Dog and Cat Vaccine FAQ
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are products designed to trigger an immune response to help protect the patient from disease causing agents.
What vaccines are required for my pet?
The rabies vaccine is required for all pets unless there is a documented medical contra-indication. Other vaccines are tailored to your pet's lifestyle, but most pets need a distemper combination. Other vaccines are more variable. See the canine or feline vaccine page for more information.
How often should my pet be vaccinated?
Once past the initial series, vaccines are typically given every 1-3 years depending on the type and your pet's lifestyle. Vaccinations are discussed at your pet's yearly exam. If your pet's lifestyle changes-their vaccine need may as well.
Why does my puppy or kitten need the same vaccine several times?
Puppies and kittens acquire antibodies from their mother. These antibodies interfere with the puppy or kitten's response to vaccinations. If the puppy or kitten has a low level of an antibody from mom, we need to start vaccines early (6-8 weeks) to get protection. If the puppy or kitten received high levels of antibodies, we would need to start vaccines at 12-16 weeks of age. Since there is no practical way to test the antibody levels, we start vaccinations early and booster every 3-4 weeks until the series is complete.
Will my pet have a reaction to the vaccine?
Most pets do not have any problems even if given multiple vaccines. The most common reactions include being a little tired and soreness at the injection site. Less common reactions include; low grade fever, vomiting and/or facial swelling. More severe reactions are extremely rare. If you are concerned about behaviors or symptoms your pet is exhibiting after a vaccine please inform us right away. If your pet has had a reaction we will adapt the vaccines given.
What about cancer and cat vaccines?
In the early 1990s reports emerged seeming to link vaccines with an aggressive form of cancer in cats. This rare form of cancer (1 in 10,000-20,000) is associated with inflammation, and seems to have a genetic component. However, at this time there is no test for a high risk cats. The adjuvant in vaccines increases this cancer risk, therefore, we avoid adjuvented vaccines in our clinic.