Preventive Care


Pets need the protection a vaccination affords, much as humans do.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by triggering your pet’s protective immune system, teaching it to recognize and build defenses against disease causing organisms. Vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity of or prevent certain diseases altogether.
Why is it important to vaccinate my pet?
The use of vaccinations has, and continues to prevented death and disease in millions of animals worldwide. They play a major role in keeping our companion animals free of disease from highly contagious and dangerous disease causing organisms so that your pet can go on to live a longer and healthier life. Some vaccines are mandatory in order to board your pet, take them to the groomers, or to participate in training classes or doggy daycare. Rabies is a required vaccine by law.
What are possible side effects from vaccinations?
The majority of pets will not experience any type of vaccine reaction. The most common adverse effects to a vaccination are mild and short-lived, usually starting a few hours after vaccination and include:
  • Pain or swelling at the injection site
  • Limping
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mild fever


If you notice these side effects lasting more than a day or if they are causing discomfort for your pet, please call your veterinarian to discuss if your pet needs to be re-examined.

A small swelling may also form under the skin at the vaccination site. It should go down in size within days or weeks. If still present after 3 weeks or growing in size, please contact your veterinarian.

More serious adverse reactions are rare, but include:

  • Facial swelling
  • Hives or wheals and itchiness
  • Lethargy and collapse
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Labored breathing


Please contact your veterinarian right away if you notice any of the symptoms above.

If your pet experiences any vaccine reaction, we recommend that you call our hospital or after hours phone line as soon as possible or go to your nearest emergency hospital.

Other uncommon adverse effects of vaccines in our feline pets include injection site sarcomas, which can develop weeks, months or even years after a vaccine was administered. Recent advances in vaccine formulations have significantly reduced the occurrence of injection site sarcomas.

It is very important that you inform your veterinarian if your pet has experienced any adverse reaction to vaccines in the past.

Your veterinarian will discuss which vaccines are necessary for your pet’s health. The risks should be weighed against the benefits in any patient who has had a side effect after vaccination. If your pet has experienced an adverse reaction, we may or may not repeat the vaccination (depending on the severity of symptoms and risks vs benefit) or we may administer a premedication injection prior to vaccinations and monitor him or her in our hospital for a few hours after the vaccine.

How often will my adult pet need vaccinations?

Vaccination recommendations are under constant assessment by the AVMA. Some vaccinations protect your pet for a year, other vaccines last longer. Your veterinarian will devise a vaccine regimen customized to your pet’s needs.

How about puppy or kitten vaccinations?

Young animals have a naïve immune system and are more susceptible to infections or contagious diseases. Puppies and kittens receive partial immune protection through their mother’s milk, but the protection is not long-lasting and as their mother’s antibodies decrease in concentration in your puppy or kittens’ bloodstream, series of vaccinations are administered every 3-4 weeks apart to bridge the gap in immunity. We recommend starting vaccinations as soon as you get your puppy or kitten and we will continue administration until they are 16 weeks of age. However, your veterinarian may alter the vaccine schedule based on your pet’s individual history or risk factors. When you come in for your puppy or kitten’s first exam, we can go over your pet’s recommended vaccine schedule and answer any questions that you may have.

What are core and non-core vaccines?

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are vaccines considered essential to your pet’s health. They are all recommended for any pet which has an unknown vaccine history and are required for some facilities who have boarding, doggy daycare, and grooming. Rabies is a vaccine required by law.

Core Vaccines – Dogs

  • Distemper, Adenovirus Type 1, Parvovirus (DAP combo vaccine)
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella


Core Vaccines - Cats

  • Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia (FVRCP combo vaccine)
  • Rabies


Non-Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are vaccines that may be recommended under particular circumstances or depending on your pet’s exposure.

Non-Core Vaccines - Dogs

  • Canine Influenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Rattlesnake
  • Non-Core Vaccines: Cats
  • Feline Leukemia vaccine (FELV)