Vaccines are a weakened or killed version of bacteria or virus that is injected into a pet's immune system to stimulate the creation of antibodies that block against disease. Puppies have a natural immunity from their mother's milk but this immunity wears off over time and so the puppies and kittens need vaccinations to bolster the immune system and prevent illness.
To protect your pet from contagious diseases, keep the essential vaccinations up-to-date. This is important even if your pet is kept mostly indoors. Many contagious diseases are airborne and your pet could easily be exposed through an open window. There is also always a risk that your pet could accidentally slip out the door. Boarding kennels, dog parks and grooming salons are all areas where your pet is likely to be exposed to contagious diseases so be sure to consult with your veterinarian before taking your pet to any of these places. It is also important to keep in mind that vaccinations take a few days to a few weeks to become effective.
The vaccinations recommended vary from state to state.
Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHPP). Commonly called the “distemper shot,” this combination vaccine actually protects against the four diseases in its full name.
Rabies. Rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are susceptible to infection. Rabies vaccinations for dogs are required by law in most states.
Bordetella (commonly called "kennel cough"). The bordetella virus causes an extremely contagious upper respiratory infection. Usually our veterinarian may recommend this vaccine before your dog goes to a dog park, groomer, boarding kennel, doggie daycare or dog show.
In puppies, timing is most important when vaccinating. If they are lactating and the mother has been vaccinated, then the puppies are protected by the mother’s antibodies. Once the puppies start eating solid food, they no longer have the protection. Therefore, a series of vaccines is started in order to build the puppies’ immune system.