The world of vaccines can be a complicated one. Pet owners want to make sure that their pet lives a long and healthy life, but since many of the diseases we vaccinate against aren’t found in humans, it can be difficult to understand the risks.

Rabies is usually understood as one of the most dangerous diseases due to its association with exaggerated symptoms, such as foaming at the mouth and aggression. Unfortunately, once any symptoms develop, rabies is always fatal. The virus works by attacking the nervous system and can be transmitted to humans or other animals through bites or scratches. It is required by most cities to vaccinate your cat or dog against rabies.

It is recommended that dogs receive the “DA2PP” vaccination when they are young puppies. This protects against:

  • Canine Distemper (a viral infection with a range of respiratory, nervous, and gastrointestinal symptoms)
  • Canine Infectious Hepatitis (a viral disease of the liver transmitted by the canine adenovirus in urine or eye secretions of other animals)
  • Canine Parvovirus (a highly contagious virus that leads to gastrointestinal symptoms and severe dehydration)
  • Canine Parainfluenza (an upper respiratory infection known as “kennel cough”).

Note: Bordatella is another common cause of kennel cough and vaccination is recommended, and sometimes required, for dogs who will be boarded or go to dog parks.

Cats should receive the “FVRCP” vaccination when they are kittens. This vaccine includes:

  • Feline Panleukemia (a contagious viral infection similar to parvovirus infections)
  • Feline Viral Rhinotacheitis (an upper respiratory infection caused by a feline herpesvirus which is carried for life)
  • Feline Calcivirus (a similar upper respiratory infection that may lead to painful ulcers in the mouth and throat)

In a dog or cat that has not received these vaccinations in the past, a veterinarian will likely recommend a series of vaccines called “boosters”, given several weeks apart. During this time, you can also talk with your vet about additional vaccinations based on your pet’s lifestyle. After the boosters, your pet can continue on a more regular schedule, usually once a year at his or her annual vet visit.

Although they can be confusing, vaccines play a large role in the health of your pet and are important for stopping preventable diseases from affecting your furry family member.

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.