​Routine veterinary care for pets includes yearly vaccinations.

Canine Vaccines

  • Distemper-Parvovirus: This vaccine protects your dog from 4 serious contagious diseases; DistemperParvovirusAdenovirus, and Parainfluenza. In adult dogs, we recommend the 3-year vaccine so that we can reduce the number of vaccines your dog receives while still keeping it protected.  Puppies will need to receive a series of this vaccine to be fully protected.
  • Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection is transmitted by wildlife such as deer and rodents. Dogs with exposure to wooded areas, fields, and dogs that hike and camp are usually vaccinated for this, but there has been an increased rate of infection in your typical indoor dogs. This infection is also zoonotic, which means it is highly contagious to humans.
  • Bordetella: Also known as Kennel Cough, this disease causes coughing and cold-like symptoms. Dogs who are boarded, go to dog parks, get groomed, or attend doggy daycare are at the highest risk and should be vaccinated.
  • Rabies: Rabies is a serious viral infection transmitted by bites from infected animals. This infection is almost always fatal and is contagious to humans through bites. In most counties and states, this vaccination is required by law.

Feline Vaccines

At Butler Creek Animal Hospital we use Purevax brand vaccines for cats. Several studies have shown that adjuvant-free vaccines such as Purevax have fewer risks of adverse side effects. In fact, the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends using Purevax vaccines in cats whenever possible. Our Feline Distemper, Feline Leukemia Virus, and Rabies vaccinations are Purevax.

  • Feline Distemper: This vaccine protects against 3 serious viral infections: PanleukopeniaRhinotracheitis, and Calicivirus. These are highly contagious diseases that can lead to lifelong respiratory and eye problems. They are transmitted through the air, but can also be spread on clothing and shoes so we recommend vaccinating indoor as well as outdoor cats for this. Our protocol, using the guidelines of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, involves vaccinating adult cats every 3 years. Kittens will need to receive a series of vaccinations to be fully protected.
  • Feline Leukemia Virus: This infection is spread by direct contact with infected cats. Per the guidelines of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, we recommend all kittens be vaccinated for this and adults if they are at risk.
  • Rabies: This is a serious viral infection transmitted by bites from infected animals. The infection is almost always fatal and contagious to humans through bites. In most countries and states this vaccination is required by law. 

Ferret Vaccines

It is currently recommended that all ferrets be vaccinated against two deadly and life-threatening diseases: canine distemper and rabies. The ferret vaccine products available are specific for ferrets and have undergone extensive laboratory testing to determine that they are effective in preventing both diseases. Unfortunately, some ferrets may have adverse reactions to either vaccine.

Canine Distemper

  • Canine distemper is caused by a virus. There are a variety of symptoms, usually starting with fever, appetite loss, clear nasal discharge, and a rash on the chin. As the virus progresses, infected ferrets typically develop severe eye inflammation (conjunctivitis) and dermatitis with red blotchy skin and thickened footpads. Within several weeks, distemper causes inflammation of the nervous system resulting in incoordination, convulsions, coma, and death.
  • Unfortunately, ferrets with canine distemper almost always die of the disease. Ferrets can acquire canine distemper from other animals sick with the disease. Since the virus can live for a short time in the environment or on clothing, ferret owners can potentially pick up the virus from infected animals and bring it home. Once exposed, unvaccinated ferrets typically begin showing signs of the disease within 7–10 days. Ferrets vaccinated against canine distemper with an approved vaccine are usually well protected against the virus.


  • Rabies is caused by a virus and is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Rabies in ferrets is rare, as most ferrets are kept indoors where exposure to rabid animals is uncommon. However, accidental exposure may occur, and given that rabies is a serious cause of human illness and death, it is highly recommended that ferrets be protected against the virus.

  • Many communities require rabies vaccination of pet ferrets, along with dogs and cats. If an unvaccinated ferret bites a human, the health department is called in to make a determination of likely rabies involvement and, in some cases, may require that the ferret be killed and tested for rabies.

Why Purevax?

Currently, PUREVAX ™ is only available through veterinarians since Merial does not sell vaccines directly to the public. The chance of your ferret having a reaction to the new vaccine is very low (only one mild stinging has been reported out of several thousand vaccines given so far.) Even ferrets that have had previous reactions to the older Fervac-D vaccine have not had any reactions to PUREVAX™ so far.

Purevax ferret vaccine shot distemper rabies
Owners of ferrets that have had reactions to Fervac-D may still want to have their ferret pre-treated with Benadryl the first time the ferret receives the new vaccine, and we still recommend that you stay in our office for at least half an hour after a vaccination just to be on the safe side. When multiple vaccinations are needed (such as distemper and rabies) we still recommend a 3-week interval between the vaccinations.

About the Vaccine:

  • PUREVAX™ ferret distemper vaccine is a type 3 recombinant vectored vaccine. Recombinant technology eliminates the need to use the whole virus. This process prevents the virus from replicating in the ferret’s body and eliminates the possibility of the ferret accidentally contracting distemper from the vaccine.

  • PUREVAX™ contains DNA sequence for two protective antigens: HA (hemagglutinin); F (fusion membrane protein).

  • PUREVAX™ does not pose the risk of post-vaccinal encephalitis.

  • PUREVAX™ has not shown indications of transient immunosuppression. (It does not suppress the immune system after inoculation.)

If you have questions about the PUREVAX™ ferret distemper vaccine or vaccinations in general, please talk to one of our veterinarians.