An important part of our commitment to practicing exemplary veterinary medicine is providing a comprehensive panel of vaccinations. Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways to protect your pet from serious illness over the course of a lifetime.
Our veterinarians understand that a “one size fits all” approach to vaccines is not appropriate for every pet, which is why we’ll take the time to help you understand the benefits and risks of each inoculation, so you can make the best decisions for your pet and your family.
We divide our vaccines into two categories: core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are those that our veterinarians strongly recommend for every pet, regardless of age, breed, or lifestyle. Non-core vaccines are additional inoculations that can be given based on a pet’s unique risk factors, such as how likely they are to encounter an infection in their daily life.
Rabies Vaccine – CORE
The canine rabies vaccine prevents the rabies virus from infecting your dog’s central nervous system and causing eventual death. The rabies vaccine is initially given to dogs and puppies over 12 weeks old as a 1-year vaccine. Once your pet is vaccinated, the rabies vaccine can then be given every 3 years.
The canine rabies vaccine is required for all dogs by California state law, and it is also required to register for SLO County’s mandatory dog license. You can learn more about these requirements from SLO County Animal Services or Santa Barbara County Animal Services.
DAPP Vaccine – CORE
The DAPP vaccine, sometimes called “distemper” or “distemper-parvo,” inoculates against four major canine contagions: distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Puppies should receive an initial vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks old, with boosters given every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is 4 months old and its mother’s immunity is wearing off for good. Unvaccinated adult dogs will initially require two vaccines, given 3 to 4 weeks apart. Dogs should receive a booster vaccine every 1 to 3 years thereafter, depending on your pet’s specific risk factors.
Bordetella Vaccine – CORE
The bordetella vaccine prevents your dog from developing the common upper respiratory infection known as “kennel cough.” The initial vaccine is given to dogs and puppies as an injection or as a nasal or oral treatment. Bordetella vaccines should be boosted at least annually thereafter, although highly social pets can safely receive boosters every 6 months.
Leptospirosis Vaccine – Non-Core
The leptospirosis vaccine (sometimes shortened to “lepto”) inoculates against a bacterial infection that attacks the liver and kidneys and can ultimately cause organ failure. This vaccine is recommended for pets who come in frequent contact with the ocean, standing water, agriculture, livestock, or wildlife, or pets that otherwise spend long periods in outdoor and/or rural areas. Unvaccinated adult dogs and puppies over 16 weeks old will initially require two vaccines, given 2 to 4 weeks apart. A booster vaccine should be given annually thereafter.
Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) Vaccine – Non-Core
Similar to the human flu, canine influenza is generally treatable with supportive care. However, as in humans, some pets will develop life-threatening complications. The canine flu vaccine protects against the two major strains of canine influenza virus (CIV), H3N8 and H3N2. Unvaccinated adult dogs and juveniles over 6 months old will initially require two vaccines, given 2 to 4 weeks apart. The CIV vaccine should be boosted annually thereafter.
Rattlesnake Vaccine – Non-Core
The rattlesnake vaccine (“crotalus atrux toxoid”) can be used to help reduce the severity of symptoms your pet will experience following a rattlesnake bite. It is important to note that while this vaccine can significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality of a toxic event, your pet will still require immediate emergency care and treatment with antivenin. Unvaccinated adult dogs and puppies over 16 weeks old will initially require two vaccines, given 2 to 4 weeks apart. The vaccine should be boosted annually or semi-annually thereafter, depending on the number of months in the year the pet will be actively exposed to rattlesnakes.
Rabies Vaccine – CORE
The feline rabies vaccine prevents the rabies virus from infecting your cat’s central nervous system and causing eventual death. The feline rabies vaccine is not required by California state law, but it is strongly recommended to avoid quarantine in case your pet bites another person or animal. The rabies vaccine is initially given to cats and kittens over 12 weeks old as a 1-year vaccine. The rabies vaccine should be boosted annually thereafter.
We currently do not offer a 3-year feline rabies vaccine due to the increased prevalence of long-term side effects.
FRCP Vaccine – CORE
The FRCP vaccine inoculates against three major feline airborne contagions: rhinotracheitis, calcivirus, and panleukopenia. Kittens should receive an initial vaccine at 8 to 10 weeks old, with boosters given every 3 to 4 weeks until the kitten is 4 months old and its mother’s immunity is wearing off for good. Unvaccinated adult cats will initially require two vaccines, given 3 to 4 weeks apart. After initial inoculation, cats should receive a booster vaccine every 1 to 3 years, depending on their risk of exposure.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) Vaccine – Non-Core
Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a fatal immune deficiency disorder that is caused by a virus transmitted between cats via direct contact (usually fighting or mating). FeLV is not currently curable, so prevention is extremely important in cats with a high risk of contracting the disease. Unvaccinated adult cats and kittens older than 8 weeks will initially require two vaccines, given 3 to 4 weeks apart. Cats should receive a booster vaccine every 1 to 3 years thereafter, depending on their risk of exposure.