The most important thing to remember is that vaccines are given based on age. Puppies should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are 18-20 weeks old. Kittens should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are 14-16 weeks old. The reason pets have to be vaccinated monthly is due to an immature immune system. The immune system is what is responsible for protecting the animal from viral disease. Imagine the immune system as an army that protects the body from the invading enemy army of virus. The army is strong a week after the vaccine is given, but after two weeks the army begins to weaken and many soldiers are not available. Four weeks after the vaccine is given, the army is gone and the animal is no longer protected. Once the pet is of the proper age, the immunity (army) remains strong and only needs to be boosted yearly with the exception of kennel cough, which is a six month vaccine. Lyme vaccine is an optional vaccine that should be given if the dog goes outside and could be bitten by ticks. Initially, the dog gets two boosters one month apart, then once yearly. All kittens and cats that have NOT been tested for Feline Leukemia/Feline Aids and have no previous vaccines are given a:
Kit 1 for kittens approximately 8 weeks old. Kit 1 includes a Leukemia/FIV test.
Kit 2 PLUS a leukemia test for kittens approximately 12 weeks old
Any kitten or cat approximatley 4 months or over would get a feline annual PLUS Leukemia/FIV test (FACT)
A combo test is a good idea for any kitten or cat that is a stray, has been in a cat fight, or spends a great deal of time outside as it tests for both Feline Leukemia and Feline Aids (FIV).
Puppies that are younger than 6 months of age do not need to be tested for heartworms. This is because the heartworms grow within the dog for 6 months before they mature and can be found by the present test. If a dog has been on heartworm prevention, especially Heartgard (Ivermectin), and the dog has missed some months of medication, an occult heartworm test should be done. The medication kills the baby heartworms (microfilaria) before they mature in the dog. The occult test tells if there are any antibodies present in the dog, which means the immune system is trying to fight off the heartworms that are present. When adult pets come in (from 7 months and older), all vaccines but the rabies should be boostered in 1 month. For example:
a canine would get a CA1 followed by a DAPPA, CVA, and KC
a feline would get a FALT or FACT (feline annual, combo test) followed by a FELVA and FVRA
Ferret vaccines are given on the same schedule as kittens, and then yearly. Baby ferrets are called kits.