Vaccinations for Pets: Common Questions

We all appreciate our pets. They are our guardians and devoted companions. We want to see them happy, playful, energetic, and full of life. We feed, walk, and care for them to ensure they have everything they need to grow properly. One of our primary duties as responsible pet owners is to monitor our pets’ health. Our biggest worry is that our pets will get sick, so it’s good to know that vaccinations can help prevent diseases that aren’t necessary or are dangerous.

Whether you own a dog, a cat, or both, having vaccinations up to date is essential for your animal’s safety because some animal diseases can be transmitted to humans.

Do Vaccinations Provide Adequate Protection?

Pet vaccinations successfully prevent future illnesses or lessen the severity of clinical signs. To keep your pet from getting sick as much as possible, following the vaccination schedule your veterinarian gives you is important.

Is There Any Danger in Vaccinating My Pet?

Any medical treatment carries risks, but those risks should be weighed against the advantages of safeguarding your pet, family, and community from diseases that could kill. The vast majority of pets do well in tolerating vaccines.

The most common side effects of vaccinations are mild and transient. Meaningful responses are uncommon. Tumor growth (sarcomas) is a rare but serious adverse response in cats that can appear weeks, months, or even years after vaccination. Sarcomas are now much less common thanks to vaccines and other technological developments.

What Vaccinations Should My Pet Get?

“Core” vaccines are suggested for most pets in a specific region or location because they protect against the most prevalent diseases. These include:

  • Rabies (for cats and dogs)
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Canine parainfluenza
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Feline panleukopenia

“Non-core” vaccinations may be needed for specific pets with special needs. Your veterinarian will assess your pet’s risk of exposure to various preventable diseases to design a vaccination regimen that will provide maximum protection for the remainder of its life.

Talk to your vet about your pet’s lifestyle, including any planned trips abroad and/or interactions with other pets or wild animals. When describing your pet’s medical history, it’s important to include any operations they’ve already undergone, including veterinary cold laser therapy from places like Ellenton Animal Hospital. These things affect how likely it is that your pet will get sick.

How Frequently Should My Pet Be Vaccinated?

Many vaccinations provide enough immunity every few years, but others need to be given more often to maintain an adequate level of immunity that will protect your pet for life. For example, puppies need 3 to 4 shots of the parvo/distemper vaccine, spaced 2 to 4 weeks apart. Then, every year, booster shots will be given.

You will learn more here that your veterinarian will suggest a vaccination schedule that is right for your pet during its routine pet exams.

Do Vaccinations Have Any Negative Adverse Effects?

After receiving a vaccine, it’s common for pets to experience mild side effects like pain, local swelling at the injection site, mild fever, and decreased appetite and activity. These effects usually start within hours of the vaccination. If these side effects last more than two days or cause your pet pain, call your vet.


Vaccines are products that stimulate protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to combat future infections caused by disease-causing agents. Vaccines make the immune system make antibodies, which find and kill pathogens that get into the body. A pet vaccination schedule should be followed religiously, just like any other one, to ensure your pet stays healthy, happy, and well for the rest of its life. Make a vet appointment right away for your pet.