Vaccines are an important part of preventative health care for our pets. Pets are commonly vaccinated against some or all the following diseases.
Rabies is a virus that causes neurologic disease that is fatal for domestic pets, wildlife and people. It is most notably transmitted through a bite from an infected animal and can be transmitted to the owner through bite wounds as well. The rabies vaccine is required by law in the US, and despite the excellent vaccination system we have, there are still animals and people that come down with rabies every year. Due to the fatality and zoonosis associated with rabies (nearly 100 percent), there are legal ramifications if your pet is not current on their rabies vaccine. Therefore, it is very important to keep your pet up to date. If an unvaccinated or overdue pet is exposed to a potentially rabid animal, or accidentally bites someone, it may result in health concerns, the need to quarantine your pet or euthanasia in certain circumstances.
Distemper/Adenovirus (Hepatitis)/Parvovirus (DAP)
The DAP vaccine protects against a combination of diseases that can spread quickly among dogs and have serious implications for canines, including severe illness and death. Canine distemper is a devastating disease that is highly contagious in unvaccinated dogs and can result in severe neurologic signs, pneumonia, fever, encephalitis and death.
Adenovirus 1 is an infectious viral disease that is also known as infectious canine hepatitis. It causes upper respiratory tract infections as well as fever, liver failure, kidney failure and ocular disease.
Parvovirus in puppies is particularly contagious and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, and death in severe cases.
Oftentimes, the noncore parainfluenza virus is also combined in this vaccine, changing the name to DAPP or DHPP.
Bordetella and Canine Parainfluenza
Bordetella and canine parainfluenza virus are two agents associated with a highly contagious cough commonly known as "kennel cough," or canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC).
Diseases from these agents typically resolve on their own but sometimes can lead to pneumonia or more severe respiratory disease. Because Bordetella is so contagious, boarding and doggy day care facilities across the US require your pet to have this vaccine.
Canine influenza in the US is caused by two identified strains of the virus, H3N2 and H3N8. It is highly contagious and causes cough, nasal discharge, and low-grade fever in dogs. Outbreaks in the US draw a lot of attention, as influenza viruses can give rise to new strains of influenza that have the potential to affect other species and possibly cause death. Typically, the canine influenza vaccines are recommended for dogs that go to day care, boarding, the groomers, or any place where they will be among other dogs. Discuss with your vet if this vaccine is recommended for your pet. The Canine Influenza vaccine is initially given as two injections spaced three to four weeks apart, and then yearly after that. The county of Palm Beach experienced an outbreak in 2021.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can cause severe kidney or liver failure in both dogs and people. It is transmitted via the urine of infected animals and is found in both rural and urban settings. This vaccine is considered “core” in geographic locations where leptospirosis occurs. Dogs can be exposed by licking or encountering a contaminated puddle or body of water where an infected animal has urinated. Though traditionally, the leptospirosis vaccine was recommended to dogs in rural areas with outdoorsy lifestyles, leptospirosis has now been found to occur in suburban and urban settings, too. Leptospirosis can be transmitted to people as well. The vaccine covers four of the most common serovars of leptospirosis, and the initial vaccine must be boostered two to four weeks later.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that can cause fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, shifting leg lameness and, in severe cases, kidney failure. Lyme disease is endemic in various areas around the country, and the vaccine is recommended in these areas or for those traveling to those areas. Discuss with your vet if this vaccine is recommended for your pet. Like leptospirosis, the vaccine is initially given as two injections spaced three to four weeks apart, and then yearly after that.
- It is important to discuss your dog’s lifestyle with your veterinarian so that they can make appropriate recommendations for which vaccines are necessary to protect your dog.
There are “core” and “noncore” vaccines. Vaccinations are designated as either core, meaning they are recommended for every dog, or noncore, which means they are recommended for dogs at risk for contracting a specific disease. However, your veterinarian may reclassify a “noncore” vaccine as “core” depending on your dog’s age, lifestyle, and where you live.
List of Core Dog Vaccines
- Rabies - A fatal viral disease that attacks the nervous system and that is contagious to humans.
- Distemper - A viral disease that is often fatal, affecting the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, and often the nervous system.
- Hepatitis / Adenovirus - Vaccination against adenovirus type 2 protects against both adenovirus types 1 and 2. Adenovirus type 1 causes infectious canine hepatitis, a viral disease that affects the liver and other organ systems, causing serious illness which is sometimes fatal. Adenovirus type 2 causes a respiratory illness and may be involved in the development of a kennel cough.
- Parvovirus - A viral disease that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, and which can be fatal.
- Parainfluenza - A viral disease affecting the respiratory system; may be involved in the development of a kennel cough.
List of Non-Core Dog Vaccines
- Bordetella - A bacterial infection that can cause or contribute to a kennel cough.
- Leptospirosis - A bacterial disease that affects several systems including the kidneys and liver; can be fatal. Only a risk in certain geographic locations so not used routinely for every dog. Your vet can help you decide if your dog should have this vaccination.
- Canine Influenza H3N8 - The canine H3N8 virus, also called Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), is a relatively new influenza virus in dogs. It causes flu-like symptoms in dogs and is very contagious when dogs are in close contact (i.e. kennel). Due to the contagiousness of this virus, some kennels, grooming salons, and similar businesses are now requiring this vaccination to prevent an outbreak. Aside from those situations, the decision to vaccinate your dog (or not) should be discussed with your veterinarian.
At this time, vaccines recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) for all kittens and cats, include the following:
List of Core Cat Vaccines
- Feline panleukopenia (FPL) also known as feline infectious enteritis or feline distemper, caused by FPL virus or feline parvovirus (FPLV).
- Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), also known as herpes virus type 1 (FHV-1) caused by FVR virus.
- Feline caliciviral disease caused by various strains of feline caliciviruses (FCV).
- Rabies caused by rabies virus
- Vaccines recommended by the AAFP for kittens and cats with a risk of exposure to specific diseases
List of Non-Core Vaccines
- Feline chlamydiosis caused by Chlamydophila felis infection.
- Feline leukemia disease complex caused by feline leukemia virus (FeLV).
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) caused by FIP virus or feline coronavirus.
- Bordetellosis caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica
5 reasons to vaccinate your pet
- Vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses.
- Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented.
- Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and from animals to people.
- Diseases prevalent in wildlife, such as rabies and distemper, can infect unvaccinated pets.
- In many areas, local or state ordinances require certain vaccinations of household pets
Do vaccinations have side effects?
It is common for pets to experience some or all the following mild side effects after receiving a vaccine, usually starting within hours of the vaccination. If these side effects last for more than a day or two, or cause your pet significant discomfort, it is important for you to contact us immediately.
- Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
- Mild fever
- Decreased appetite and activity
- Sneezing, mild coughing, "snotty nose" or other respiratory signs may occur 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine
More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these signs develop:
- Persistent vomiting or diarrhea • Itchy skin that may seem bumpy ("hives")
- Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
- Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
- A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination. It should start to disappear within a couple weeks.
If symptoms persist more than three weeks, or seems to be getting larger, you should contact us immediately.