Pet Vaccinations

Many fatal diseases can be prevented with timely vaccinations. Please consult with our doctors and staff to determine the most appropriate immunization schedule for your dog or cat.

Mercy Pet Hospital strongly recommends a distemper vaccination. The distemper vaccination, DHLPP actually protects against six very contagious diseases among dogs and it includes:

  • D = Distemper. This is an often fatal respiratory and neurological disease.
  • H = Hepatitis. This is a serious liver disease.
  • L = Leptospirosis. This is a bacterial disease of the liver and kidneys which can be transmitted to people.
  • P = Parainfluenza. This is a respiratory infection causing a serious cough.
  • P = Parvovirus. This is an often deadly gastrointestinal disease that causes diarrhea, vomiting, depression, and even death in dogs of all ages.

Initial vaccination should be given at 8 weeks of age. Boosters are required every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Thereafter revaccinate annually to protect your dog from these contagious diseases. The combination of vaccine your pet will be given depends on its age.

Bordetella Vaccine

Bordetella vaccinations are given to dogs that are to be kenneled, groomed, or come into contact with other dogs whether it be running errands, going to the pet store, dog park or down to the river or lake. Initial vaccine is given at 8 weeks of age or older. Thereafter the vaccine is given annually. This vaccine protects against most, but not all, of the strains of kennel cough.

Canine Influenza Vaccine

Canine Influenza vaccinations are also given to dogs that are to be kenneled, groomed, or come into contact with other dogs. Canine influenza virus can cause a dry non-productive cough, anorexia, lethargy, sneezing, possible clear to yellow/ green discharge from the nose and or eyes, and fever. The initial vaccination should be given at 7 weeks of age or older. One booster is required 2 – 4 weeks after the initial vaccination for immunity. Thereafter the vaccine is given annually.

Rabies Vaccine

By law, all dogs must be vaccinated against rabies. The rabies vaccination can first be given when a dog is 4 months of age or older. This must be boosted one year after the initial vaccine. Revaccinate every three years after the one-year booster is given.

Adult dogs who have never been vaccinated should receive all four of the vaccines listed above at their initial visit. The DHPPL vaccine is typically boostered three weeks later, then on an annual basis.

Additional Vaccinations for Dogs

Rattlesnake Vaccine

The first time your dog is vaccinated, we recommend an initial vaccine injection followed by a booster dose about one month later. We recommend then boostering each subsequent year. Typically, boostering would involve a single dose at the start of the rattlesnake season in your area. However, there are circumstances such as your dog’s anticipated exposure to rattlesnakes or the size of your dog where, in consultation with your veterinarian, you may wish to booster your dog with this product two or even three times per year.

Lyme Vaccine

This vaccination is for protection against Lyme Disease, which is the most commonly reported tick-transmitted disease in the United States. The disease is caused by a bacteria-like parasite. It is transmitted primarily by a small deer tick. The tick requires multiple animal hosts to complete its lifecycle. The adult ticks feed preferentially on deer and the female tick drops off and lays eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae which then feed on rodents or small mammals infected with the organisms. These infected tick larvae molt into nymphs which are about the size of a pinhead and are active mainly in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Initial vaccines is given at 8 weeks of age or older. This is a series of 2 vaccines, with an annual booster thereafter.

Vaccination for herpesvirus-1, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (Distemper) (HCP) given 3-4 weeks apart through twelve weeks of age. The first set may be given as early as 6-8 weeks of age. Typically kittens get 2-3 of these vaccines during their kitten hood and it is required for surgery and for boarding. This vaccine needs to be boostered annually.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV)

The FeLV vaccination is given 3-4 weeks apart, beginning as early as nine weeks of age. This vaccine is highly recommended because it is a commonly diagnosed and fatal disease in cats. It is boostered annually.

Rabies vaccine

The Rabies vaccine is given after 4 months of age, many times on the last kitten visit. This vaccine is required by law in California: it is good for one year and subsequent vaccinations are good for one year.

Adult cats who have never been vaccinated should receive all three of the vaccines listed above at their initial visit. The HCP and Leukemia vaccines are typically boostered three weeks later, then on an annual basis.

Vaccine Reactions

While rare, dogs and cats can have reactions to vaccinations. Signs can include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, pain or swelling at the injection site, or anaphylaxis.

It is common for pets to be lethargic for a day or two after vaccinations and this does not require further treatment.

Call us immediately if your pet collapses, develops labored breathing or pale gums, or has facial swelling after a vaccination.

If your pet experiences a vaccination reaction, future vaccines may be given separately or your pet may be pre-medicated prior to receiving vaccines. For severe reactions, the vaccines may be avoided entirely.