That Vaccine Does What?

In the veterinarian world we know that preventatives and treatments for your pets can sound like a foreign language. From surgeries that we can’t pronounce to acronyms like DHPPV, we know it can be confusing. Hopefully this breakdown can help you better understand one of the most important preventatives you can give your pet: vaccines.

We get a variety of questions such as: How many shots does my puppy/kitten need? My dog stays at home all the time, do I really  need that? Is that vaccine safe for my pet?

No question is ever stupid to ask and we have no problem answering them, no matter how many. To better care for your pet here are some things you can mention to us when you come in for vaccines: Does your pet ever go to the groomer, kennel or dog parks? Do they go swimming or drink water from unknown sources? Is your cat strictly indoor or does he/she like to go outside? No detail is too small, the more we know the better! So really what does it all mean you may ask? Below you will see vaccines that we offer for cats and dogs. All vaccines are important but some may be more of a lifestyle choice such as going to the groomer so these can vary based on your pet. Not sure if you still need a vaccine or not? Feel free to ask us!


  1.  DA2PP (some call it 5way, Distemper/Parvo): this is important for all life stages of your pet but is detrimental for puppies. This vaccine protects against many different diseases that a dog could get, but most commonly people think of Parvo. Puppies need at least four of these within the first 16 weeks of their life. We normally administer these starting at 6 weeks old and booster (give another vaccine) them three weeks apart. Annual vaccine required after boosters., some hospitals/clinics offer a three year vaccine.
  2. Bordetella (kennel cough vaccine/lifestyle vaccine): this is for the pups that love to mingle. This is highly recommended for dogs that go to the groomer, dog parks, kennels, training facilities, dog shows, etc. Canine Tracheobronchitis (lets just call it canine cough) can be very contagious and hard to get rid of, commonly caused by a bacteria. This is a yearly vaccine but for protection some facilities may require it every 6 months.
  3. Leptospirosis: This is for our adventurous pups who love to go swimming or who drink water from unknown sources. These water sources could be contaminated with wild life urine which contain a bacteria that could make your pup sick. Now we know it can be hard to watch your pet 24/7 so this one is recommended yearly for almost every dog. Annual vaccine.
  4. Canine Influenza (flu shot): Yes dogs can get the flu but not necessarily from us, they have their own strains. It is still very contagious to other pets just like our flu is and has similar symptoms. Highly recommended for dogs who go to the groomer, dog shows/parks and boarding facilities (recommended with the Bordetella vaccine). Annual vaccine.
  5. Lyme Vaccine: This vaccine helps protect against Lyme disease from ticks. Even if you are on a monthly tick preventative this is good as an added protector because it only takes one bite from an infected tick. Annual vaccine.


  1. FeLV (Feline Leukemia): Feline Leukemia is a virus that can be very deadly in cats ranging from cancer to secondary infections caused by destruction of the immune system. Testing is available but if your cat is indoor/outdoor it is recommended because they can become infected by cats who have the virus. Annual vaccine.
  2. FVRCP (aka Combo, similar to puppy shots): This vaccine protects against a wide variety of different viruses/diseases that cats can commonly get. Just like puppies its important to administer this vaccine between 6w-16weeks old, they require boosters every three weeks.  Annual vaccine required after boosters , some hospitals/clinics offer three year vaccines.

Dogs and Cats:

Rabies Vaccine (1 year or 3 year protocols): Rabies vaccine are extremely important and required by law in the state of North Carolina. There is no cure for Rabies and vaccines are the only real preventative against it. Normally to travel, board, groom or train your pet at a facility you have to have documented proof for the vaccine. Hospitals can have Rabies vaccines that last either one year or three years. In a healthy puppy/kitten Rabies vaccine can be administered as young as 12 weeks old.

What To Expect After Vaccines

Please note that these vaccines are not cures but strictly recommended preventative measures to protect them from common viruses/diseases. Every pet is different and may experience some common reactions after a vaccine such as lethargy, soreness, and fever.  More severe reactions can include vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss and swelling of the face. There are more vaccines that can be administer to both cats and dogs but not every hospital/clinic may have them. If you have questions about any vaccine listed or not listed please feel free to call us. Still a little confused? That’s alright we are prepared to answer any and all questions you may have. Feel free to call us at 704-893-5056 or message us on Facebook. Official pamphlets included below.

Canine Vaccine Guide  

Feline Vaccine Guide