August is National Immunization Awareness Month, created to remind people how important it is to keep their vaccinations up to date. But that advice isn’t just for humans—it’s vital for pets as well.

Vaccinating your pet is a relatively inexpensive but very important way to protect his or her health. In addition to preventing many life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can keep your pet and family safe from diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans.

Which vaccines should your pet have? “Core” vaccines are those recommended—and possibly mandated by law—for most pets. Core vaccines include:

• Rabies (dogs and cats)
• DA2PPV – Distemper, Hepatitis, Adenovirus 2, Parvo and Parainfluenza (dogs)
• FVRCP – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (cats)

Other non-core, but highly suggested vaccinations include…

FeLV to protect against feline leukemia for cats that go outside, and leptospirosis and Lyme disease shots for dogs. If your pet frequents dog parks, kennels, goes to the groomer or doggy day care, bordetella and canine influenza vaccinations are a must.

It’s also important to note that even pets who live primarily indoors should be vaccinated, as they can still be exposed to disease. Your MVC veterinarian can advise you which vaccinations are required or recommended for your pet based on age, health, and lifestyle. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 203-816-6315.