What to Know About Core vs. Non-Core Vaccines

Vaccines are a powerful, preventative tool that help protect pets from potentially fatal diseases. Understanding the importance of pet vaccines, distinguishing between core and non-core vaccines, and knowing when your pet should receive these vaccines are all critical aspects of pet ownership.


The Importance of Pet Vaccines


Vaccines are critical for several reasons. Firstly, they protect your pet from common, often dangerous diseases like rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and feline leukemia. Some of these diseases do not have a cure, and prevention is the only way to safeguard your pet's health.


Secondly, vaccines also protect human health. Some diseases, known as zoonotic diseases, can be transmitted from animals to humans. Rabies is a prime example. By vaccinating pets, we are indirectly protecting ourselves and our communities.


Lastly, vaccinating your pet is often a legal requirement in many jurisdictions, particularly for rabies. It's also commonly required if you plan to travel with your pet.


Core vs. Non-Core Vaccines: What's the Difference?


Core vaccines are those that every pet should receive, regardless of their lifestyle or location. They protect against diseases that are widespread, highly contagious, and often severe or fatal. 


Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, are optional vaccines that are recommended based on a pet's risk and exposure. These vaccines are often determined by the pet’s lifestyle, local disease prevalence, and travel habits. 


Understanding Core Vaccines


Core vaccines are essential for all pets, regardless of their life circumstances. They protect against diseases that are common, severe, and often fatal.


Rabies is a deadly virus transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. It affects the nervous system and is fatal once symptoms appear. Due to its severity and its potential to infect humans, rabies vaccination is required by law in many places.


Canine distemper is a highly contagious and serious disease in dogs with no known cure. The distemper vaccine is usually given in a combination vaccine that also includes adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza.


For cats, the FVRCP vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper). These are all highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases.


Exploring Non-Core Vaccines


Non-core vaccines are not necessary for every pet but depend on various factors such as the geographical location, the pet's lifestyle, and their overall health status.


For dogs, the Bordetella vaccine is often recommended for those who are frequently boarded, attend doggy daycare, or visit dog parks, as it protects against a common cause of kennel cough. Lyme disease vaccine might be recommended for dogs that live in or travel to tick-infested areas.


For cats, the feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccine is recommended for cats that spend time outdoors or live with other cats that could be FeLV-positive. The FIV vaccine, protecting against feline immunodeficiency virus, is somewhat controversial and is typically recommended based on individual risk assessment.


Factors that Influence the Need for Core and Non-Core Vaccines


Several factors influence the need for core and non-core vaccines. These include a pet's age, breed, health status, lifestyle, and exposure to other animals. Your local environment and disease prevalence also play a role.


For example, an indoor-only cat living in a high-rise apartment in a city may have different vaccine needs than a farm dog who is often outdoors and exposed to wildlife. Similarly, a young, healthy pet may respond to vaccines differently than an older pet or one with a chronic health condition.


When Should Your Pet be Vaccinated?


Vaccine schedules can vary based on your pet's age, health, and specific needs. However, general guidelines are in place.


Puppies and kittens usually start their vaccination series between six and eight weeks of age and continue every three to four weeks until they're about 16 weeks old. Adult dogs and cats typically need boosters annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine and local laws.


It's important to remember that vaccine schedules can vary, and your veterinarian is the best person to advise you on the optimal schedule for your pet.


Ensuring Your Pet’s Health and Happiness 


Vaccines play a vital role in preventing diseases, promoting the health of our pets, and protecting public health. Whether you have a new puppy, kitten, or an older animal companion, understanding vaccines, their purpose, and how they work can help you make informed decisions about your pet's health. The goal is to ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy, and happy life by your side.


When it comes to the health of your beloved pet, always consult with your veterinarian. They can provide the most accurate and individualized advice based on your pet's needs.


To learn more on core vs. non-core vaccines, visit Brekke Veterinary Clinic in our Castle Rock, Colorado offices. Call (303) 474-4260 to schedule an appointment today.

none 8:00am - 5:00pm 8:00am - 7:00pm 8:00am - 5:00pm 8:00am - 6:00pm 8:00am - 5:00pm Closed Closed veterinarian # # # https://goo.gl/maps/bJAtJRteZxkDbn118 https://admin.roya.com/sites/Site-aed916ea-d694-49f3-a7ef-98675bd9dd5b/ 1176 Aloha St. Unit 100
Castle Rock, CO 80104 720-464-3525 720-790-5095 720-782-6144 https://unlayer-email-template-assets.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/1717188696953-App-Store-Badge.webp https://unlayer-email-template-assets.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/1717188676342-google_play.webp shannon@brekkevet.com shannon@brekkevet.com