Pets, like humans, need routine vaccinations to prevent many diseases. Some of these diseases are infectious and some can even be fatal, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
In general, pet vaccinations include core vaccines and non-core vaccines, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
The core vaccines are those aimed at protection against severe diseases that have higher risks of infection, according to AAHA. The core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, canine parvovirus, canine adenovirus and canine hepatitis. Cat vaccines include feline distemper, feline calcivirus and feline herpes. The core vaccination against rabies is required by law for both dogs and cats.
The non-core vaccines are not always necessary. They are given depending on the risks of exposure to the diseases. The vaccines against Lyme diseases, kennel cough, and Leptospira bacteria are examples of non-core vaccines for dogs. Feline non-core vaccines include FeLV, FIV, Chlamydia, Bordetella, and feline immunodeficiency. It is suggested that you ask your veterinarian before vaccinating your pets with non-core vaccines.
The vaccination time varies with type of vaccine, age, lifestyle and environment. In general, the puppies or kittens should be vaccinated at two to four week intervals around the age of six to eight weeks until around 16 weeks of age, according to ASPCA. While certain vaccines might be given annually, others might be boostered every three years. The vaccines against rabies should be received according to the state laws. Some states require annual rabies vaccination, but some may call for every three years or even four years for cats.