Do you have questions about vaccinating your pets? Wondering what vaccines your pets really need or if you should be worried about any side effects? Our Troutdale veterinarians are frequently asked questions about the safety and effectiveness of pet vaccinations. Below, one of our veterinarians answers some of your most frequently asked questions about pet vaccinations in Troutdale.

Your Top Pet Vaccination Questions Answered

#1: What are pet vaccines?

Pet vaccinations protect dogs and cats against highly contagious illnesses such as rabies, parvo and distemper. Our Troutdale veterinarians typically vaccinate pets every one to three years, depending on a vaccine manufacturer’s instructions. We recommend the core vaccination series for all pets.

#2: How important are vaccinations to my pet’s health?

Vaccinations are extremely important to your pet’s health. By protecting against highly contagious and deadly diseases, vaccinations help prevent your pet from becoming seriously ill or even dying.

#3: What are core vaccines?

Core vaccines are vaccinations that every dog or cat should receive. These vaccinations are typically administered in a booster shot series. For dogs, the core canine vaccination series is known as DHPP. These vaccines protect against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus. For cats, the core vaccination series is known as FVRCP. These shots protect against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (feline distemper).

#4: What vaccines should my puppy or kitten receive?

All puppies and kittens should receive the core puppy/kitten vaccination series. Since the immune system of young animals is still developing, it is very important that they be vaccinated against highly contagious diseases. This is a series of vaccines that begin when a puppy or kitten is 8 to 10 weeks of age. Your young pet should receive a booster shot every three to four weeks until they reach 18 to 20 weeks of age. Our veterinarians may also recommend non-core vaccinations, such as a bordetella, which protect your pet against kennel cough. We work closely with each pet owner to determine the right series of shots for your pet’s health and lifestyle needs.

#5: Are there any risks associated with vaccinations?

Like any medication, there are some risks associated with vaccinations. In extremely rare cases, pets may have an allergic reaction to vaccines. Signs of an adverse reaction include swelling at the vaccination site, itching, shortness of breath and general weakness. Should you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, contact our veterinarian immediately. If your pet has been successfully vaccinated in the past without a reaction, it is highly unlikely that an adverse reaction will occur during future vaccinations. In fact, there is a far greater chance that an unvaccinated pet will become ill by contracting a preventable illness, than your pet will suffer an adverse reaction to vaccines.

#6: Are any vaccines required by law? 
Each state has its own laws requiring rabies vaccinations. The state of Oregon recommends that dogs and cats be vaccinated starting at three months of age. A booster shot is required one year after initial vaccination.