Vaccinations play a critical role in every pet's life - from six weeks to 16 years old (and beyond). Vaccinations lend protection from numerous diseases, some of which are life-threatening.


Just like in children, puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations spaced at regular intervals in order to be fully protected. Older pets need vaccinations on a regular basis, too. Depending on your veterinarian's and the manufacturer's recommendations, it can vary from every six months to every three years. 


Vaccinations are divided into two categories: core and non-core. Core vaccinations are ones that all pets should have, regardless of their life style. Non-core vaccinations are given on a case-by-case basis, depending on where you live and what the risk factors are for your pet.


For dogs:

Core vaccinations Non-core vaccinations
Distemper Bordetella (Kennel cough)






  Lyme disease




For cats:

Core vaccinations Non-core vaccinations
Feline viral rhinotracheitis Feline Leukemia
Calici virus Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Panleukopenia Feline Infectous Peritonitis (FIP)

Puppies and kittens typically receive a transient immunity from their mothers via nursing. This immunity begins to disappear sometime between six and 12 weeks - since we can't know exactly when the immunity lapses for a particular pet, we begin vaccinations at six weeks. This ensures that the pet is protected from the earliest age the maternal immunity might begin to wane. Vaccinations are continued at regular intervals until the pet reaches 16 weeks, which helps make certain that an adequate immune response is generated by the pet once the maternal antibody fades. This immune response is critical to protecting the pet from disease.


Just like people, adult dogs and cats need periodic booster vaccinations througout their lifetime. Some vaccinations are boostered every six months while others can last up to three years. Your veterinarian can offer guidance based on your pet's age and the vaccine manufacturer's recommendations, as well as any local ordinances.


Rabies vaccination intervals are usually determined by law. Rabies virus is transmittable to humans, as well as being fatal, making vaccination of pets a public health issue. In Catoosa County (which includes Ringgold, GA), all dogs and cats older than 12 weeks must be vaccinated for Rabies, as well as registered with county animal control. Frequency of booster vaccinations is determined by the veterinarian and vaccine manufacturer's recommendations, though the county registration must be renewed annually. You should always discuss Rabies vaccination requirements with your veterinarian, as laws can differ greatly from one jurisdiction to another.

Dr. Gerard Clarke

Dr. Jimmy Emerson

Small Animal Medicine & Surgery

by Appointment

6999 Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Ph: (706) 937-7387

Monday 8:30a-5:30p

Tuesday  8:30a-5:30p

Wednesday CLOSED

Thursday  8:30a-5:30p

Friday  8:30a-5:30p

Saturday  8:30a-1:30p

Sunday CLOSED 

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