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Vaccinations FAQs

Getting your pet vaccinated and maintaining his or her boosters can help prevent many serious pet diseases, and they help ensure your pet stays healthy and happy. Here are the most common questions we receive when our pet owners come in for their initial and yearly vaccinations.

Why should my dogs and cats get vaccinated?

Pet Vaccinations FAQVaccinations are the only way to prevent certain serious and highly contagious diseases, including rabies, parvo, distemper and feline herpes. Rabies does not have a cure and always causes death. Parvo and distemper also cause death, and feline herpes is an upper respiratory disease that is highly contagious.

Is rabies required by law?

All cats and dogs must be vaccinated for rabies, and they must remain up-to-date on their boosters. There is no course of treatment for rabies, and the disease always results in death. Rabies can even be passed from animals to humans through bites and scratches.

What are the core and non-core cat vaccines?

Core cat vaccines include rabies, feline distemper, feline herpesvirus and calicivirus. Non-core cat vaccines include feline leukemia and bordetella or kennel cough. Core vaccines should be given to every cat. Non-core vaccines are reserved for cats that are deemed high-risk.

What are the core and non-core vaccines for dogs?

Core dog vaccines include rabies, distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis. Non-core dog vaccines include parainfluenza, kennel cough, Lyme disease, leptospirosis and canine flu. Core dog vaccines should be given to all dogs, regardless of whether they are inside or outside dogs. Non-core vaccines are generally recommended for dogs that are kenneled, frequently around other dogs or who live in high-risk areas.

How often should my dog or cat be vaccinated?

Initial vaccines should be started between six and 16 weeks of age. Some vaccines require additional shots in the first year. After the first year, boosters should be given every one to three years. Our veterinarian can help you determine the exact vaccination schedule for your dog.

What happens if I do not get my dog or cat vaccinated?

It depends on the vaccinations you refuse to give your pet. Rabies vaccines are required by law, and owners must keep the paperwork on hand at all times. If the owner refuses to give their cat or dog the rabies vaccine, the dog may be quarantined or killed if it bites a family member or another individual.

The other vaccinated diseases can cause serious illness and death. Distemper causes permanent brain damage. Parvo causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea and if not treated promptly, often results in death. Canine hepatitis causes liver damage. Feline herpes and calicivirus cause severe upper respiratory infections in cats. Feline leukemia suppresses the immune system in cats and can cause cancer.

How do I schedule a vaccination appointment for my pet?

To schedule an appointment to vaccinate your cat or dog, please call our Edmonton animal hospital at 780-989-5595.