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Why We DO NOT Recommend Using Over the Counter Vaccinations

Vaccines that are used in veterinary clinics are manufactured by companies that spend millions of dollars studying the mutation of viruses and ship and control their vaccine under strict guidelines. These companies also stand behind the performance of their vaccine should a patient suffer a failure of vaccine. Sometimes the animal's immune system will not "recognize" the vaccines and the animal will "break" with the disease regardless of the protocol or vaccine chosen. The quality companies stand behind their vaccine as a good faith gesture to the patient, the client and the clinic that endure this unfortunate experience.

The temperature of the OTC vaccine cannot be guaranteed. You may do your best to keep the vaccine cold as is intended but what about the shopper in front of you?

Example: Mrs. Doe shops and selects an OTC vaccine from the cooler. She tools around the store, gets to the counter and decides she'd rather buy a magazine than pay for a vaccination that day and sets the vaccine on a random counter. The vaccine is restocked and the shot is useless. You, unfortunately, pick the same package and inject your pet with an unstable vaccination.

Is your shot technique up to standards?

If your pet has a vaccine reaction, (they are uncommon but do occur), will you know what to do or will you be able to go to the emergency room?


Dog's Portrait

Adult Canines

The goal is to vaccinate your pet yearly for the viruses that are in your area or to which your pet will be exposed. Adult vaccines are given yearly with an annual exam, weight & temp, discussion of general concerns and possibly a fecal analysis.

Most canines will receive their 3-year rabies vaccine on the anniversary of their first rabies vaccine and every three years thereafter.


Important Things to Remember

  1. Your pet needs to go annually for a check-up and annual viral vaccinations

  2. Choose the vaccination combination which suits your pet's environment and exposure

  3. Make sure the three-year tag that your pet is wearing is legible at all times. We ask a lot of those 3-year tags; the etching often fades, so pay attention, and ask for a replacement tag if you think you need one.

  4. Be sure and alert a technician if your pet reacts any way to vaccinations.

Vaccine Counseling

We may counsel you on the following vaccinations:

Bordatella Bronchiseptica

One year rabies

Rattlesnake vaccine  (2 shots 4 weeks apart, then yearly) 

​At our clinic, we recommend not vaccinating for any viruses after 14 years of age due to the fact that vaccine-induced renal failure begins to climb rapidly in dogs of this age. The exception to this protocol is rabies due to city ordinance and Bordetella. There are many arguments as to when it is appropriate to stop vaccinating. 14 is the age this clinic has chosen and could not be happier for owners as many pets are living to see this ripe old age! You may have specific reasons to follow a different vaccine program, and this can be discussed at the time you and your pet are seen in our clinic.

Puppy Portrait


We believe the best time to start puppy shots is 6-8 weeks of age. That said, the main thing is to get started. Just remember: no matter when you start, all vaccines in the series are three weeks apart!

Each of the puppy vaccines contain the following:

Parvovirus, distemper, parainfluenza 2, adenovirus, coronavirus. We reserve the vaccination of leptospirosis for pups over 20lbs that will be exposed to the virus. If it is elected, lepto will be given on the second and third vaccination.

We are now highly recommending a 4th round of parvo only vaccination for puppies going through their first shot series. This vaccination will be 3 weeks after the 3rd Parvo/Distemper vaccination. We also give just a parvo only vaccination to puppies under 2 pounds as their first followed by 3 Parvo/Distemper vaccinations.

Rabies Vaccine

We want to give the rabies vaccine at the appropriate time. It is normally given when the pup is 12 weeks of age but on some occasions, we wait until the pup is more mature. Often, we recommend waiting until the pup is 14-16 weeks of age. The first rabies given at our clinic is the 1-year vaccine.


Often referred to as "kennel cough." Highly recommended for all dogs as this is an aerosol virus that can cause an upper respiratory infection. Bordetella or "Bronchi Shield" is a vaccine against Bordetella Bronchiseptica which is an airborne upper respiratory bacterial infection.  We recommend giving bordetella at the time of the third vaccination. There are other vaccinations to consider. Please see descriptions during the discussion of adult vaccination choices.

Cute Kitten


We believe the best time to start kitten vaccinations is at 9 weeks. We will not vaccinate kittens prior to 9 weeks. The second vaccination is given 4 weeks later and during that visit we normally give the 1 year rabies vaccine. As with the puppy series, if you start late, it's okay; just know the vaccines in kittens are 4 weeks apart.

9 Weeks
1st shot, exam, weight & temp, broad spectrum wormer
13 Weeks
2nd shot, exam, weight & temp, broad spectrum wormer, rabies 1 year.

There are other vaccinations to consider. Please see description during the discussion of adult vaccine choices. It will always be the recommendation to test for the feline viruses prior to vaccination. That said, we do not consider it unsafe to vaccinate kittens which appear to be healthy and are thriving. If a kitten is suffering from leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus, they will more than likely be symptomatic.

It is not recommended to vaccinate a kitten for FIP without a prior test as the kitten could easily be asymptomatic for FIP.

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