core Vaccines For Dogs

Parainfluenza, Measles, Bordetella, Lyme disease, Canine Coronavirus (CCV which is different from COVID-19 seen in humans), Giardia, and Leptospirosis are some of the non-core vaccines. Veterinarians will suggest them depending on your dog’s lifestyle, breed, and risks the region you live offers.

Who can resist that cute meow of a kitty? No one! These little furbabies are the cutest and most adorable, fierce, and brave creatures. Just the same as for dogs, kitties need vaccines to stimulate the immune system to develop healthy and strong.

Core Vaccines For Your Cat

Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) and Feline Calicivirus

FPV and Feline Calicivirus are the main and most severe diseases that infect cats. They are highly transmissible and often fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, neurological symptoms, nasal and eye discharge. They can easily contract the diseases from other infected felines, contaminated water, and food bowls, and discharge from other infected felines.

And just like puppies, the vaccine protocol follows three doses of each vaccine, often given in the same set of shots. The first shot must be given when the kitten is 6-8 weeks old, then at 9-12 weeks old for the second dose, and the third dose when they are 13-16 weeks old. A booster shot must be given every year during the adult life of your cat.

Rabies Vaccines

Cats experience the same symptoms as dogs and the transmission happens the same way, from an infected animal bite. Infected cats can transmit rabies to humans. Rabies is fatal in mammals in general, and the vaccine is considered mandatory.

Rabies vaccine protocol also follows the same as for dogs, and cats get the shot at 13-16 weeks old, usually with the third shot of Feline Panleukopenia and Feline Calicivirus. A booster is to be decided by the veterinarian, according to what type of rabies shot your cat had and where you live.

Non-Core Vaccines For Cats

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), Feline leukemia (FeLV), Bordetella, and Chlamydia are often suggested if your region offers a higher infection risk, or if you have an outdoor cat. Two other non-core vaccines for cats are Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Giardia, but the effectiveness of these vaccines is still debatable.

Vaccine Reactions

Like all vaccines, even in humans, reactions can be local discomfort and swelling, lethargy for a day or two, even fever in more extreme cases. If you notice any of these reactions, you should take your pet to a veterinarian.

If you are concerned about a vaccination, talk to your veterinarian about a titer test. This is a blood sample that will be sent to specialized labs to exam for an acceptable immune response to diseases like panleukopenia and calicivirus in cats. A rabies titer test can also be performed for the same purpose. If the immune response is satisfactory, another set of vaccines might not be required at the moment.

Natural Support For Puppies And Kittens

After your puppy or kitten has been fully vaccinated, you can begin using NHV supplements to help keep your pup or kitty healthy and supported. The NHV Puppy and Kitten Starter Kit is great to have on hand. The bundle contains all the essentials:

PetOmega 3—omega 3 fatty acids are hugely beneficial to help keep your pet healthy and their immune system supported.

Plantaeris—helps relieve diarrhea and helps reduce digestive discomfort. Plantaeris can be used on a short-term or long-term basis.

Inulin PK—is a natural dewormer that helps eliminate parasites and promotes healing from parasite related damage.

Multi Essentials—is a blend of herbs high in minerals and vitamins to add an extra dose of nutrition to their regimen.

First Aid Spray—to help heal and clean minor scratches and wounds.

If you ever have questions or concerns about vaccinations for your pet, our pet experts are here to help! Reach out to us by email or our social channels with your questions.

Dr. Rebeca Oliveira DVM

Dr. Rebeca Oliveira DVM

Dr. Rebeca is a holistic veterinarian from Brazil with a passion for natural and integrative medicine. She’s been studying integrative medicine and alternative (and healthier) diets since 2015, and now started to study the power of herbs with the NHV Family. In her spare time, you can find her spending time with her golden retriever, Kuga.

Published: December 30, 2020

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