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The Importance of Non-Core Vaccines

You adore your furry companion and want them to have a long and healthy life. Keeping them healthy requires a nutritious diet, lots of affection and activity and frequent veterinarian visits. And although you might be aware of the necessity vaccines to safeguard your pet from serious diseases, do you know which specific vaccines they need and how often they should get them? Core vaccines protect against life-threatening illnesses, but non-core vaccines are important, too depending on your pet’s lifestyle, location and exposure risks.

Core vs. Non-core Vaccines: Understanding the Difference


Core vaccines, like Rabies, are essential for all pets unless there are medical reasons to avoid them. They help prevent deadly and widespread diseases.

Non-core vaccines are tailored to individual pets based on their risk factors. These vaccines protect against less prevalent, diseases that aren’t as severe or illnesses that are avoidable through other means. Examples of non-core vaccines are leptospirosis, Lyme disease, Bordetella, and influenza in dogs, or leukemia, Bordetella, and chlamydiosis in cats.

Why Non-core Vaccines Matter


These non-core vaccines help stop diseases that can hurt your pet, other animals and sometimes humans:

  • Chlamydiosis

This bacterial infection causes eye inflammation in cats. Symptoms include redness, swelling, discharge and eye discomfort. It can also impact dogs' respiratory systems. Crowded or stressful environments heighten exposure risks for both species.

  • Leptospirosis

This bacterial infection damages the kidneys and liver in dogs and humans. It spreads through urine from infected animals, including rodents and wildlife. Pets in rodent or wildlife-rich areas face higher exposure risks.

  • Bordetella

This bacterial infection leads to kennel cough in dogs. It easily spreads through contact or droplets from coughing and sneezing. Dogs frequenting places with other animals have higher exposure risks. This includes places like boarding facilities, groomers or parks.

  • Influenza

This viral respiratory infection causes various symptoms in dogs. These include fever, coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge. Dogs that interact with animals from different regions or countries face greater risks.

  • Leukemia

This viral infection causes cancer in cats. It weakens their immune system and makes them more susceptible to other infections. It spreads through saliva or blood from infected cats. Outdoor or multi-cat living environments pose higher exposure risks.

  • Lyme Disease

This tick-borne infection causes joint pain, fever and lameness in dogs and humans. It is prevalent in specific US regions and is particularly common in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Coast. Pets that frequently go outdoors in wooded or grassy areas with ticks face increased exposure risks.

Vaccination Frequency for Non-Core Vaccines


The timing for non-core vaccinations varies based on various factors, include the type of vaccine, duration of immunity, risk levels and local regulations. Our veterinarians can recommend the best vaccination schedule for your pet. Generally, most non-core vaccines include an initial series of two doses, given between two and four weeks apart. An annual booster is often necessary. Some vaccines may differ based on the manufacturer or the latest research.

Bottom Line


Incorporating non-core vaccines into your pet's preventive healthcare plan is vital to help keep your pet healthy and happy. They can also help stop diseases from infecting other animals and humans.

For more on pet vaccinations, visit Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital at our Pearland, Texas, office. Call (281) 997-1426 to schedule an appointment today.

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