The veterinarians at San Francisco Animal Care & Control take care of the shelter animals. ACC does not provide veterinary services for the general public. However, ACC holds two clinics for residents of San Francisco and their pets:

Spay/Neuter Mobile Clinic

The Go Nuts! mobile clinic van provides spay/neuter surgery at ACC every third Thursday of the month. Pets owned by SF residents are eligible. The mobile clinic is provided by Peninsula Humane Society. Pets are accepted from 8:00-9:00 am on a first come, first served basis. One pet per family; dogs and cats only; no dogs over 80 lbs and no pets over 8 yrs old. For details, including pre-surgery instructions, call (650) 340-7022 x387. Read about the benefits of spaying/neutering your pet.

SFACC’s partner, the SFSPCA, offers discounts for local rescues and low-income SF residents, as well as free spay/neuter services for Pit Bull mix dogs and feral cats.

Low-Cost Rabies and Microchip Clinic

ACC Rabies/Microchip Clinics are held four times a year. Microchips are free for San Francisco residents with licensed dogs. Dog licenses are sold on site at the shelter (fees vary). Microchips are $20 for those outside San Francisco. Rabies vaccinations are $6 and are required for the license. Sponsored by Friends of SFACC and SFVMA. Contact the shelter at (415) 554-6364 for clinic dates.


Why should I have my pet spayed/neutered?
Spaying a dog or cat before their first heat cycle significantly reduces the risk of  the pet getting mammary (breast) cancer. Neutering significantly reduces the risk of male pets getting testicular cancer and greatly reduces prostate problems. Spaying and neutering sterilizes the animal and thus reduces unwanted litters. It also may reduce undesirable behaviors such as spraying, marking, aggression towards other animals, roaming, and mating behaviors.
Why should I vaccinate my pet?
Vaccines prevent disease outbreaks and save lives. When a critical number of animals in a population are vaccinated against a contagious disease, most of the individual animals are protected from infection because there is less chance of exposure (even for the few that are not vaccinated). This is referred to as “herd immunity.” Of course there’s a critical mass required for this immunity to occur. If there are not enough immune animals in the community, diseases that were thought to be eliminated may re-emerge and outbreaks can occur, as they have in the human population with pertussis and measles.
What vaccinations does my dog/cat need?
Many types of vaccines are available for dogs and cats. The AAFP/AFM Advisory Panel on Feline Vaccines and the AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force recommends certain vaccines for all pets (core), vaccines based on the individual risk factors for your pet (non-core), and vaccines that are NOT recommended. These recommendations are continuously updated as new information and new vaccines become available. A vaccine plan for your pet should be determined between you and your veterinarian at routine annual exams. The type and frequency of vaccines will vary depending on age, underlying disease conditions, immune system status, travel plans, boarding/kenning plans, and lifestyle (indoor vs. outdoor, etc.).

These are general guidelines and do not replace the advice of your veterinarian and the need for annual checkups.


Core vaccines/recommended:

  • DA2PP (distemper virus, canine parvovirus, parainfluenza, and hepatitis)
  • Rabies

Non-core vaccines:

  • Leptospirosis (may come in combination with DA2PP)
  • Bordetella (depending on potential for exposure through kennels, boarding, groomer visits)
  • Canine Influenza Virus (depending on travel, generally not recommended for dogs in California)
  • Lyme (depending on exposure risk)

Vaccines not recommended:

  • Coronavirus vaccine
  • Rattlesnake envenomation

Puppies should receive a series of booster vaccines from 6-8 weeks of age until 16-20 weeks of age and boosters again at 1 year. Adult dogs generally receive boosters at 3-year intervals. Bordetella vaccination is recommended annually. Puppies generally receive deworking medication during the booster series.


Core vaccines/recommended:

  • FVRCP (feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, feline panleukopenia virus)
  • Rabies

Non-core vaccines:

  • Feline leukemia virus
  • FIV (generally not recommended)
  • Feline chlamydia
  • Feline bordetella (unless the cat is young and high-risk for large, multiple cat environments)

Vaccines not recommended:

  • FIP vaccine

Kittens should receive a series of booster vaccines from 6-8 weeks of age until 12-16 weeks of age and boosters at 1 year. Adult cats generally receive boosters every 3 years Kittens generally receive deworming medication during the booster series.

