Updated: Oct 13, 2020
September 28 is World Rabies Day, in recognition of the still widespread viral infection that kills animals and humans all over the world. Around 59,000 people per year, usually children in developing countries, die of rabies, as well as an untold number of animals. The World Organization for Animal Health holds free clinics all over the world so people can get their dogs vaccinated.
This reminds us of the importance of routine preventative care and vaccinations. Rabies isn’t the only preventable disease that pets can contract. Science is chipping away at the most deadly diseases that shorten pet lifespans, and pet owners play an essential role in stopping preventable diseases in their tracks while ensuring long happy lives for their furry family members.
What Other Vaccines Should My Pet Get?
Preventative Shots for Dogs
New puppy owners should mark their calendars with a vaccination schedule. Vets recommend different shots at different stages — they’re often done in a series, with carefully timed boosters over the first few months of a dog’s life.
Puppies typically get a combination vaccine that includes vaccines for parvovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus-2. These are called core vaccines, and the diseases they prevent are highly infectious and sometimes deadly.
Depending on their location, owners might consider adding these non-core shots to their dog’s regimen.
Bordetella bronchisptica causes kennel cough, a highly contagious cough that can lead to pneumonia.
Dogs who love water are at a higher risk for leptospirosis, which is typically found in areas with rodents and standing water.
Certain places in the world, including the Eastern U.S., have deer ticks that can cause lyme disease. Luckily, there’s a vaccine.
If dogs spend lots of time in doggy daycare, the canine influenza vaccine may be appropriate for them.
Read a more detailed chart covering what shots dogs need on The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) website here.
Overdue for Shots?
Have a dog that missed its shots? The AAHA has recommendations for dogs that never got their shots, or dogs who have had a longer-than-recommended amount of time elapse between shots.
Preventative Shots for Cats
Vets inoculate kittens against distemper and feline viral rhinotracheitis. As is so often the case with vaccines, the distemper vaccine prevents an illness that used to be a major cause of death among cats, but today is nearly unheard of.
Pet Checklist for Regular Checkups
Vets check for a wide range of issues, and the