Immunization Series Part 3

25 Jul Immunization Series Part 3

Your family veterinarian has informed you that your pet needs to be vaccinated. Now what happens?

Determining which vaccinations your pet needs is not always black and white. This is why your veterinarian will consider many factors before making vaccination recommendations. Below is a breakdown of common vaccinations recommended for dogs and cats, including information regarding the diseases these vaccines prevent. While the list below is a good starting point, your veterinarian is your best resource for your pet’s vaccination needs. Your veterinarian will create a specific plan for your pet that considers their age, lifestyle, environment, and exposure to other animals.

The vaccines below are broken down by species, then by core and non-core classification. Core vaccines are recommended for all pets. Your pet should have these vaccinations included in their plan in nearly all cases unless otherwise determined by your veterinarian. Non-Core vaccines may also be recommended depending on where you live. In some locations, “non-core” vaccinations may be considered “core” for that area due to the high risk of infection. Your veterinarian will determine if they recommend any of these additional vaccines for your pet based on their associated exposure risk.


  • Core
    • Rabies virus
      • Required vaccination for dogs by law in most states, including Indiana
      • Vaccine protects against fatal disease affecting the nervous system
      • Can be transmitted to people through exposure to an infected animal directly, through saliva, or through a bite
    • Canine Distemper virus
      • Vaccine protects against fatal nervous system disease, but it can also affect other areas of the body
    • Adenovirus-2
      • Vaccine protects against canine infectious hepatitis (targets the liver) and respiratory  system infection
    • Canine Parvovirus
      • Serious, potentially fatal disease affecting many different parts of the body, but especially rapidly dividing cells found in the small intestine and heart muscle
      • Puppies are at greater risk
  • Non-Core
    • Parainfluenza virus
      • Protects against highly contagious respiratory disease
    • Leptospira
      • Protects against bacterial disease called leptospirosis, which targets the kidneys and other parts of the body
      • Can be transmitted to people through contaminated water or contact with infected urine
    • Bordetella bronchiseptica
      • Protects against highly contagious respiratory disease
    • Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)
      • Protects against bacterial disease transmitted by ticks
    • Canine influenza virus
      • Protects against respiratory disease caused by influenza


  • Core
    • Feline Panleukopenia virus
      • Protects against fatal disease affecting different parts of the body
      • Similar to canine parvovirus
    • Feline Herpesvirus-1
      • Protects against upper respiratory disease
    • Calicivirus
      • Protects against upper respiratory disease
    • Rabies virus
      • Although considered a non-core vaccine by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), rabies is a required vaccination for cats by law in most states, including Indiana
      • Fatal disease affecting the neurologic system
      • Can be transmitted to people
  • Non-Core
    • Feline Leukemia virus
      • Protects against disease affecting white blood cells
      • Increased risk for kittens

Infectious agents and the diseases they cause are always changing. For this reason, vaccines and medications are constantly evolving with new research and development to attempt to stay ahead of these diseases. It is not unlikely that new vaccines and protocols may be added or removed from this list in the future as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and other professional veterinary organizations. The one thing you can count on is that your veterinarian will always make the best recommendation to keep your pet healthy and safe!