If you have recently welcomed a new puppy or kitten into your family, congratulations! Bringing a new pet home is an exciting and chaotic time. As you get to know your new pet’s personality and work on house training, it is also important to vaccinate your pet against deadly diseases. Young puppies and kittens are especially vulnerable to diseases like parvo, distemper, kennel cough and rabies. Since the immune system for young pets is not fully matured, these pet vaccinations can truly make the difference between life and death for your pet.
Our Louisville veterinarians recommends that all new babies receive the puppy/kitten shot series. This is a series of life-saving vaccinations that should begin shortly after your pet is weaned, typically between five and seven weeks of age. The puppy and kitten vaccinations series includes all core vaccinations. For puppies, these vaccines are typically administered in a combined shot known as DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus). For kittens, the combined shot is FVRCP, which protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (feline distemper).
After the first shot is given at 6 weeks of age, subsequent shots in the puppy/kitten vaccination series should be given every 3 weeks until your pet reaches 16-18 weeks of age. At this point, your pet’s immune system will be fully matured. Our puppy kitten shot series includes core vaccinations (DHPP and FELVP) and rabies, which is given once when your pet is four months (16 weeks) old. Based on your pet’s lifestyle, our Louisville veterinarian may recommend that your pet receive additional shots, such as bordetella, Lyme(tick born disease) or expanded Leptospirosis. Bordetella protects against kennel cough, which is highly contagious and easily spread between pets in boarding kennels, doggy daycare, grooming salons, and dog parks. Our veterinarian works closely with each pet owner to determine which pet vaccinations are right for their puppy or kitten’s health needs.
In addition to the puppy/kitten shot series, your young pet will also benefit from preventative treatments for heartworm, fleas, and ticks. Once your pet has been de-wormed, we recommend placing your puppy or kitten on heartworm and flea prevention medication. In fact, some products can be used on pets as young as 6 weeks old.
Preventing fleas and ticks is very important for young pets. Fleas can remove enough blood to make a puppy anemic, in addition to spreading tapeworms and other harmful parasites. Our Louisville veterinarian can recommend flea/tick prevention products that affect flea eggs and larvae. These preventative products are critical because they help end the flea life cycle and reduce the risk for future flea infestations.