Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vaccines 101

By Melanie Lippert, Clinic Services Program Assistant


Most people know that their pets should be vaccinated, but do they know what these vaccines actually protect against? It’s worth the time to understand what vaccines your pets need and why they’re so important.

The one vaccine that is required by state law for every dog and cat is the rabies vaccine. Most are familiar with rabies but don’t consider the risk of their household pets transmitting this deadly virus. Rabies is most commonly transmitted through wild animals such as skunks, raccoons and bats. Once contracted, there is no cure for rabies in animals or in humans. The introduction of the rabies vaccine has drastically decreased the number of cases over the years.

Another vaccination, commonly called DHLPP, is strongly recommended by most animal care professionals. This vaccine protects against up to five different conditions that can be deadly to dogs: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza. These diseases can be contracted by your pooch from other canines or the environment. While some of these conditions can be treated if caught early, others have no cure and can be fatal.


Even for indoor cats, choosing to vaccinate can be a lifesaving decision. The FVRCP vaccine protects against feline rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus and panleukopenia. These conditions can affect your cat’s health in a number of ways including attacks on their respiratory, immune and gastrointestinal systems. Some of these cases are limited to minor respiratory problems while others can be deadly for cats if left untreated.

Keeping your pets up to date on their vaccinations is safer, easier and far less expensive than treating a serious (or even minor) illness. Thankfully, Animal Friends offers low-cost vaccine, microchip and flea treatment clinics to help keep your four-legged friends safe, happy and healthy. These clinics are cash only and all services are offered on a first-come first-served basis – no reservations required.

If you have questions about which vaccinations your pet needs or for dates of upcoming low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics at Animal Friends, visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/Vaccine or call 412.847.7029.

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