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Emotional Support Animals

What Vaccines are Needed for Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals are special pets that provide companionship to their owners and relieve feelings of loneliness. These animals help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias. Pets are loving companions which improve their owners’ lives in so many ways. It is, therefore, the responsibility of owners to take good care of their pets’ health and protect them from diseases. One significant way to protect emotional support animals from diseases is to vaccinate them. Vaccinating all pet dogs and cats against fatal diseases such as rabies and Distemper is essential. Getting your pet vaccinated timely will keep him healthy and make him live a long life. There are different pet vaccines for different diseases, and pet vaccines come in different types and combinations.

Vaccines and Types of Pet Vaccines

Vaccines are products made up of components called antigens. These antigens help the body develop immunity to prevent any future infections from disease-causing organisms. Vaccines stimulate the body to produce antibodies that protect the body from diseases. 

Pet vaccines are of two types: core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines must be administered to all dogs and cats, regardless of location and exposure, and these vaccines protect emotional support animals from fatal diseases on a global scale. Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, are given to only those pets whose location, environment, or lifestyle puts them at risk of specific infections.

Core Vaccines for Dogs

The following are the core vaccines for dogs. If you have a dog as your emotional support animal, the Canine Vaccination Guidelines recommend that the following pet vaccines be administered to it:


Rabies is a fatal dog disease with no treatment available. This vaccine can be administered in one dose at 12 weeks of age for puppies. For adult dogs of over 4 months, a single dose is required. Boosters can be administered every year or three years. State laws regulate the timing of revaccination.


Distemper is also a fatal disease. The first dose should be given for puppies at 6-8 weeks, and two subsequent doses are recommended every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. For adult dogs, two doses at an interval of 2-4 weeks are recommended. Boosters should be given at 1 year and every 3 years.


For puppies (less than 16 weeks of age), the first dose should be given at 6-8 weeks. After it, two doses are advised every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. For adult dogs, two doses at an interval of 2-4 weeks are recommended. Boosters should be given at 1 year of age and less often than every 3 years.


For puppies, at least three doses are recommended between 6 and 16 weeks, 2-4 weeks apart. For adult dogs (over 16 weeks), two doses should be given 2-4 weeks apart. Revaccination should be done within 1 year of the initial vaccination, and subsequent boosters can be administered at intervals of 3 years.

Core Vaccines for Cats

Cats also accompany humans as emotional support animals and should be vaccinated properly to prevent diseases. According to the vaccination schedule by WebMD, core pet vaccines recommended for cats are:


For kittens (less than 16 weeks), a single dose at 8 weeks of age is required. For adult cats, a single dose with annual revaccination is required. Boosters could be administered annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine used and the state regulations. 

Feline Distemper, Feline Herpesvirus and Calicivirus: 

These are fatal contagious diseases. Feline Distemper is common in kittens, while the Herpesvirus and Calicivirus are very contagious upper respiratory conditions. These vaccines should be given to kittens at 6 weeks and every 3-4 weeks until 16-20 weeks. For adult cats, two doses are required at 3-4 weeks. Revaccination is done after 1 year of the initial vaccination and every 3 years.

Side Effects After Pet Vaccines

Side effects occur after pet vaccinations but are mild in the form of low fever or dizziness. These side effects show that the body responds to the pet vaccines and the immune system is working. An emotional support animal should be monitored for a few hours after it is vaccinated. If more serious symptoms like breathing difficulty or vomiting develop, a vet should be contacted immediately. 

Bottom Line

Emotional support animals are an important part of life for many of us. We should adopt adequate measures to keep them healthy. Pet vaccines should be administered in due time to prevent dangerous diseases. It is often included in the policies of different housing authorities. When they accommodate an emotional support animal, they inquire if proper pet vaccination is carried out. Similarly, for college students to keep their ESAs with them, they are required to submit a vaccination certificate. Proper vaccination is key to a prolonged and healthy life for your pet.

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