Dog/Puppy Care

All puppies need to be vaccinated to protect them against infectious diseases. Our recommendations for vaccination are based on the North American AAHA Vaccination Guidelines.

These guidelines recommend that all puppies be vaccinated against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and rabies. These diseases can be highly contagious, very serious (even fatal) or, in the case of rabies, a public health risk.

In addition, we recommend bordetella (kennel cough) for most puppies, and leptospirosis to those at risk. Bordetella is similar to whooping cough in children, is highly contagious and can lead to pneumonia in severe cases. We like all puppies to receive basic immunity to this disease. Adult dogs continue to receive the vaccine only if they are considered at risk.

Leptospirosis causes kidney and liver damage. It is spread through the urine of raccoons, skunks and other animals and can also infect people. The organism proliferates in damp soil and following heavy rainfalls. In the last 10 years, Ontario has seen the number of cases increase from 250 to over 1,200 annually.

Before determining what to recommend for vaccines, we review your puppy’s lifestyle, previous vaccines, and consider his age, breed, and health status. Most puppies receive vaccines between two and four months of age, again a year later, and then through life at an interval determined by the vaccine. For instance, rabies and distemper/parvovirus/hepatitis are given every three years to adult dogs, whereas those dogs receiving leptospirosis or bordetella require annual revaccination. For pets spending time in tick-endemic areas, we may also recommend vaccination against Lyme disease and tick control.

For those owners wishing to use titers in lieu of vaccination, we provide this service also. While becoming more popular, reliance on titers has some limitations that we will discuss with owners.

We can accommodate specific vaccine schedules if requested by the owner or breeder, as long as the owner understands the risks and benefits to changes to currently accepted schedules.

Cat/Kitten Care

All kittens need to be vaccinated to protect them against infectious diseases. Our recommendations for vaccination are based on the North American AAFP Vaccination Guidelines.

These guidelines recommend that all kittens be vaccinated against panleukopenia, herpesvirus, calicivirus and rabies. These diseases are either highly contagious, serious or fatal or, in the case of rabies, a public health concern. In addition, we recommend vaccination against feline leukemia virus for all kittens and for adult outdoor cats or those living in multi-cat households.

Before determining what to recommend for vaccines, we review your kitten’s lifestyle and previous vaccines. We also consider your pet’s age, breed and health status. Most kittens receive their first vaccines at between two and four months of age, then another a year later, and then throughout life at an interval determined by the vaccine. For instance, panleukopenia/herpesvirus/calicivirus vaccines are given every three years to adult cats, whereas rabies and feline leukemia virus vaccines are given annually.

While reactions to vaccines do occasionally occur, the vaccines we recommend and the schedule we advise are designed to minimize the risk while helping to protect your cat.

Although not obvious, indoor cats also require some vaccines. Panleukopenia virus, herpesvirus and calicivirus can be transmitted by droplets in the air (for example, from another cat’s sneeze) or by contact with infected hands or materials. There is also a risk of exposure if a cat requires hospitalization, or if an owner handles another cat outside the home.

Because of the serious public health risk associated with rabies, the law requires that all cats and dogs be vaccinated, even though the risk may be low for an indoor cat.