Pet VaccinationsHeading

Vaccinations are one of the most important components of effective wellness care for pets. Bellevue Animal Hospital works with animal owners to provide individualized vaccine schedules based on your pet’s species, environment and lifestyle.


Canine Vaccinations

Puppy vaccines should start at 8 weeks of age. All puppies should get a series of DA2PP, Leptospirosis and Bordetella vaccines, as well as a rabies vaccine and others as dictated by their lifestyle.

Rabies, DA2PP and Leptospirosis are considered core vaccines, while Bordetella and Canine Influenza are considered lifestyle vaccines. All dogs, cats and ferrets in Washington state must have up-to-date rabies vaccines. Rabies is a deadly virus that can affect any mammal, including people and pets. The Rabies vaccine that puppies receive at 16 weeks of age is good for one year; after that, the rabies vaccine is good for three years.

DA2PP protects against four primary canine diseases — distemper, adenovirus-2, parainfluenza and parvovirus. Because these diseases can be deadly and have no existing cures, regular vaccination is highly recommended to reduce your pooch’s risk, though it is not required by law.

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral illness that your dog can contract through direct contact with an infected animal or through indirect contact with the bedding or food bowls of infected animals or wildlife feces. Symptoms include a high fever, weakness, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. As the disease progresses, it attacks the nervous system and may cause seizures and paralysis. For adult dogs, the mortality rate is less than 50 percent. For puppies, however, the mortality rate is as high as 80 percent.
Adenovirus-2 and Parainfluenza
Adenovirus-2 and Parainfluenza are two viruses that can lead to what’s known as kennel cough. Symptoms include loud coughs, runny noses and mucus discharge, wheezing and decreased appetite. No treatment is available for these viral infections.
Parvovirus is a fast-acting virus with a high mortality rate. It can survive in the environment for up to a year, so just a simple walk around the block is enough for your dog to contract parvo when he stops to sniff a spot in the grass. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies are more commonly affected and are at higher risk of mortality, though parvovirus can affect dogs of any age. There is no cure, and with most cases of parvo the survival rate is 70 percent.
Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria spread through soil, water and the urine of infected animals, and if not caught early it can be deadly. The Leptospirosis vaccine protects dogs from the most common subtypes of the bacteria. Animals that like to go hiking, camping or swimming or that live by streams, ponds and creeks are at high risk.
The intranasal Bordetella vaccination with live avirulent bacteria is recommended for dogs expected to enter a kennel, go to grooming, have regular doggie daycare dates or frequent the local dog park. The vaccine should be given at least one week before the scheduled boarding date.
Canine Influenza Vaccine
After the initial vaccine, a booster is needed 3-4 weeks later. The vaccines are then good for one year. Dogs that spend a lot of time boarding or at doggie daycare should consider these vaccines.

Feline Vaccinations

Kitten vaccines should start at 8 weeks of age. All kittens should receive a series of FVRCP and Feline Leukemia vaccines as well as a Rabies vaccine.

Like dogs, cats have core and lifestyle vaccines. FVRCP and Rabies are core vaccines. The American Association of Feline Practitioners believes Feline Leukemia should be a core vaccine for the first 2 years of a cat’s life. After 2 years of age, Feline Leukemia can become a lifestyle vaccination needed only by cats who go outside.

All dogs, cats and ferrets in Washington state must have up-to-date Rabies vaccines. Rabies is a deadly virus that can affect any mammal, including people and pets. Starting at 16 weeks of age, cats receive annual Rabies vaccines that are good for one year.

The FVRCP vaccine fights three feline viruses: rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia. These, along with feline leukemia, are the most common fatal viruses that could threaten the health of your cat.

Rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus, is a common virus that invades the nose lining, sinuses, throat, windpipe and eye membranes. Signs include sneezing, nasal discharge, drooling, fever, lethargy and a noticeable loss of appetite. This viral infection is most common in cats with weakened immune systems, or those with physical or emotional stress. Cats in shelters often get rhinotracheitis from the stress of overcrowding, but genetically, purebred and longhaired cats are more predisposed.
Calicivirus is a common respiratory infection that affects the cat’s throat, eyes, nasal passages, mouth, and sometimes lungs, intestines and musculoskeletal system. Symptoms include runny eyes, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, drooling, and ulcers on the tongue or palate. Severe cases can even cause pneumonia. Cases of this virus are most often seen in shelters, as well as in catteries and multi-cat homes. Kittens and older cats are at greater risk of death from calicivirus than healthy adult felines. The onset of calicivirus is sudden, and because it is so contagious, if one cat gets it, all cats in the home or shelter are likely to contract it.
Panleukopenia, also called feline distemper, is a highly contagious virus affecting blood cells in the intestinal tract, bone marrow, brain, and developing fetuses. Most commonly seen in kittens between four and six months, panleukopenia can strike any unvaccinated cat. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and vomiting. Diarrhea, combined with vomiting, can cause severe dehydration and may be fatal to cats within 12 hours of onset. Nearly every cat, indoor or outside, comes in contact with it through the secretions of other animals or from people who handle infected cats. Kittens are especially threatened because their immune systems are undeveloped.
Feline Leukemia
Feline leukemia is a disease that only affects cats — it cannot be transmitted to people, dogs, or other animals. FeLV is passed from one cat to another through saliva, blood, urine and feces. The virus commonly causes anemia or lymphoma, but because it suppresses the immune system, it can also predispose cats to deadly infections. Only about 3% of cats in single-cat households have the virus, but for cats that spend time outdoors, the rate is much higher. The prevalence of FeLV has decreased over the last 25 years because of vaccines and reliable tests.