When animals are born, their immune system is immature and vulnerable to infection. A nursing baby animal usually receives immunity from their mother’s milk in the first few days after birth. However, somewhere around 6 weeks of age, this immunity diminishes and we begin the process of vaccination.

In baby animals, the initial vaccines are often given intermittently, usually two to four weeks apart, to produce the best level of protection. Once the initial series is completed, vaccines may be given in two different ways: on a regular schedule, such as annually, or when exposure to specific diseases is heightened, like at a boarding kennel.

The American Animal Hospital Association has established guidelines for pet vaccination. Vaccinations are divided into two groups:

  • Core vaccines—Every pet should have these and some are even required by law.
  • Non-Core vaccines—Pets should receive these depending on their exposure risk.


We typically recommend these types of canine core vaccines:

  • Distemper/Adenovirus/Parainfluenza/Parvovirus (DAPP) given in a 3-year vaccine
  • Rabies given in a 3-year vaccine

We typically recommend these types of non-core canine vaccines:

  • Leptospirosis given annually, as needed for exposure to livestock or wildlife
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough) given every six months, as needed for boarding or showing


We typically recommend these types of feline core vaccines:

  • Feline Distemper (FVRCP) given in a 3-year vaccine
  • Rabies given annually

We typically recommend these types of non-core feline vaccines:

  • Feline Leukemia (FeLv) given annually, as needed if your cat goes outside

Vaccination needs depend upon a wide range of variables, such as age and lifestyle. For example, a house cat’s medical profile is vastly different from that of a barn cat, just as the needs of a young hunting dog differ from those of an aging family pet. Your pet’s health plan is designed to be flexible, changing over time and circumstance. Vaccines may be added or eliminated, depending on such changes and for optimum long-term health. At Continental, we work with you to determine the appropriate vaccines for every animal, at every stage and for every lifestyle.