As you glance at your invoice after your pets’ annual wellness appointments, you’re at a loss. What is an FVRCP? Or a Bordetella? Is that some sort of mushroom? You know your Airway Animal Clinic veterinarian asked about your pets’ lifestyle and exposure risks before deciding on the vaccinations they needed, but much of it flew over your head.

We understand how vaccinations, and the infectious diseases they protect against, can be confusing for pet owners without a veterinary background. Our team knows you want to be an active part of your beloved companion’s health care, so we’re clearing up any confusion you may have about your furry pal’s vaccinations. Bookmark this article for future reference, or give our team a call—we are always available if you want more information about your pet’s vaccinations.

What vaccines are necessary for my dog in Dayton?

Here at Airway Animal Clinic, we treat each pet as an individual. Rather than using a cookie-cutter approach, we carefully formulate a personalized vaccination protocol for your dog, based on their individual risk. Knowing their lifestyle and risk exposure, we can ensure your furry pal is vaccinated only for what they need, not every vaccination available. For example, if your canine companion stays at home 24/7 and never comes in contact with other dogs, we likely won’t recommend the Bordetella (i.e., kennel cough) vaccination. However, if your pooch is a social butterfly who enjoys doggy daycare, we’d recommend Bordetella and canine influenza vaccinations, to protect your pup from upper respiratory infections. 

According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) canine vaccination guidelines, core vaccinations for dogs include:

  • Canine distemper virus
  • Adenovirus-2
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies

Core vaccinations are recommended for all dogs, regardless of lifestyle or exposure risk, since these diseases can be deadly. 

Non-core vaccinations, or vaccinations recommended based on lifestyle and potential exposure, include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Canine parainfluenza virus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Canine influenza virus H3N2 and H3N8

Our veterinarians may recommend a combination of non-core vaccinations for dogs who may be exposed to wildlife, rodents, ticks, or other dogs. By discussing your furry pal’s lifestyle prior to their vaccinations, we can ensure they’re protected against many infectious diseases.

What vaccines are necessary for my cat in Dayton?

While many cats are homebodies who stay strictly indoors, they can still be exposed to infectious diseases, especially if you bring home a new cat, or snuggle a stray at the shelter. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), cats should receive the following core vaccinations:

  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis (Feline herpesvirus-1)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia virus
  • Rabies

Additional vaccinations based on age and exposure risk are classified as non-core vaccinations and include:

  • Feline leukemia (FeLV)
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

Feline leukemia vaccination is generally recommended for all kittens, and annual boosters are reserved for cats with an exposure risk, whereas the FIV vaccine is restricted to cats with a high infection risk. If your feline friend ventures outdoors, we will likely recommend an annual leukemia vaccination, to ensure their safety from infectious diseases carried by stray cats. 

Can my pet have a reaction to vaccines?

Like people, pets can react to any medication or vaccination, but preparation, and knowing what to watch for, can help mitigate a potential reaction. Pets commonly experience some or all of the following mild side effects, typically only a few hours after vaccination:

  • Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
  • Mild fever
  • Decreased appetite and activity
  • Sneezing, mild coughing, or other respiratory signs, which may occur two to five days after an intranasal vaccine

If these signs persist for more than a day or two, or your pet is clearly uncomfortable, let us know. A small, firm swelling under the skin may also develop at the vaccination site, but should disappear in a couple weeks. If the swelling persists more than three weeks, or seems to be getting larger, you should contact us. 

More serious, but less common, side effects may occur minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions are medical emergencies, and can be life-threatening, so contact us immediately if any of these signs develop:

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Itchy skin with hives
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing, or difficulty breathing
  • Collapse  

Most pets handle vaccines well, and never display any adverse effects, but if your pet develops any post-vaccination issues, let us know for future reference.

Does my pet need vaccines every year?

Many core vaccinations are labeled for three years, although some require annual boosters. While you may think an annual visit for the appropriate vaccination boosters is enough, an annual wellness visit to evaluate and monitor your pet’s health is critical. A yearly exam consists of much more than vaccinations—we perform a comprehensive physical exam to detect abnormalities in your pet’s heart, lungs, skin, eyes, ears, and mouth, along with routine blood work to establish baseline values. We also discuss behavior, nutrition, grooming, exercise, at-home dental care, and give tips that will help your four-legged friend live their best life. So, whether or not your pet needs vaccinations every year, an annual visit is essential for their overall health, happiness, and well-being. If we can catch problems early, treatment is likely more successful.

Lifestyle-appropriate vaccinations are essential for keeping your furry friend healthy and disease-free. A wellness appointment is equally important—call us to schedule your pet’s vaccinations, and their annual exam.