One of the most important aspects of caring for your pet’s health is vaccinating them against potential diseases.
Pet vaccinations like cat & dog vaccinations stimulate your pet’s immune system to help them fight off viruses and other illnesses that they may encounter in their life. By vaccinating your pet, we prevent serious illness - this is a vital part of preventative care for your pet!
When to Vaccinate Your Pet
Your puppy or kitten will get his or her first shots at around 8 weeks of age. The vaccinations that your puppy or kitten needs will vary based on their potential exposure to the different diseases we vaccinate for. To ensure that we protect your pet against potential exposures, we will work together with you to tailor a vaccine schedule specific to your pet during your pet's annual wellness exam.
Adult Dogs & Cats
Adult dogs and cats will continue to receive booster shots throughout their life. As pet’s age, their vaccine requirements may change. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to fight disease but in some cases, pets immune systems are already in overdrive fighting cancer, infection or other diseases. In these cases, we may recommend waiting to vaccinate, discontinuing some vaccines or performing titers to check to see how immune your pet may already be to different diseases. Vaccine protocols for senior pets are not one size fits all.
Core vs. Non-Core Vaccinations
Vaccines are divided into “core” and “non-core” designations. The core vaccines are the ones every pet should receive. They protect against serious, highly contagious diseases with high mortality rates. Non-core vaccines are given based on a particular pet’s risk of exposure to that illness.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
|Puppy's Age||Core Vaccinations||Non-Core Vaccinations|
|6 - 8 weeks||DHPP (Distemper)||Bordetella|
|10 - 12 weeks||DHPP (Distemper)||Lyme |
Leptospirosis (or included in DHLPP)
|16 - 18 weeks||DHPP (Distemper) |
Leptospirosis (or included in DHLPP)
|12 - 16 months||Rabies||Bordatella|
|every 12 months||Leptospirosis||Lyme |
|every 1 - 3 years||Rabies (as required by law)|
Kitten Vaccination Schedule
|Kitten's Age||Core Vaccinations||Non-Core Vaccinations|
|6 - 8 weeks||FCRVP (Feline Distemper)|
|10 - 12 weeks||FCRVP (Feline Distemper)||Feline Leukemia|
|16 - 18 weeks||Rabies||Feline Leukemia|
|12 - 16 months||Rabies|
|every 1 - 3 years||Rabies (as required by law)||Feline Leukemia (depending on vaccine manufacturer)|
FAQs About Pet Vaccinations
The first round of puppy shots is given around 8 weeks of age. Antibodies from their mom gradually wear off once the puppy is weaned sometime before 16 weeks of age. , so vaccines are recommended every 3-4 weeks up until 16 weeks of age so that their immune system can fight disease when they lose their maternal antibodies.
In Maryland, all dogs, cats and ferrets 4 months of age and older are required to be vaccinated against rabies, by law.
Core vaccines should be given to ALL dogs and cats, unless you and your veterinarian determine that your pet should not get them. Non-core vaccines are important, but not needed for all dogs and cats. Your pet’s age, medical history, travel habits and environment will all factor into which vaccines are right for him, so it’s best to discuss this with your veterinarian and get their recommendation.
Yes. In Maryland, law requires cats to be vaccinated against rabies. It’s also important to consider vaccinating your cat against other diseases they could be exposed to if they happen to escape the safety of your home or need to be boarded while you’re out of town.
A titer test involves measuring the level of antibodies against a particular disease in a sample of blood which can tell us if a previous vaccine is still protecting your dog or cat’s immune system. Not all of the diseases that we vaccinate for can be titiered.