Pet vaccines are an essential component of your pet’s overall health care and are typically administered during wellness visits. They are designed to protect against a number of potentially fatal diseases by exposing the body to an agent that resembles a certain disease-causing organism. Once the body is exposed to this agent, it builds up immunity against that specific disease. Then, if your pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his/her body will be prepared to fight it off. Some of the core vaccines that we recommend for dogs include parvovirus, rabies, and distemper. For cats, we recommend panleukopenia, rabies, and calicivirus. Vaccination schedules vary from pet to pet and are dependent on age, breed, and lifestyle.

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)
  • Canine Influenza(dogs)
  • Lyme (dogs)
  • Bordetella (dogs)
  • Rattlesnake (dogs)
  • Leptospirosis (dogs)
  • Leukemia (cats)
  • 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 bloodstream, the immune system is stimulated and creates antibodies to fight the foreign substances. The immune system is 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 to 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 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.