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Essential Guide to Pet Vaccinations

By Dr. Stacy


A common question we get from clients is, “What vaccines does my pet really need?” To answer that owners should know that all vaccines are classified into two categories: core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Every pet needs core vaccines, as they protect them against severe, life-threatening diseases, some of which are transmissible to humans. These vaccines include rabies and distemper parvo.


Our pets need non-core vaccines based on the lifestyle of the pet; these include lyme, leptospirosis, bordetella, feline leukemia and the influenza vaccines. Let’s say your dog is highly social at dog parks or grooming. I would recommend the influenza vaccine in this case because they are more likely to be exposed to influenza than a dog who doesn’t visit those places. If you have an outdoor cat, I would recommend the feline leukemia vaccine as they likely have a higher exposure rate to leukemia than an indoor-only cat.


Another consideration when choosing vaccines for your pet is to become educated on the infectious diseases prevalent in your geographic region. In northern Illinois, we see a higher rate of upper respiratory disease, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease among dogs, so I recommend that our canine friends get vaccinated for those diseases.


I know choosing the right vaccines for your pet can seem like a daunting task. Myself and the other veterinarians at Spay Illinois can help narrow down the choices for you, ensuring your pet continues to live a long, healthy life. 



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