Basics of Vaccination:

Since their discovery, vaccinations have done wonders to lessen the frequency and severity of many diseases.  Some diseases have even been eradicated through stringent vaccination protocols.  Vaccinations work by stimulating the body's immune system gradually with repeated, controlled doses of particles that resemble natural exposure to a certain disease. The immune system develops memory to the disease, helping it to prepare for the real deal disease, should true exposure occur down the road.

Some vaccinations are considered "core" vaccines, meaning that every pet should receive them regardless of where you live, your pet's lifestyle, etc.  Other vaccinations are considered "non-core."  These vaccines are recommended for certain pets depending on their environment and lifestyle. 

What vaccines should my dog receive?

Core vaccinations:

  • Rabies: The rabies vaccination is required by law for all dogs in the United States.

  • Distemper-Parvo: Parvovirus causes severe loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. It can often times be fatal, especially in young animals. Typically, these vaccines also cover some combination of the coronavirus, adenovirus, and parainfluenza.

Non-core vaccinations:

  • Bordetella (kennel cough)

  • Lyme Disease

  • Canine Influenza (flu)

  • Leptospirosis

  • Rattlesnake venom

What vaccines should my cat receive?

Core vaccinations:

  • FVRCP: this combination vaccine includes protection against theses diseases

    • Feline panleukopenia: This is the feline equivalent of parvovirus in dogs. This disease causes gastrointestinal upset in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, and it can be fatal.

    • Feline herpes virus: This virus causes upper respiratory illness with the most common clinical signs including fever, sneezing, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcers.

    • Feline calicivirus: This virus causes respiratory illness, as well as oral disease. It most commonly causes oral ulcers which lead to loss of appetite, drooling, and pain.

Non-core vaccinations:

  • Rabies (Though the rabies vaccination is not listed as a core vaccine, it is required by law for all cats unless a medical exemption is granted.)

  • Feline leukemia virus

  • Feline Chlamydia

  • Feline Bordetella

What are the side effects of vaccinations?

Typically, the worst side effects of vaccines are seen when the shot is being administered--wiggling, kicking, and maybe a shrill screech or yelp.  As much as that screech is hard to bear, remember that you are doing the best thing for your pet!

Other side effects are as follows:

  • Scratching at the injection site. Some pets scratch at the injection site temporarily (usually no more than five minutes).

  • Inflammation. Occasionally, pets will develop a small inflammatory knot where the vaccine was administered. These spots typically resolve after a few short days. If a knot develops and does not go away after a few days, contact us.

  • Sleepiness. Often times, puppies and kittens will sleep more in the hours following vaccination. This is normal, as their body is using energy to respond to the vaccine(s) and build immunity. Unless they are extremely sedate, simply let them sleep it off.

  • Serious side effects. In rare cases, pets will develop more severe side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or facial swelling. In extremely rare cases, pets will have an anaphylactic reaction to vaccinations. If you notice any of these signs after vaccine administration, contact us immediately.