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Information on Vaccinations for Your Dogs and Cats

Getting your dog or cat vaccinated is one of the most important things you can do as a pet owner to maintain the health of your furry friend.

Here are some common questions that our veterinarians receive from pet owners of the surrounding areas of Grand Junction, Fruita, Clifton, Orchard Mesa, and Redlands.

puppies and kittens

When Do I Get My Puppy Vaccinated For The First Time?

For puppies, our veterinarians recommend that they come in their first time when they are at least 6 weeks and no more than 8 weeks of age. 

At that age they will get vaccinated for one of the most common and one of the most dreaded of dog diseases, Canine Parvovirus. It will most often result in the death of the puppy if not treated, and even if treatment is attempted, the puppy may not survive. The older and larger the puppy, the more likely it will be to survive. And some breeds, like Pit Bulls, are more susceptible to Parvo, as the disease is commonly called. And to make things worse, it’s an expensive disease to treat. Fortunately, as with most diseases, it’s easily prevented with proper vaccinations. And, don’t forget, it’s not just one-vaccination-and-your-pet-is- done. There is a series of vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is at least 14 to 16 weeks of age before it can be considered fully vaccinated and safe to do things like go to dog parks and go on walks where other dogs often go.

In the same injection, it will also be vaccinated against Adeno-2 virus and Parainfluenza, two respiratory diseases dogs can contract. Interestingly, vaccinating for Adeno-2 virus also protects against another disease, Infectious Canine Hepaitis.

The last part of the vaccine will protect against is Canine Distemper, a disease that is not as common as it used to be, but a disease that is still around and very often deadly when confronted.

When your puppy is 3-4 month of age, it will need to get its Rabies Vaccination. Although rabies is not a common disease over here on the Western Slope of Colorado, there has been an outbreak of rabies on the Eastern Slope for several years. As you may know, rabies is required by law because it is a fatal disease if it is not treated before signs are seen, in both people and animals.

Once the Puppy Series is done, the 2 vaccinations, DA2PPv and Rabies will be effective for one year, when they will need to be given again, but just one time, not in a series. These are called boosters, and they will be need to be given every 3 years thereafter.

There are a few other diseases that your dog can be vaccinated for if it is at risk. Our veterinarians will discuss those other diseases with you when you come in, and, together, we will decide whether they need to be given or not.

If you have an adult dog that needs vaccinations, those mentioned earlier will be necessary for them, also.  If they have never had vaccinations before, the first DA2PPv will need a booster vaccination 3-4 weeks after the first one for it to be effective.  Then it will be effective for a year before it needs another booster. And it will also need its first Rabies vaccination at the same time it comes in.

Rabies vaccination is necessary for a dog to be licensed in Mesa County, which is required by the time they are 4 months old. They can be purchased here at Redlands Pet Clinic so that you don’t have to make the long trip out to Mesa County Animal Services on the south side of Orchard Mesa.  If you didn’t get your dog’s Rabies vaccination here, you’ll need to bring in the Rabies certificate to purchase a license.

Why do pets need a series of vaccinations when they are puppies and kittens?

The reason is that, like babies, when they first suckle from their mothers they get what is called Colostrum, which gives them what is called Passive Immunity against diseases to which the mother is immune. If the mother has been adequately vaccinated (or has had survived the disease) the young will be protected for somewhere up to 16 weeks, but if this immunity is present when the young gets a vaccination, it will interfere with what is trying to be done for the puppy or kitten with the vaccination, which is called Active Immunity. It is what is obtained by stimulation of the puppy or kitten’s own immune system. Therefore, to make sure the puppy or kitten is fully protected, the last vaccination is given at 16 weeks for both kittens and puppies. And, to make sure they have the best chance of being protected until they reach that age, vaccinations must be given every 3-4 weeks until that age is reached.

When Do I Get My Kitten Vaccinated the First Time?

Our veterinary team give kittens their first vaccination when they are 8 weeks old.  It contains Feline Distemper, which is the same disease in cats as Parvovirus is in dogs. Plus, our veterinarians also vaccinate for 3 different Upper Respiratory Diseases, which are called Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, and Feline Chlamydia Infection.

Another disease we will sometimes vaccinate for is called Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) Infection. It is a disease that can be transmitted directly from cat to cat (like through a cat bite or scratch) or indirectly to your cat if it does something like eat or drink out of a dish that a FeLV-infected cat has recently used. Our veterinarians recommend that all cats that go outside get this vaccination. If they are only inside, they may or may not need it.  We will discuss that with you when you bring your cat to the clinic.

As with puppies, kittens will need a series of vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age.

As with dogs, cats also need to get a Rabies Vaccination to comply with the law and to be protected from this fatal disease, when they are 3-4 months old.

And cats need booster vaccinations one year after the kitten series is done, and then once every 3 years thereafter, except Feline Leukemia Virus Vaccine should be boostered every year for best protection.

Schedule a Pet Exam with Vaccination with our Grand Junction Veterinarians Today

If you have a new puppy or kitten that is at least 6 to 8 weeks old, schedule their first series of vaccines today! If your pet needs to get updated shots and have records from another veterinary clinic, don't worry! Just let our veterinary staff know which clinic and we will contact them for records. The first pet of a new client from the surrounding areas of Grand Junction, Fruita, Clifton, Orchard Mesa, and the Redlands to us at Redlands Pet Clinic can receive their first pet exam for $1. Call us at (970) 245-4060 for more information today!