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Pet Vaccinations FAQs


Vaccinations can be very confusing for pet owners, so our veterinarians and veterinary professionals at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital have created a pet vaccination FAQ to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

What are vaccinations?

Vaccinations protects your pet from infectious disease or reduces the severity of symptoms if your pet ever does become infected. Vaccinations prepare your pet’s immune system from invasion of the most common disease-causing organisms, known as pathogens.

How important are vaccinations?

Vaccinations are one of the most important things you can do for your pet’s health. Infectious diseases can cause uncomfortable symptoms, chronic disease, disability, and even death. Vaccines have saved the lives of millions of pets over the last century, and these medications have improved the lives of countless more.

Pathogens can spread quickly between pets in a household and some diseases – like rabies – can even spread to humans, so vaccinations protect not only your pets but your family as well.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines contain antigens, which are very similar to the pathogens but do not actually cause the disease. These antigens “teach” your pet’s body all about the pathogen, and give the body a chance to develop the tools it needs to defend itself. If your dog or cat ever encounters the real pathogen, her body will know how to recognize and fight off the disease.

Do all pets need all vaccines?

No. Our veterinarians at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital will recommend vaccinations depending on your pet’s medical needs, age, and risk for infection. Geographic location can also determine the type of vaccination your pet needs.

What are core vaccinations?

Veterinary specialists divide vaccines into two groups according to risk of exposure to the pathogen, severity of disease the pathogen causes, and transmissibility to humans: Core and non-core.

Core vaccinations protect animals against those pathogens that cause the greatest risk for exposure, create the most severe symptoms, and pose a threat to humans. Core vaccines for dogs include canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Core vaccines for cats include panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calici virus, feline herpes virus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies.

Our veterinarians at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital administer non-core vaccinations according to your pet’s lifestyle.

Why does my indoor cat need a rabies vaccination?

Indoor cats need fewer vaccinations than an outdoor dog but all pets are at risk for rabies. Indoor cats like to creep around attics and other places where bats, a common carrier of rabies, like to hang out. Most states require pet vaccinations for rabies, which can spread quickly between species – including humans.

Are there risks?

Vaccination does stimulate the immune system, which can create mild symptoms, such as irritation at the administration site, fever and allergic reaction.

Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital has provided exceptional care for pets in the Cedar Mill community since 1979. We have multiple doctors practicing at our state-of-the-art facility, and all are glad to discuss your pet’s vaccinations with you.


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