Pet Vaccinations


Vaccines are given to your pet to ensure that their immune system is able to fight off certain diseases. Vaccines are composed of a killed or modified version of the disease applied in small doses. By vaccinating, we are essentially teaching your pet’s immune system how to recognize and destroy diseases before they can cause your pet to become seriously ill.

A booster vaccine, usually containing the same elements as the first, is given 3–4 weeks later to provide even greater immunity. When cats and dogs become adults, their immune systems are more developed and boosters are only needed every 1–3 years, depending upon the vaccine type and risk of exposure to the disease.

Puppies and kittens start out life with varying amounts of immunity, obtained through their mother’s immune system through mother’s milk. Under 6 weeks of age, your pet’s immune system is not developed enough to make a good response to a vaccine. Therefore, it is very important to make sure they do not come into contact with other animals or places that may harbor disease until their immune system develops.

At 6–8 weeks, a healthy dog or cat can receive the first vaccines. Past the initial vaccine series, your Rocklin Road veterinarian will advise you regarding pet vaccine boosters for the best protection from disease.

Typical vaccines and preventives recommended for dogs include:

  • Canine distemper/hepatitis/parvovirus/parainfluenza
    • Start vaccination at 6–8 weeks
    • Repeat every 3 weeks until 12–14 weeks of age
    • Booster every 3 years
  • Rabies—Required by Placer County
    • First vaccination at 16 weeks of age
    • Booster at 1 year of age, and then every 3 years
  • Leptospirosis—Ask your veterinarian if your dog is at risk
    • Vaccinate at 6 weeks of age, repeat in 2–3 weeks
    • Booster annually
    • Particularly high-risk dogs may be vaccinated every 6 months
  • Bordetella—Start vaccine at 6–8 weeks of age, and then booster yearly
  • Rattlesnake
    • Given at 16 weeks and repeated 4 weeks later
    • Booster annually before snake season
  • Heartworm
    • First heartworm test after 6 months of age
    • Heartworm prevention should be given monthly
    • Testing for heartworms annually

View our Canine Vaccines handout describing various diseases, their symptoms, and the vaccines we recommend for dogs.

Typical vaccines recommended for cats include:

  • Feline rhinotracheitis/calici/panleukopenia or distemper
    • Start vaccination at 8 weeks of age
    • Repeat every 3–4 weeks until 12 weeks of age
    • Booster every 3 years
  • Rabies—Required by Pacer County
    • First vaccination between 3–4 months of age
    • Booster at 1 year, and then every 3 years
  • Feline leukemia—Only for those cats potentially exposed to leukemia (usually outdoor cats)
    • Start vaccination at 9 weeks of age
    • Repeat in 3–4 weeks
    • Booster for at-risk cats annually

Feline leukemia/feline AIDS testing—We recommend testing every new kitten or cat that you adopt for these two deadly diseases. As with human AIDS, your new cat can go years without showing any symptoms of either viral infection. It is important for you to know the health status of the kitten you just adopted.

View our Feline Vaccines handout describing various diseases, their symptoms, and the vaccines we recommend for cats.

Visit our Pet Wellness page for more about caring for your dog or cat. To schedule an appointment for regular vaccines or to obtain a customized vaccination and prevention plan for your pet, contact the professionals at Rocklin Road Animal Hospital.

Don’t forget the importance of preventative medication for fleas and ticks and keeping them away from your pet. Learn more about the importance of it.