Puppies and kittens typically start receiving vaccinations at 6-9 weeks of age.  Subsequent vaccinations, after the first one, are called "boosters" because they boost immunity further.  Puppies and kittens are given boosters every 3 weeks for approximately 3-4 visits.  An adult animal who receives a vaccination for the first time also needs a booster 3 weeks later.  Stray animals or animals with missing vaccination records are considered "not vaccinated" and need a booster series to ensure active immunity and protection against disease.  The traditional schedule of vaccination is to get boosters annually, but in adult animals that have been vaccinated appropriately a few times, the interval may be extended to 3 years, based on your vet's recommendation.

Vaccinations are categorized as "core" or "non-core" based on recommendations by the veterinary academic community.  "Core" vaccines are strongly encouraged based on prevalence and severity of the disease, whereas "noncore" vaccines may be recommended based on an individual animal's risk of exposure to that disease.  We have established protocols for vaccination, but can tailor a vaccine protocol to your pet's individual needs. 

Potential side effects of vaccination may include soreness or a lump at the injection site, lethargy, gastrointestinal upset, fever, allergic reaction such as hives or facial swelling.  If your pet has had an adverse reaction to vaccination(s), we offer pre-medications to prevent or lessen future reactions or can separate vaccines to different days.  We carry an "ultrapure" vaccine line in dogs and non-adjuvanted vaccines in cats, which may lessen risks.

At your request, a previously vaccinated pet can have an antibody titer checked for a certain disease.  A blood sample is required.   

For the majority of the pet population, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks, because life-threatening contagious diseases are still very common among dogs and cats. 

Common vaccinations given in Michigan include the following:


  • Core: Distemper-Adenovirus-Parainfluenza-Parvovirus (DAPP); often called Distemper
  • Core: Leptospirosis; often called Lepto
  • Core: Rabies (required by law)
  • Non-Core: Bordetella; often called Kennel Cough
  • Non-Core: Influenza; often called Flu (Two strains H3N8 + H3N2)
  • Non-Core: Lyme Disease (Borrelia)


  • Core: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis-Calicivirus-Panleukopenia (FVRCP); often called Distemper
  • Non-Core: Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Core: Rabies   


Rabies vaccination is recommended with a premedication injection of diphenhydramine.


Most pocket pets and birds are not vaccinated, however, please discuss with vet.  Certain patients may be vaccinated if they are deemed at risk for disease.