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Important Pet Immunizations for Summer in Colorado

June 2nd, 2014 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Charlie makes sure that his dog has all her pet immunizations up-to-date each summer before they head out camping.

Pet immunizations for Castle Rock’s warmer months

Colorado offers so much for our pets during the summer.

But with all the good, we also get some interesting summer hazards.

Hiking trails, dog parks, kennels and groomers, and even your own backyard can open your pet up to the risk for disease.

Here’s a look at the pet immunizations that your pet family may need to navigate the summer with ease!

(Simply want to schedule pet immunizations? Call us at (303) 688-3757. Or click here to book a visit.)

Leptospirosis (Dog immunization)

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread by raccoons, skunks, livestock, rats and other animals.

At our Castle Rock veterinary clinic, we see more cases of it in dogs during the summer and the fall.

Your dog can get the disease:

  • From sniffing the urine of infected animals
  • Or by drinking or wading into infected water

This is something to think about if you’re taking your dog hiking or if you live downstream of a cattle ranch, as many of our new Castle Rock communities do.

It’s also worth nothing that leptospirosis can be spread to humans.

The good news is that this annual pet immunization greatly limits your dog’s chances of contracting the disease, protecting your family as well!

Feline leukemia vaccine – FELV (Cat immunization)

Do you have plans to let your cat outside this summer?

Or, are you going to take your cat someplace where there could be contact with other cats (such as a kennel or a groomer)?

If yes, be sure to protect your cat with the feline leukemia vaccine, also known as FELV.

Feline leukemia is a fatal viral infection. It’s transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat.

Complicating matters, some cats that appear to be healthy can actually be carriers and give feline leukemia to your cat.

The FELV vaccine offers protection to your cat for one year.

Typically, it’s 75% to 85% effective.

Smoky has all her pet immunizations. She's ready for summer adventures.

Rabies vaccine (Pet immunizations for dogs and cats)

Rabies is another disease that tends to be more of an issue during the summer months.

Rabies is a viral disease spread through the bite of infected animals, such as bats and skunks.

Indoor cats have a very low risk of rabies. However, there is still a slight risk for cats.

For example, it’s possible for bats to get into your home through a chimney or another opening. (A cat’s instinct is to go after the bat. And unfortunately, bat bites aren’t always noticeable.)

The rabies vaccination is required for Colorado dogs and cats.


Because rabies offers a human health risk.

However, there are exceptions for pets that have an acute or chronic disease. There also are exceptions for pets who have a history of adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine.

Our Castle Rock veterinarians can make that determination for you.

The first two rabies vaccinations that your pet receives offer one year (each) of protection. After that, your pet needs the rabies vaccination every three years.

Bordetella (Dog immunization)

Does your dog routinely come into contact with other dogs at Castle Rock dog parks, groomers, training classes or boarding kennels?

If yes, make sure his or her Bordetella vaccination is up-to-date.

The Bordetella shot protects your dog from many strains of kennel cough. While kennel cough usually isn’t life threatening, it can lead to serious bronchial pneumonia.

As you plan your summer vacation…

Keep in mind that most kennels require the Bordetella vaccination in order to board your dog.

It takes five days for this dog vaccine to become active and produce immunity, so don’t wait to get the shot.

(If your dog gets the shot the day before boarding, he or she won’t be protected.)

The Bordetella shot is good for one year, so you have plenty of time for dog socializing.

Here’s to a happy and healthy summer with your pet family!


Tips from a Castle Rock veterinarian: 8 tips to keep your dog safe & happy in Castle Rock


Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of dogs and cats, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance about summer pet immunizations. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2014, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved

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