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Pet Vaccinations in San Jose

Vaccinations are a critical part of keeping your pet safe from preventable diseases. Without them your pet is at risk for getting some very serious, even life threatening diseases. They have proven to be safe and effective.

​​Dog (Puppy) Vaccinations

The two basic core vaccines for dogs are the “distemper parvo” and rabies vaccines. Other vaccines that might be indicated are bordetella and lyme vaccines. We do not recommend the giardia, rattlesnake, porphyromonas (dental bacterial), or corona vaccines.

The “distemper parvo” vaccine goes by a variety of designations, such as “5 in 1”, DHPP, DAPP. This is a combination vaccine, which means there are several vaccines in one injection. Canine distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus (hepatitis) type 2, and parainfluenza, are what we use. Other versions will have leptospirosis in them. We now offer leptospirosis as a seporate vaccine. Puppies will need to get a series of 3-5 DHPP vaccines, spaced about 3-4 weeks apart, starting at 6-8 weeks of age, then at a year of age. We will then give another every 3 years.

The rabies vaccine is given at 4 months of age, then at 1 year, then every 3 years. This vaccine is given for both your dog’s and the general public protection against the threat of rabies. Dog bites still occur often and this is the best way to protect your dog against serious action by animal control (along with proper training, of course!).

The bordetalla vaccine, also known as “kennel cough” vaccine, is given to those dogs that board, go to “doggie day care”, dog parks, and because most groomers will require it. It is given yearly (although some boarding facilities, day care facilities, and groomers may require it to be given every 6 months). Bordetella is a bacteria, and even though, vaccines against bacteria is not as effective- yearly is what is recommended, except for some brachycephalic (smooshed face) breeds and dogs particularly susceptible should get it every 6 months.

Lyme vaccine is recommended for dogs that hunt, go hiking a lot, or camp a lot, and will be exposed to ticks. Some dogs in the Santa Cruz mountains will want to get vaccinated as well or if there are a lot of deer around where you live. The disease is spread by ticks, and can be hard to diagnose and treat effectively.

Leptosirosis- This disease is increasing in prevolence in citys of northen California, including the Bay Area. This disease is zoonotic and can cause liver and kidney disease in both dogs and humans. Now that pharmaceutical companies have developed a safer vaccine, we are recommending that most dogs in our area become protected.


The basic vaccines for cats are the FVRCP, rabies, and in most circumstances, FELV. We do not recommend the FIP, FIV, or ringworm vaccines. We do not recommend killed virus vaccines for cats (more later).

FVRCP is the feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici, and panleukopenia vaccine (aka “3 in 1”). Panleukopenia is the feline parvo virus. Kittens need a series of 2-3 vaccines, spaced 3-4 weeks apart, then at 1 year of age, then every 3 years.

For the rabies and FELV vaccines we recommend the Purevax line of vaccines which are recombinant vaccines that do not contain an adjuvant (a chemical added to the “traditional” killed virus vaccine to make it effective). It is approved for 1 year, but is the safest vaccine for your cat. For indoor only cats, we may recommend not continuing with the FeLV vaccine.

The concern with killed virus vaccines is that the adjuvant that is needed to make that type of vaccine effective has been strongly implicated in producing a nasty cancer at the injection site. This cancer has various names- fibrosarcoma, injection site sarcoma, vaccine induced sarcoma. The adjuvant is a tissue irritant. Just as getting repeatedly sunburned increases your risk of skin cancer, repeated vaccinations w/ adjuvant increases the risk of tumor formation at the injection site.
We also will give the vaccines at different sites on the body. The FVRCP will go over the shoulder area or down the right front leg. The rabies will go on the right rear leg, and the FELV will go on the left rear leg. This spreads out the vaccines as well, on the body, and IF there is some sort of reaction, we will know which vaccine caused it.

Side Effects

Generally, there are very few side effects of vaccinations. They happen in less than 1% of the time at our clinic. The most common ones are temporary itching, pain or swelling at the injection site, lethargy for up to 24-48 hours. Less common and more serious would be facial swelling, more severe lethargy/fever. The most serious are true anaphylactic reactions where there is vomiting, diarrhea, collapse and shock. This happens quickly, usually within the first 30 minutes. If any of these are seen, be sure to contact us as soon as possible.

For further information about pet vaccinations, please contact us at (408) 293-3448.

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