What Is the Difference Between Core and Non-Core Vaccinations?

Your pet’s vaccinations are a critical part of his/her preventative health care program. Rather than vaccinating every pet, every year, against every disease, we now seek to minimize the number of vaccines given – while at the same time ensuring that each pet is adequately protected against disease. This has led to the concept of assigning pet vaccinations into one of two basic groups: core and non-core. To date, these vaccinations have prevented millions of pets from unnecessary suffering and/or death.

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What Are Core Vaccinations?

Core vaccines are recommended for all pets with an unknown vaccination history, as they protect against diseases that infect dogs or cats of all life stages and lifestyles. The diseases involved have high rates of infection, pose a threat to the pet’s life, and/or are a danger to human health; in general, vaccination results in relatively good protection from the disease(s). These core vaccines include:

  • Rabies for cats and dogs—a fatal viral disease that can infect most species of mammals. It is recommended for both pets due to its potential to infect humans and because it is a fatal disease for which there is no cure
  • Dogs: Canine distemper—a highly contagious, potentially fatal viral disease that can affect the respiratory and nervous systems; Leptospirosis—a bacterial disease that is contracted through contact with contaminated urine and can cause liver and kidney failure. Can also be transmitted to people; Canine parvovirus—a highly contagious, potentially fatal gastrointestinal disease; and Adenovirus (hepatitis)—a viral disease that can affect multiple organ systems including the liver and kidneys and can be fatal
  • Cats: Herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and calicivirus—AKA respiratory virus vaccine. Highly contagious respiratory diseases spread through secretions and are also air-borne; and Panleukopenia (feline distemper)—a highly contagious viral disease that causes gastrointestinal illness and can be fatal

From puppies and kittens to our geriatric pets, preventive medicine keeps them healthy and prolongs their lives.

What Are Non-Core Vaccinations?

Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines that should be considered in light of the exposure risk of the animal (i.e., based on geographic distribution and the pet’s lifestyle). Several of the diseases involved are often self-limiting or respond readily to treatment. Non-core vaccines include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica for cats and dogs—AKA tracheobronchitis. A highly contagious respiratory disease that causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi
  • Dogs: Canine parainfluenza virus—a highly contagious respiratory virus and is one of the most common pathogens of infectious tracheobronchitis; Canine influenza virus (CIV)—a highly contagious virus known to cause kennel cough; and Leptospira spp—a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. Without treatment, can lead to kidney damage, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death
  • Cats: Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)—the most common cause of cancer in cats. May cause various blood disorders and may lead to a state of immune deficiency that hinders the cat’s ability to protect itself against other infections; Feline immunodeficiency virus—a complex retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency disease; Virulent feline calicivirus (FCV)—a highly variable virus with many different manifestations, including highly virulent, fairly benign, and all points in between; and Chlamydia felis—primarily causes ocular infections and conjunctivitis

Vaccination with these vaccines is generally less effective in protecting against disease than vaccination with the core vaccines.

Modern vaccines are very safe, but they’re not 100% risk-free. Allergic reactions, autoimmune diseases, and other adverse reactions—though rare—can be caused by vaccines. Wise pet owners look for a veterinarian who will tailor their vaccine protocols to each individual patient’s needs to minimize the risk of vaccination. Wise consumers like individual vaccine protocols because avoiding unnecessary vaccination helps reduce the overall cost of preventive care. Please contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for all your pet health care needs.

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on What Is the Difference Between Core and Non-Core Vaccinations?

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