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Health Team

Getting your new pet vaccinated: What you need to know

Posted August 15, 2018 4:06 p.m. EDT
Updated August 15, 2018 6:18 p.m. EDT

We're just three days away from Clear the Shelters, an opportunity to give hundreds of animals in our area a home forever. But if you are thinking of adopting a new pet, it's important to ensure that the animal is in good health. It's not all about snuggles with your furry friend — it's also a serious responsibility.

Tara Lynn, communications manager with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County said it's important to be prepared to get a new pet vaccinated.

“You want to make sure that you have a vet in mind that you can go to, and that you’re prepared to keep that pet up to date, because those vaccines keep them safe. They keep them from getting things like rabies or distemper," Lynn said.

The SPCA of Wake County offers basic vaccinations to pets in their adoption centers. Owners should check to make sure their kittens and puppies have these specific vaccinations:

  • Rabies
    • Starting at 4 months old
  • Distemper shots
    • between 6 to 8 weeks old
  • Booster shots given every 3 to 4 weeks up to 20 weeks old

But older animals need love too!

“Some of the pets who linger with us are the older pets, the dogs that might be heartworm positive and the cats that are FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) positive," Lynn said. "The great thing about these animals is that they can still live a long, healthy life.”

Many shelters start treatment on pets that are heartworm positive to help future owners. Part of loving an animal is making sure they're well taken care of and vaccinated.