Vaccination is the cornerstone to a healthy life for your pet. During their first few hours of life, your puppy or kitten receives natural immunity against most diseases from its mother’s first milk, the colostrum. The quality of that transferred immunity is very dependant upon the strength of the mother's immune system. Eventually, the puppy or kitten's immune system will have to fend for itself. Vaccinations provide your pet with excellent protection against life-threatening diseases.

Below explain which vaccines your puppy or kitten will need along with others that you may want to consider depending on the lifestyle of your pet. It has only been a decade since dogs and cats were dying at an alarming rate from diseases such as Distemper, Parvovirus and Panleukopenia. With nationwide use of vaccination, we have been able to significantly reduce disease transmission within our pet populations. Just as with children however, this does not mean that we should no longer vaccinate. Without continued use of vaccines, these diseases will again become prevalent.

Use the information below to learn about our vaccination protocols.



This is a 3-in-1 vaccine protecting your cat from life-threatening viruses:

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Herpesvirus-1): This virus causes upper respiratory tract infections with discharge from the eyes and nose, fevers, anorexia, and depression.

Feline Calicivirus: This virus is also a component of upper respiratory tract infections and can also cause ulcer formation in the mouth and on the eyes.

Feline Panleukopenia Virus: This fatal virus affects the intestinal tract causing profuse vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration and death. It also suppresses the cat's immune system.

Rabies --

This vaccine is required by law for your cat's protection as well as for your own. Rabies virus is a fatal, nervous system disease that is contagious to any mammal including man. Vermont is currently experiencing an epidemic of Rabies cases in our wildlife population. Kittens must be vaccinated at 12 weeks of age. They are then boostered at 1 year of age and then every two years afterwards. In Vermont, state law mandates that Rabies vaccine must be given every two years for all dogs and cats, and every year for ferrets.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) --

This virus is spread from cat to cat via blood and saliva (most commonly from cat bites). Kittens can contract the virus from an infected mother. It causes many different types of symptoms varying from suppression of the immune system to lymphoma, a type of cancer. We recommend that every cat be tested for this disease when they enter your home. This becomes especially important if you have other cats that may become exposed to the disease. If your cat goes outside (even if they spend limited time outdoors), we strongly encourage you to vaccinate for FeLV. We do not recommend vaccination for cats that do not go outdoors.


DA2PP: This vaccine is commonly called "Distemper", but in fact, Distemper is only one of the diseases it is protecting against. It is a combination vaccine that includes protection against Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. These diseases are discussed in more detail below. DA2PP is given beginning at 6-8 weeks of age and every three weeks thereafter until the puppy is at least 12 weeks old. When your dog is one year old, they will need a booster vaccination and thereafter it will be given every 3 years. Here is a bit more information about the diseases this vaccination protects against:


This virus can be fatal for puppies. Before vaccination against it became routine, it killed thousands of dogs annually. It involves gastrointestinal, nervous system, and respiratory complications. Your puppy can get distemper via airborne distemper particles from exposure to wildlife and other distemper-infected pets.


This virus is sometimes called dog hepatitis because it targets the liver, but it also affects the kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. Humans can live with the hepatitis viruses for a long time, but many dogs with an acute onset of Adenovirus have a very poor prognosis and could die within hours. Dogs who survive will secrete Adenovirus in their urine for 6 to 9 months and could infect non-vaccinated pups. Don’t worry; dog hepatitis is not transmissible to humans and vice versa.


This virus can devastate any pup, but Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Labrador Retrievers are especially susceptible. Parvo causes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and anorexia, and is often fatal in puppies. Anywhere dogs congregate - parks, pet shows, kennels - are risk areas for Parvo exposure. All puppies should receive vaccination against Parvo, but the above mentioned breeds will receive at least one additional vaccination to help protect them against the disease.

Rabies --

Most of us associate Rabies with the mad dog frothing at the mouth, eager to bite anything near it. Although this is a common presentation in countries where there is a very high population of unvaccinated stray dogs, in the United States, Rabies usually appears in wild animals. By law you must vaccinate your dog for Rabies; your pet is ready for this shot at 12 weeks of age. After this first shot, you need to get periodic vaccinations, according to state regulations. In Vermont, state law mandates that Rabies vaccine must be given every two years for all dogs and cats, and every year for ferrets. (Remember, if you move outside of Vermont you should check with your new veterinarian for state regulations regarding the frequency of Rabies vaccine) All warm-blooded animals - including you - can get rabies. The prognosis is fatal.

Lyme --

This disease is the most common tick-transmitted disease in the world, but with proper tick control and vaccination, transmission of the disease can be greatly reduced. Lyme disease causes a multitude of health problems, including fever, unwillingness to eat, sore joints, a stiff gait, or lameness that may shift from one leg to the other. It can also have more serious consequences such as kidney failure. Don’t be mislead into thinking that Lyme disease isn’t in Vermont yet. Lyme is transmitted by the deer tick and Vermont has plenty of them! Recent studies have found that the prevalence of Lyme disease in Vermont is as high as 30% (i.e. One out of three dogs has been exposed to Lyme disease based on serologic titers). This vaccine is given when your puppy is 9 weeks or older and a booster vaccination is given three weeks later. No matter what the age of your dog, it is never too late to begin this vaccination.

Bordetella --

Bordetella vaccines prevent a very contagious disease called kennel cough. Kennel cough causes bouts of high pitched, honk-like coughing that keeps both you and your pet awake at night for up to 3 weeks! Onset of this disease occurs abruptly after contact with infected dogs. Some owners also note vomiting in their dogs, but usually their pets are just expelling a large amount of phlegm. There is no cure for this disease except time, although antibiotics will often be prescribed to prevent secondary infections.

Bordetella vaccine should be likened to the flu vaccine in humans. Just as there are many different "strains" of the flu, there are many different causes of kennel cough, and vaccination does not ensure that your dog will not get the disease. Flu vaccines include the most common strains affecting the population that year. Bordetella vaccine includes protection against the most common cause of kennel cough, the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Even if your dog becomes infected, vaccination can limit the severity of the disease and is frequently recommended. To be effective, this vaccine needs to be given at least once a year -- more frequently if your pet is boarded or habitually exposed to areas where many dogs are concentrated (dog parks, groomers, puppy obedience classes). If you decide to board your dog in a kennel or even in a veterinary clinic, you should consider this vaccine (oftentimes it is required). There are two forms: an injectable and an intranasal (inhaled through the nose). The injectable vaccine takes a while to have an effect (7-10 days), so it’s not the best choice if you are in need of rapid protection. The intranasal vaccine has a quicker effect (2 days) and is best for more immediate pet contact situations. Puppies can be vaccinated as early as 3 weeks for Bordetella.


Most puppies do not have a reaction to vaccines, but there is always a slight chance. You should always monitor your puppy after vaccination for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, hives or redness of the ears. If you see any of these occurring within 30 minutes to one hour of vaccination, call us immediately. Even without an allergic reaction, vaccination day is probably not the time to take Sparky on a long run because he may feel a bit sluggish for the next 24-48 hours after receiving vaccinations.