Vaccinations Explained

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As part of our community resource programs, we launched Spay the Bay in 2016. In addition to affordable spay/neuter services to the public, Spay the Bay also offer a low-cost vaccine clinic four times a year. Click here for current dates and important information.

Below are detailed description of common vaccinations for dogs & cats and why they are important:

VACCINES – Dogs 

  • CORE VACCINE: Rabies 
    Minumum age is 16 weeks. For a 3 year rabies vaccine, proof of previous Rabies vaccination is required. The rabies virus invades the central nervous system of humans and animals and causes acute inflammation of the brain, leading to headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, paralysis, and sometimes death. California has seen cases of rabies in both domestic and wild animals and remains a rabies endemic state. All dogs are required by California law to have a rabies vaccine.  
  • CORE VACCINE: DA2PPv (Distemper, Parvo, Parainfluenza) 
    While commonly called canine distemper vaccination, DA2PPv is actually a combination of vaccines in one injection that will protect your pet from several serious diseases (Distemper, Parvo, & Parainfluenza).  This is a must vaccine for every dog because canine distemper is a serious, highly contagious disease with a high death rate. Parvo is a highly contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system, leading to loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, weight loss and often severe, bloody diarrhea.  We have been seeing cases of parvo virus in the Bay Area frequently, and it is a serious issue for puppies.  
  • OPTIONAL: Leptospirosis (only carried at BH as DHLPP combination) 
    Recommended for younger dogs who spend a lot of time in the wild or wet areas. MUST receive booster vaccines within 3-4 weeks to be effective. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that attacks the whole body, including the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, leading to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death. Leptospira is carried by wildlife, and is known to exist in standing water, dampness, and mud, and is transmitted when dogs drink from the standing water. The disease can be passed along to humans. 
  • Optional: Bordetella 
    The Bordetella vaccine is given to dogs that are frequently exposed to other dogs in boarding, daycare, dog parks, and training classes. The vaccine prevents kennel cough which is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection.  
  • Optional: Influenza (not currently carried at BH) 
    This vaccine must be followed by a booster at 3-4 weeks to be effective. Canine influenza is a highly contagious virus that causes issues such as respiratory infections. Dogs who are exposed to other dogs in boarding, daycare, dog parks, and training classes should receive this vaccine. 
  • Optional: Lyme disease: (not currently carried at BH) 
    Lyme disease is a tick transmitted bacterial infection that causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. The predominant symptom is limping due to joint inflammation, but there can also be a lack of appetite and depression and on rare occasions more serious complications such as kidney, heart, or nervous system damage. 

Vaccines – Cats 

  • CORE Vaccine: FVRCP (Panleukopenia, Upper Respiratory) 
    This core vaccination is a must for every cat. This means that, because panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper) is a serious, highly contagious disease with a high death rate, all cats should be protected. This vaccine also protects against other airborne viruses that cause respiratory infections.  
  • CORE Vaccine  Rabies 
    Minumum age: 16 weeks. The rabies virus invades the central nervous system of humans and animals and causes acute inflammation of the brain, leading to headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, paralysis, and sometimes death. California has seen cases of rabies in both domestic and wild animals and remains a rabies endemic state. All dogs are required by CA law to have a rabies vaccine, it is highly recommended for cats 
  • Optional Feline Leukemia (FeLV) (not currently carried at BH) 
    Feline leukemia is a highly contagious disease of cats that can lead to immunosuppression and severe illness. Cats who go outside or live in households with other infected cats are at highest risk, so this vaccine is generally recommended for outdoor cats.  

Keeping your pet vaccinated is critical to maintaining their health. Please attend our vaccination clinics or contact your local veterinarian.

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