Vaccines for animals can be every bit as confusing as they are for humans!  For one thing, the formal names of the diseases that vaccines prevent often go by commonly- used nicknames (for example BORDELLA is referred to as KENNEL COUGH.

Also, you must consider timing schedules as many vaccines are treated as a series.  Choosing the appropriate course can be complicated, as many options for vaccines depend on your pet’s lifestyle, environment and any medical problems as well. We will try to clarify as simply as possible the schedules we recommend for dogs and for cats.

There are *two core vaccines that we feel all pets should receive:

  1. DHPP (stands for DISTEMPER, HEPATITIS, PARAINFLUENZA and PARVO). This five-series would require a first shot, then follow up shots at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 12 weeks and 15 weeks after.  Adult dogs are moved to DHPP every 3 years after the age of one year old.
  2. RABIES This vaccine is once a year with a booster after 12 weeks.  It is state law that you must vaccinate your pet against rabies.

Additionally, there are three *non–core vaccines that many opt for, based on lifestyle and exposure:

  1. LEPTOSPIROSIS –  We strongly recommend this vaccines for dogs because this is a disease they can give to humans. It is only considered non-core because some parts of the country do not have Leptospirosis. However, Atlanta does have Leptospirosis. Two-injection Leptospirosis series is followed up at 12 weeks.
  2. BORDATELLA – Bordetella is also referred to as “kennel cough”.  We recommend this for dogs who are exposed to other dogs for extended play/visitation or boarding and grooming. Bordetella is a 2-injection series (first shot as a puppy followed up at six months).  This vaccine should be followed up yearly for those dogs boarding and grooming.
  1. INFLUENZA – This vaccine is a mixed injection of both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. It is given as a series and then followed up once a year.

* Learn more about these diseases on our website.

Cat vaccines that we recommend are:

  1. *FVRCP (which includes Rhinotracheitis (ferpes), Calici (upper respiratory), and Panleukopeniahe (feline distemper), It is given once then boostered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
  2. *FELV (feline leukemia) which is boostered at 12 and 16 weeks.
  3. *RABIES. This is given once then followed up once every year.  This is our only vaccine that is regulated by the state and county. Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted by saliva either by bite wounds or saliva contact with open wounds.

The recommended schedule is based on the lifestyle of the cat. Cats that are kept indoors only do not require as many vaccines as those who go outside.