Pet Vaccinations

For adult pets, we recommend vaccine appointments every

six months.

Depending on your pet's age and vaccination history, your veterinarian might recommend a custom vaccination plan.

Pet vaccinations are important for all dogs and cats; even the ones that remain indoors most, if not all, of the time because they could still catch an airborne virus from outside at potty time or through an open window or door screen. More often than not, viruses are spread due to contact with other infected animals that are wild or whose owners did not elect to keep their pet vaccinations up to date. Given the violent and progressive nature of small-animal viruses, it is of the utmost importance to immunize your pet and opt to keep your kitty current with the latest cat vaccinations and your pooch up to date with his or her dog vaccination.

Dog Vaccinations

The Distemper Vaccine is a multi-component vaccine. It is given to puppies starting at 8-9 weeks of age; an exam and booster vaccine are done every 3-4 weeks until 16-17 weeks of age. This frequent vaccine administration is necessary to keep puppies protected as the maternal antibodies disappear. Large breed, black/tan dogs should receive the last booster at 17-18 weeks of age because of their increased susceptibility to parvovirus. This vaccine is boosted the following year, and then given every 3 years. The vaccine protects against the following viruses: Distemper is a widespread virus and is often fatal. This virus attacks the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, skin and central nervous system. All dogs should be vaccinated for distemper, as all ages are susceptible. Canine adenovirus can cause respiratory disease and hepatitis, and can be fatal. This viral infection is rare now because of immunizations. Parvovirus is a widespread, sometimes fatal disease which causes severe dehydration, diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, especially younger pups and unvaccinated dogs. Parainfluenza is a viral cause of infectious tracheobronchitis (ITB) or kennel cough. It is often a mild respiratory infection in otherwise healthy dogs. For mature patients at risk to vaccine reactions or who have immune diseases, a vaccine antibody titer for distemper and parvovirus can be done yearly in lieu of the vaccine, starting after the one-year booster vaccine. This does not apply to puppies. The Rabies Vaccine is first given at 12-16 weeks of age. The booster vaccine is given at 1 year; thereafter it is administered every 3 years. Rabies is a lethal virus to all mammals, including people. It is prominent in wildlife of the eastern shore, so all dogs should be vaccinated. This vaccine is required by Maryland law for all dogs 12 weeks of age and older. For commonly asked questions about vaccination visit:

Leptospirosis, also known as lepto, is a bacterial disease that can affect both humans and pets. It occurs all over the world and leads to liver and kidney damage as well as death if left untreated. Humans and pets can get this bacterial infection by coming into contact with infected wild animals (e.g., opossums, skunks, raccoons and rodents), lepto-infested water or infected urine. Since this disease can harm animals and humans, we encourage dogs to receive this immunization via two initial doses three weeks apart, and then on a yearly basis.

Lyme Disease can be carried by ticks and transferred to your dog or even to people as Lyme disease is a disease of humans as well.  Symptoms may range from fever and lethargy, to joint pain and lameness.   Not all dogs need this vaccine, as not all dogs have regular exposure to ticks per se, so ask one of our veterinarians if this vaccine is right for your dog.   Puppies or adult dogs who have not had the vaccine will receive two doses 3 weeks apart, and then one dose each year after that.

Cat vaccinations

Rabies virus is a fatal infection typically transmitted through bite wounds, open cuts in the skin or onto mucous membranes from the saliva of the infected animal. There is no treatment available once your cat is infected with rabies. This virus has very real and serious human and pet implications. For more information about rabies, visit this link:

Note: All cats, including indoor cats, are required by Maryland state law to be vaccinated against rabies.

Consider the following:

• There is a small, but real potential for rabies to enter your household. Wildlife such as bats, raccoons or skunks may bring the virus into your house and expose your cat to rabies.
• There is a legal liability should an unvaccinated cat bite or scratch a person. Rabies is a fatal disease for both humans and pets and is found here on the Delmarva Peninsula.

The feline FVRCP vaccine is used to protect cats against the three highly contagious viruses: feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopenia. The initial kitten series includes vaccine administration every 3-4 weeks with the last vaccine administered after 16 weeks of age. The vaccine is administered again at 1 year of age and then every 3 years.

This vaccine protects against:

Feline Herpesvirus (Feline Rhinotracheitis) – Clinical signs are associated with upper respiratory infection such as sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose. This virus can become latent (inactive) in some cats. These “carrier” cats may have long-term infections that reactivate in times of stress or with treatment that suppresses the immune system.

Feline Calicivirus – Clinical signs include sneezing, eye discharge, nasal discharge, oral ulcers, anorexia, and joint pain (lameness or stiffness.)

Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper Virus) – For more information about panleukopenia, visit this link: This virus most commonly attacks the intestine, bone marrow, and brain and can cause severe disease, including death. Symptoms are most severe in kittens. Clinical signs may include severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, fever, lethargy and anorexia. The immune system is often compromised, resulting in secondary infections. This virus is very resistant in the environment and may survive for over a year.

After the initial kitten series (2 vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart), it is recommended to booster cats again at 1 year of age, then yearly depending on the risk of exposure to the virus. A FeLV blood test should be performed prior to vaccination.

Feline leukemia is a significant cause of illness and death in cats. The feline leukemia virus is spread through grooming, sharing food or water dishes, or biting. Survival time for cats infected with FeLV ranges from 6 months to 3 years after infection. Clinical signs associated with a viral infection are not specific and may include immune-mediated diseases, tumors, bone marrow disorders including anemia, and secondary infections. For more information on the feline leukemia virus, visit this link:

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