Vaccination FAQs

Have A Question About Vaccinations?

Check our list for your question.  If you don’t find it, give us a call at 724-327-PAWS!

Emails may not be seen in a timely manner, and they sometimes bounce if attachments are too large, so we ask instead that you or your veterinarian FAX your pet’s vaccination records and fecal results to us.

We recommend asking your veterinarian to fax this information since many vets do not provide owners with documentation showing that the most recent fecal test was negative.

We require vaccination records for safety and legal reasons. These records show that your pet is protected and will not place our other guests and/or staff at risk.  Legally, we need proof of vaccinations in order to keep your pet and the State does not accept tags as proof.

We do not want to turn you away at the door or surprise you with an additional charge if a record is missing or out of date.  Remember, some vaccines need to be given in advance of the stay to be effective. Check with your veterinarian.

Providing us with your pet’s vaccination records and fecal results in advance show that your pet is ready for their stay.  

We recommend asking your veterinarian to send us a copy of your pet’s records every time they are updated.  Having vaccines and test results sent to us in advance is free and gives you the freedom to use our services without having to do a last minute scramble for your pet’s records.  Having testing done in advance will also give your veterinarian the opportunity to identify and address issues before your pet stays with us.

We, like most boarding facilities, require a Bordetella booster every six months even though many vaccines state that they provide protection for a full year.  We prefer to be cautious to help your pets stay healthy.

Bordetella is very contagious and can be transmitted through the air or through direct contact.  Direct nose-to-nose contact may transmit enough germs to overwhelm a vaccine that  has lost some of effectiveness over time.

We also require all of our grooming clients to have Bordetella vaccines, even though many other grooming facilities do not require this at all.  This is for their safety and the safety of other dogs staying with us. A yearly vaccine is accepted for these dogs due to the lower risk of airborne vs. nose-to-nose contact.

If your pet has never had a Bordetella vaccine or if their vaccine was given over a year ago, the antibodies need time to build up your pet’s immune response.  The Oral and Intranasal vaccines should be given at least 72 hours in advance of the stay – a week or two in advance if possible.  The injected vaccine is a two-shot series given two weeks apart to become effective.

If your pet had their most recent Bordetella vaccination between 6 months and 1 year ago, we assume that there is some immunity left, so a booster can be given without the waiting period.

There are many things that may make your dog cough.  Canine Cough is the common term used for an Upper Respiratory Infections (URI).  Not all causes have vaccinations.  Bordetella is just one of the illnesses that can present as an URI.  If something other than Bordetella causes an URI, the Bordetella vaccine will not be effective.

We do everything we can to try to protect the health of all of our guests, but just as in life, there are no guarantees.

Keep in mind that the Bordetella vaccine is a lot like a human flu shot – it covers some strains, but your pet could still catch a URI from a strain that is not covered.  Similar to a flu shot, a Bordetella vaccine may also include coverage for other URIs.  We STRONGLY recomend Bordetella vaccines that are administered internasally since they often provide protection from the upper respiratory form of Canine Parainfluensa.  You may want to discuss this option with your vet.

The pharmaceutical manufacturer of the Bordetella vaccine used at Walkers does guarantee it to be effective against Bordetella.  The company may cover the cost of testing and treating your pet if a URI is suspected.  Ask your veterinarian for details.

Canine Cough is a general term for Canine Upper Respiratory Infections.   Again, there are many causes of URI’s. Bordetella, Coronavirus and Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) are some illnesses that present “Canine Cough” symptoms.  All are URI’s.  Not all causes have vaccinations.

The most common symptoms of a URI are a “whooping cough” or “seal bark” type of cough, and discharge from the nose.  In a healthy pet, treatment may not even be necessary as they may recover naturally.  If needed, treatment with antibiotics is usually enough to cure a URI.  However, in young puppies, older pets or pets with compromised immune systems, a URI can lead to more serious complications.  Your veterinarian can provide you with more information on the causes and treatments of URI’s.

NO.  Many pharmaceutical companies produce Bordetella Vaccines but they are only 3 ways to deliver the vaccine to your dog.  Intranasally (Nose Drops), Orally (Drops in the mouth), and Intravenously (2 shot series of injections).
We STRONGLY recommend the intranasal method of delivery since it protects against additional URIs not covered by the Oral or Injectable forms.  Please discuss the options with your vet.

CIV stands for Canine Influenza Virus (H3N8).  It was first noted in Florida, when it jumped from horses to greyhounds.  Its symptoms are VERY similar to Bordetella and other Upper Respiratory Infections. However, contrary to Bordetella, a pet with CIV is most contagious BEFORE it shows symptoms, making it extremely difficult to diagnose. If a pet is elderly, very young or has a compromised immune system, CIV can result in serious complications.  We STRONGLY recommend the vaccine, as cases have been reported in Philadelphia, Maryland and Virginia.  Please ask your veterinarian.

The first thing many people ask is, “Where did my dog catch this?”  Many illnesses take several days to incubate between the time of contact and the time symptoms are shown.  Pets could become exposed in many situations, through the air, at a pet store, at the veterinarian’s waiting room, from neighbor dogs or from other dogs they played with.

If your dog isn’t well, our priority is finding out what is wrong and how to get them feeling better.

  • Pay careful attention to symptoms
    • What symptoms are you seeing
    • When did you notice the first symptoms
    • Does your pet seem to be getting better or worse
  • Give us a call at Walkers
    • We want to know if anyone who has stayed with us becomes sick so we can use that knowledge to help track and prevent occurrences
  • Talk to your veterinarian
    • The Bordetella vaccine used at Walkers is guaranteed by the pharmaceutical manufacturer who will pay for testing and treating your pet.  Ask your veterinarian if they use a vaccine with a similar guarantee.

Some pets may have health issues with some vaccinations.  If this is the case, we will accept Titers certificate or a letter from your veterinarian addressing the issue and clearing your pet for a stay with us.

Beyond our veterinary requirements, we strongly recommend the following for the care of your pet whether they are at Walkers or at home:

  • A year round flea and tick preventive such as Frontline Plus or a Seresto collar.
  • A worming preventive such as Heartgard
  • Vaccination against Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)