cat receiving a vaccination from a vet employee


Berlin Animal Hospital strongly recommends minimizing vaccinations for your pet over the course of its lifetime based on your pet’s lifestyle and risk for disease exposure. Most vaccinations protect your pet against common diseases. However, there are many vaccines available for diseases to which your pet may never be exposed in Massachusetts or the North East United States.

Berlin Animal Hospital recommends the following vaccinations based on your pet’s lifestyle and risk of disease:


  • FVRCP (feline distemper) – Ever year or three years depending on lifestyle.
  • Rabies – Massachusetts requires that felines be vaccinated for rabies virus once every three years after they have completed there initial series. In the initial series, a animal will receive a rabies vaccine marked as a 1 year vaccine and then have that re-boostered 9-12 months later. The animal will then have a 3 year rabies vaccine.
  • Feline leukemia – This is a yearly vaccine recommended for all felines that will be going outdoors. A clear FIV/FELV blood test will be required before the vaccine is administered. 


  • Bordetella Vaccine (kennel cough) –  If your dog goes to the groomer, dog park, boarding facilities or is otherwise exposed to other dogs, you should consider this vaccination on a yearly basis.
  • Rabies Vaccine – Massachusetts requires that dogs be vaccinated for rabies virus once every three years after they have completed their initial series. In the initial series, an animal will receive a rabies vaccine marked as a 1 year vaccine and then have that re-boostered   9-12 months later. The animal will then have a 3 year rabies vaccine.
  • Distemper and Parvovirus Vaccine (DA2PP) – includes canine distemper virus, adenovirus (hepatitis), parvovirus and Parainfluenza. For adult dogs, this vaccine should be given yearly or every three years depending on lifestyle. In older dogs, who have been properly vaccinated, a vaccine titer blood test can be done in order to determine if this should go on a rotating vaccine cycle.
  • Leptosporosis (Lepto) – This bacterial disease is transmitted from wildlife through standing water. We recommend this vaccine for any dog that goes outside. 
  • Lyme – Lyme is a tickborne disease that is extremely prevalent in New England. Symptoms include joint pain, lethargy, and fever. Ask us about our new Zoetis Lyme vaccine!

Lifestyle & Risk Factors

The use of these pet vaccinations will be determined based on travel to other states and exposure to other pets at dog parks or boarding facilities. If your pet is at moderate risk for disease we may recommend yearly vaccines. However, if your pet’s risk is low we may suggest a three year vaccine schedule. A vaccine titer test can also be used with some of the vaccines.

A vaccine titer is a blood test that determines the level of immunity your dog has against certain diseases. In dogs, distemper and parvovirus titers are common, and rabies vaccine titers are also used occasionally to prove the level of protection your pet has against the rabies virus.

Some pet owners elect not to vaccinate and instead rely on vaccine titers to indicate whether or not their pet is due for the vaccine. In Massachusetts, state public health organizations will not recognize a titer in the place of a rabies vaccine. This is typically performed if pets are going to an international country and the country wants the status of the rabies blood level for that pet. Some boarding facilities will accept vaccine titers in place of pet vaccinations. We have no control over what a private boarding facility will require. Will will work with all our clients who board to ensure a smooth boarding experience.

Schedule An Appointment Today

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 978-415-0400.