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Vaccinations for your pets: What you need to know to protect your pets from diseases.

Updated: Mar 28

Similar to humans, pet vaccines are very important in protecting them from potential infection and the spread of disease, all to maintain their overall health. They are the best and most important form of preventative care your pet can receive. Vaccines protect them from deadly diseases that can be expensive to treat. On top of protecting their health, getting your pet vaccinated also protects you and your family from the spread of disease as well.

Why do young pets need to be vaccinated?

Puppies and kittens have weak immune systems, making them susceptible to contracting diseases. While nursing puppies and kittens receive antibodies from their mothers, the protection from these antibodies is only temporary and begins to get weaker over time. It is recommended that young pets begin to receive vaccines once their mother's antibodies begin to wean. Most of these vaccines are given as a series in 3-4 weeks intervals. Your veterinarian will discuss the recommended vaccines based on your pet's age and lifestyle.

Which Vaccines should my pet receive?

Pet vaccinations are split into two categories: Core vaccines and "non-core" vaccines. Your veterinarian will judge the risk factors and location of your pet before recommending the best vaccines for them to receive. Part of this includes their geographical location and lifestyle. Discussing other factors such as travel and contact with wild animals can help in determining which shots your pet should receive. These vaccines vary from canine to feline and include:

Canine Core Vaccines

  • Rabies

  • DAPP (Parvovirus, distemper virus, parainfluenza, Adenovirus Type 2)

Canine Non-Core Vaccines

  • Bordetella

  • CIV (Canine Influenza)

  • Leptospirosis

  • Lyme Disease Vaccine

Feline Core Vaccines

  • FVRCP (rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, Panleukopenia)

  • Feline Leukemia Vaccine

  • Rabies

Do pet vaccinations have side effects?

While there are risks involved with every form of medical treatment, they should always be weighed against the benefits of protecting your pet and your family. Thankfully, most responses to pet vaccinations are short-term and common amongst most animals, and severe reactions are rare.

Common side effects include:

  • Lethargy

  • Decreased Appetite

  • Mild Fever

  • Sneezing

  • Mild Coughing

  • Snotty nose

  • Discomfort and local swelling at the injection site

More severe, but less common reactions can occur after vaccinations. These reactions can be life-threatening medical emergencies. Veterinary care should be sought immediately if your pet is displaying any of these signs.

  • Severe Coughing or difficulty breathing

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

  • Hives (itchy bumpy skin)

  • Swelling around the face, mouth, neck, or eyes

  • Fever

  • Lameness

  • Sluggishness

  • Collapse

  • Small, firm swelling develops under the skin of the injection site. If it doesn't go away within 3 weeks or seems to be growing larger, contact your veterinarian for further action.

Inform your veterinarian if your pet has had a history of adverse reactions to vaccinations. If unsure about how your pet will react to their vaccination, wait 30-60 minutes after they have received an injection before taking them back home.


Vaccinations are the best form of preventative care for your pet and are one of the easier ways to help them live a long and fulfilling life. Contact us today at 559-434-5470 for more information on vaccinations, or to book a vaccination appointment today! if you would like more information on pet vaccination, reference the articles listed below, or search for more articles like this one. Your pet deserves a long fulfilling life, and vaccines are the beginning of that journey.



  1. American Veterinary Medical Association. Vaccinations

  2. The American Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Vaccinations for your pets

  3. UC Davis Veterinary Medicine. Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

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