What should I feed my pet?
Your pet’s veterinarian can recommend the best food to give them. If your pet has a medical condition that requires a special diet, your vet can recommend a prescription diet that is formulated especially for the pet’s condition. For small rodents, birds, and reptiles, we recommend asking a vet who specializes in these animals what diet would be the best to feed them. In some animals, the wrong diet can lead to death, so before you adopt a pet (especially an exotic one), do your homework on how to care for it.
How do I deal with fleas?
There are many different flea products available that are safe and effective. You and your veterinarian can determine the best product for your pet based on age, health status, and type of administration (ingested or topical) that works best for you. Use caution when applying treatments to cats as some products intended for use on dogs can be toxic to cats.
What is heartworm and what do I do about it?
Heartworm is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that lives in the heart, lungs, and major blood vessels and causes lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs. Heartworm disease can affect both dogs and cats (and other mammals) and is spread by mosquitoes. Heartworm has been diagnosed in all 50 states and both indoor and outdoor pets are at risk. Treatment is a several step process and can be costly. Testing and prevention is best to avoid infection. San Francisco typically has been a low-risk area for heartworm disease, however pets that travel are at higher risk. Discuss your pet’s risk for heartworm and preventive plan with your veterinarian. For more information, see the American Heartworm Society.
What is Lyme disease and what do I do about it?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through tick bites. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include a shifting leg lameness, fever, and swollen joints, and can wax and wane over a long period of time. The appearance of symptoms can be delayed and often can go undiagnosed because the symptoms are non-specific and mimic other disease processes. Prompt removal of ticks and regular tick preventive medication can prevent transmission. A vaccine is available if your pet is considered to be at risk. Discuss your pet’s risk and preventive plan with your veterinarian.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease—which humans can also get—that has been in the news quite a bit lately. The potentially fatal bacteria has rarely been seen in San Francisco’s dog population. The bacteria is spread through urine and can live for weeks or months in standing water. The good news is leptospirosis is preventable: the canine DHLPP vaccine protects against the bacteria, as well as against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. This year, SF vets have seen just a few cases but it’s always good to take precautions and make sure dogs are vaccinated. Read more about leptospirosis and how to protect your animals and yourself.
Does rabies exist in San Francisco?
Animal Care and Control in cooperation with the Dept. of Public Health routinely test suspect animals for rabies. Several bats with rabies have been reported in San Francisco. Rabies vaccination is recommended for all dogs and cats (even if housed indoors). All cats and dogs adopted or redeemed at ACC are vaccinated for rabies before they leave the shelter.
Can my pet catch anything from raccoons or other wildlife?
Raccoons carry canine (dog) distemper and there are distemper outbreaks in the San Francisco raccoons every year. They can also carry rabies. Raccoons also have an intestinal parasitic worm that will cause severe disease if it infects humans. Do not ever handle a raccoon or touch its feces. Vaccinate your pet for distemper and rabies, and keep them on leash when in areas where raccoons are living. Pigeon feces can be a source of fungal spores which can cause diseases in humans and animals. Skunks and bats can carry rabies.
Why shouldn't I declaw my cat?
Cats use their claws to exercise, play, stretch, climb, hunt and mark their territory. It is natural for cats to scratch. It is perfectly normal feline behavior. There are alternatives to declawing. Exercise and play with your cat regularly. Give him a scratching post and teach him to use it. Temporarily confine your cat to a small area where he does not have access to your furniture. A few days in a room with a litter box, food, water, and of course a scratching post is much more humane than declawing. Trim your cat’s nails on a regular basis. The curved tip of the claw is the part that hooks into things and causes the most damage. Products like SoftPaws, which are vinyl nail caps that are glued on to your cat’s existing nails, are easy to apply and well tolerated by cats. San Francisco currently outlaws declawing, docked tails, and clipped ears for any animal.
What foods and plants are harmful to pets?

Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, and chives can cause gastrointestinal irritation in dogs and cats, especially if they consume a large amount. Avocados should also be avoided, as they can cause mild digestive issues in dogs and cats such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of stool production. Avocados contain a toxin called persin which is extremely toxic to pet birds and rabbits. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in chewing gum, toothpaste, and other sugar-free foods and is seriously toxic to dogs. Bread dough ingested by dogs or cats can lead to ethanol poisoning and even death. Marijuana toxicity, raw meat, and mold can be dangerous. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control site is a great resource.

Plants like lilies and daffodils are highly toxic to cats; symptoms include digestive upset, heart arrhythmia, kidney failure, convulsions, or even death.




Related Links
Why Spay and Neuter?
Rabies and Microchip Clinic
News & Events Calendar
SFSPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic
Peninsula Humane Society