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Southwind Animal Hospital

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Why do puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations?

We at Southwind Animal Hospital have been thrilled to meet all the new sweet puppies and kittens of our surrounding communities and are thankful that these animals have found amazing, nurturing homes. It truly is a wonderful time for families to share in the joy of companionship and to learn the responsibilities of introducing a new member to the household. 

We recommend multiple booster vaccinations for puppies and kittens; here’s why.  

Puppies and kittens are born with a naïve immune system that is unable to fight against viruses. At birth, newborns absorb antibodies from their mother’s first milk, which is called colostrum. The colostrum is an antibody-rich fluid that supports and protects the newborn during the early stages of life. The protective antibodies passed from the mother are short-lived and diminish as early as 8 weeks of age. Therefore, our vaccine regimen begins at 6-8 weeks of age, when most pets no longer have their mother’s protection. These vaccines are repeated every 3 weeks until 18 weeks of age when there are no longer any maternal antibodies and the pet’s own antibodies will be created. The ultimate goal is to safeguard your pet’s transition from the mother’s immune system (maternal immunity) passed early in life to the pet’s own immune system (internal immunity), which is established by serial vaccinations. 

Vaccinating your pet is critical to preventing disease or to lessening the severity of clinical signs. It is important to follow the vaccination schedule provided by your veterinarian to reduce the possibility of an interruption in protection.