Vaccinations are an important aspect of an animal's health. They help build immunity to infectious diseases and protect the lives of our beloved pets. At Hilltop Animal Hospital, we work closely with our owners to perform “risk assessments” and limit the number of vaccinations administered to the ones that are truly necessary and beneficial to the individual pet. Below is a description of the vaccinations that could be recommended for your pets, as well as our standard vaccination protocols.

Canine Patients:

Rabies - a viral infection that affects the brain, spinal cord and once contracted, results in fatality. This infection is passed through saliva and blood (bites most commonly) and can be transmitted to humans. The law requires protection against the rabies virus. We want to help protect your family and your pets.

DA2PP – the components of this vaccination are recommended for all puppies. The Da2PP vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against the following:

D - distemper; a contagious, viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. Puppies ages 3-6 months are extremely susceptible to infection and once infected, this virus contributes toward a high mortality rate.

A2 - adenovirus type 1 and 2; type 1 causes an acute liver infection known as infectious canine hepatitis; type 2 causes respiratory disease and is associated with ‘kennel cough.'

P - parvovirus; a highly contagious virus that has a high mortality rate when left untreated. Signs include lethargy, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea which causes dehydration.

P - Parainfluenza; a contagious respiratory infection that is seen in areas with high dog populations, such as boarding kennels, dog parks and pet stores, but it is highly contagious to any dog of any age. Signs of Parainfluenza include coughing, fever, runny nose and eyes.

Bordetella - a highly contagious bacterial infection that spreads through the air. This infection rarely leads to death, but the vaccine can prevent breakouts of the infection and help the disease be very self-limiting. This vaccine is recommended for any dog that will be in contact with other dogs, especially dogs who visit dog parks, doggie daycare, grooming and boarding facilities. This also applies to dogs that attend agility trials, performance events and dog shows. We only recommend the Intra-Oral (in the mouth) version of this vaccine at 16 weeks of age as this is the safest version, with the least amount of immune stimulation, but it is only effective for 6 months.The oral version is very good at creating local immunity in the respiratory tract without the immune system stimulation.

Leptospirosis - a zoonotic (meaning it can be passed from animals to humans) bacterial disease that is carried by wild animals and is shed through urine. Leptospirosis can be fatal and causes liver and kidney disease as well as being dangerous to the humans that the pet comes in contact with. One of our veterinarians will discuss suitability of this vaccine for your pet.

For our adult dogs, after they have received appropriate puppy vaccination cycles, we change to a 3-year rotating vaccine schedule, which allows us to booster the appropriate antigens and keep protection levels high without over-stimulating the immune system.

Feline Patients:

Rabies - a viral infection that affects the brain and spinal cord and once contracted, results in fatality. This infection is passed through saliva and blood (bites most commonly) and can be transmitted to humans. The law requires protection against the rabies virus. We want to help protect your family and your pets. We use a very safe vaccination that causes a low amount of risk for our feline patients but only has a one-year duration of immunity and therefore needs to be repeated annually. We do not consider the 3-year vaccine that is available to be as safe for cats and therefore do not use or recommend it.

FVRCP - this is a combination vaccine that is recommended for all cats and protects against the following:

FVR - protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis; a respiratory infection that is caused by the herpes 1 virus. This infection can become fatal.

C - calicivirus; causes a highly contagious upper respiratory infection.

P - panleukopenia virus; a severe, extremely contagious infection that can be fatal.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) a contagious disease that causes immunosuppression and is one of the leading infectious causes of death in cats. Any cat that will be exposed to other cats should get the feline leukemia vaccination, for indoor only cats that have no risk exposure to other cats – this vaccination is not necessary.


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