Keeping a pet healthy requires more than just a standard nose-to-tail wellness exam; pet vaccines are also important. Here at McGrath Veterinary Center in Sherman Oaks, we promote preventive care with all of our wellness services because we want to help your companion live a long, happy, healthy life. Pet vaccines are an important means of preventive care because they protect dogs and cats from various viruses and diseases, including:

  • Rabies (dogs and cats)
  • Distemper (dogs)
  • Parvovirus (dogs)
  • Hepatitis (dogs)
  • Calicivirus (cats)
  • Panleukopenia (cats)

Some of these illnesses can be very serious—even fatal—and some can be transmitted to humans. This is why it’s so important to keep your pet vaccinated on a regular basis.


Vaccines contain antigens, which are substances that resemble certain disease-causing organisms in the body. Once a vaccine enters a pet’s blood stream, the immune system is stimulated and creates antibodies to fight the foreign substances. The immune system is then strengthened and equipped to fight off the real virus or disease, if the pet is ever exposed to it later down the road. Just as with human vaccines, the antibodies that are created as a result of a vaccine don’t last long, so your pet’s vaccines need to be updated every 1-3 years.


Fortunately, not all dogs and cats are at risk for the same illnesses. The exposure risk is ultimately dependent on lifestyle, which is why there are core and non-core vaccines available. Core vaccines are typically universally recommended because of the severity of the illnesses they protect against. Non-core vaccines are recommended, only if a pet has a high exposure risk to a certain illness. Bordetella for dogs and feline leukemia for cats are examples of non-core vaccines.

During your pet’s wellness exam, we’ll ask you questions about their lifestyle so we can determine whether any non-core vaccines are recommended. Some pets only require core vaccines to be healthy. We’ll also customize a pet vaccination schedule for your canine or feline companion. Typically, pet vaccines are updated during the wellness visits, making it easier for owners to keep track of.

Give us a call at 818-796-4550 to schedule your pet’s appointment here in Sherman Oaks or if you’d like to learn more about the importance of pet vaccinations.