National Immunization Awareness Month

The month of August has been recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as National Immunization Awareness Month. Just as in the human world of healthcare, it is important for our pets to undergo a series of vaccinations throughout their lifetime.

Simply put, vaccinations or immunizations are given to protect your pet against disease. During vaccination, a modified bacteria or virus is administered to your pet, triggering an immune response within your pet's body which will prepare the body to protect itself against a specific disease. In general, our immunization schedules are based on the extended duration protocols as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. However, vaccination administration is taylored to your individual pet's situation.

Please take a few moments to consider the information in this newsletter and help us spread the word on the importance of vaccinating our pets against common preventable threats in our area.




Rabies has classically been one of the most feared infections of all time. It is caused by a rhabdovirus which is relatively unstable in the environment, requiring fresh contact with mucous membranes to establish infection. Vaccinating all dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies is a New York State Law.

  • A dog's first rabies immunization is valid in New York State for up to 1 year.
  • Subsequent vaccinations against rabies are valid for three years in New York.

Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus

This important combination vaccine provides protection against canine distemper virus (affects many organs, such as the brain, intestines and respiratory tract), parvovirus (stomach and intestinal infection), parainfluenza (viral respiratory infection), and adenovirus (infectious canine hepatitis). Each of these highly contagious viruses can be spread by direct contact or through the body fluids of infected dogs, domestic and wild.

  • A series of distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and adenovirus immunizations should be given to young puppies to help them develop their own immunity after the immunity passed from their mother wears off.
  • After the puppy series of boosters, dogs will receive this immunization one year later, and then every three years throughout their lives.


Commonly referred to as kennel cough, the bacteria Bordetella represents one of the infectious disease agents that causes tracheitis and bronchitis in infected dogs.

  • The first vaccination a puppy recieves provides immunity for one year.
  • Subsequent immunizations are also valid for one year.
  • This immunization is commonly required for dogs that frequent doggie daycare, groomers and boarding kennels.


Leptosopirosis is a bacterial infection spread by contact with the urine of an infected animal. The most common carriers in our area are skunks, raccoons and rodents. This disease, like rabies, can be contagious and deadly to humans.

  • Leptospirosis immunizations must be given twice the first year of a puppy's life, and then once annually thereafter.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, also called Borreliosis, is a bacterial disease caused by a bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria is transmitted when your pet is bitten by one of the many infected ticks in our area. The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs differ from those in people, and can show up months or years after a bite from an infected tick.

  • Lyme Disease immunizations must be boostered twice the first year of a puppy's life and then once annually thereafter.




Rabies is a very serious, always fatal disease affecting the brain and central nervous system, generally transmitted from infected animals via saliva. Fortunately, it can be easily prevented in dogs and cats by proper vaccination. Vaccinating all dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies is a New York State Law.

  • Cats should receive annual rabies vaccines their entire life, even if they only live indoors.
  • An annual rabies vaccine is used for cats because it has been proven safer than the older three-year vaccine.

Feline Distemper, Calicivirus, Viral Rhinotracheitis

Feline Distemper Complex provides immunity against feline panleukopenia, calicivirus, and viral rhinotracheitis. Panleukopenia, also called feline distemper, is caused by a virus very similar to the one that causes parvovirus in dogs. It is often a fatal infection that affects the digestive system, bone marrow, lymph tissue, and nervous system. Calicivirus and viral rhinotracheitis (caused by feline herpes virus) are part of the 'Feline Upper Respiratory Disease Complex', which describes a condition affecting the mouth, nasal passages, sinuses, and upper airway in cats and kittens. There are multiple causes of feline upper respiratory complex, but 80-90% of the cases are caused by feline herpes virus and calicivirus.

  • Kittens should receive a series of boosters against the Feline Distemper Complex of viruses when they are between 8 and 16 weeks old.
  • After the kitten series, cats will receive this immunization one year later, and boosters for lifelong protection are given every three years thereafter.

CATS AT RISK (those who go outdoors or live with Leukemia positive cats) should be immunized against feline leukemia:

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is a retroviral disease caused by the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Infection with FeLV is a major cause of illness and death in domestic cats. Large amounts of the virus are excreted in the saliva, therefore, the most common mode of transmission is through nose-to-nose contact, mutual grooming, and shared food and water bowls. Bites are also an efficient way to transmit FeLV. Vaccination is helpful in protecting cats against FeLV.

  • Kittens and cats should receive a series of two boosters (one month apart) against the Feline Leukemia Virus the first year they are vaccinated.
  • Boosters for lifelong protection are given once every year thereafter.

Questions? Call our office any time! (315) 682 - 0881

The Compassionate Care Healthcare

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