What vaccinations does my pet need?

Many of the diseases that once brought serious illness and death to our dogs and cats are now easily prevented with vaccines. These vaccinations are an important part of keeping your pets happy and healthy during their lifetime.

Puppies and kittens are generally given their first vaccinations between 6 and 8 weeks of age. These vaccines are boostered every 3-4 weeks until the pet reaches approximately 16 weeks of age. From this point on, booster vaccinations should be given once yearly to maintain proper protective levels in the pets body.

When properly administered, vaccinations are a safe and effective way of preventing and controlling disease. Rarely a pet may have a reaction to receiving a vaccine. Usually these reactions are mild and involve lethargy, soreness, and a slight fever. These symptoms remain for 48 hours or less. More severe reactions come on quickly and involve vomiting, facial swelling, and hives. If any reaction to a vaccination occurs, contact a veterinarian.


We generally recommend three different vaccinations for dogs. These are Rabies, DHLPPC (also known as Distemper/Parvo combination), and Bordetella.  Vaccination for Lyme's disease may be recommended if your dog has a high incidence of tick exposure. 


Recommended vaccines for cats are Rabies, FVRCP (also known as the Feline Distemper combination), and Feline Leukemia.  Vaccination against FIP may be recommended for some cats based on risk.


This viral disease is common in young, unvaccinated dogs and is highly contagious and frequently fatal. Animals that do survive can often suffer lasting neurological effects. Distemper is also carried by wolves, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, and ferrets. Symptoms can include high fever, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea and discharge from the nose and eyes.

Puppies are particularly susceptible to distemper. Keep young puppies away from areas where there are stray dogs and populous wildlife.

Parvo Virus:

Parvo is another highly contagious viral infection that hits puppies and young dogs hardest. It is transmitted through the stools of infected dogs.

Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

Keep your puppy away from areas frequented by stray dogs.

Canine Coronavirus:

This virus attacks the intestinal tract and is spread by contact with infected stools. This disease is not as severe as Parvovirus, but can seriously compromise the heath of your dog. Puppies and older dogs are at highest risk for this disease.

Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.

Lyme Disease:

Lyme Disease is transmitted via a bite from an infected tick. It can infect dogs and humans and can cause damage to joints, kidneys, and other tissues.

Symptoms are vague but include lethargy and soreness. Specific testing can be done to help determine infection.

Kennel Cough/Canine Cough:

Originally discovered in areas where numbers of dogs were kept, this highly contagious upper respiratory disease is commonly the result of the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, but can also be caused by flu and adeno viruses.

Symptoms involve a dry, hacking, persistent cough.


This is a viral disease that can damage the liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs.


Carried in the urine of rats and mice, or found in contaminated water, this virus can cause kidney and liver damage. It is contagious to dogs and humans.


Rabies is a fatal viral infection of the central nervous system that can affect all mammals and is spread through the bite or saliva of an infected animal. All cities require that your pets be vaccinated against this deadly disease.

Feline Distemper:

Feline Panleukopenia Virus (commonly know as feline distemper) is a highly contagious virus that is particularly lethal to kittens and is spread through contact through any bodily excretions. All members of the feline family can carry the virus, as well as raccoons and mink. The virus is very stable and can live in an environment for up to a year or more. This is a different virus than the distemper virus that infects our dogs.

Symptoms include high fever, severe lethargy, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. This disease can cause permanent neurological problems. Secondary infections are common.

Kittens should be kept away from areas where stray animals have been until they have completed their vaccine regiment.

Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus:

This virus is a very common respiratory disease that can be fatal to kittens.

Symptoms include lack of appetite, sneezing, fever, and thick discharge from eyes and nose.

Kittens should be kept away from areas where strays have been.

Feline Calcivirus:

This is similar to Feline Rhinotracheitis. These two viruses are the cause of most upper respiratory infections in cats and kittens.

Symptomatically the difference here is that ulcers may be seen on the tongue and in the mouth.


Chlamydia is another upper respiratory disease that produces similar symptoms to Feline Calcivirus and Rhinotracheitis.

Feline Leukemia Virus:

This insidious infection can cause illness and death in all ages of cats. The disease decreases the effect of the immune system to fight infection, and can even lead to certain types of cancer. It is passed from cat to cat through bodily fluids and direct contact. Humans and dogs cannot contract this virus.

Symptoms vary, but prolonged illnesses, lethargy, and weakness are a few. This disease can be carried by cats that show no symptoms for prolonged periods of time. A test done in our office can determine whether a cat has this virus.

Outdoor cats are at highest risk and should be vaccinated.

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