Vaccines for Dogs
Vaccine schedules can be complicated and confusing and many options for vaccines depend on the lifestyle of your dog and on any medical problems as well.
Core Dog Vaccines – These are the two core vaccines that we feel all dogs should receive:
- DHLPP (which is a combination vaccine of distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvo). Adult dogs are moved to DHLPP every 3 years after the age of one year old.
- Rabies: Rabies is our only vaccine that is regulated by the state and county.
What diseases do these core vaccines treat?
- Distemper (the D in DHPP) – This disease is a paramyxovirus, which is similar to human measles. It can cause fever, poor appetite, pneumonia and can continue on to cause neurologic symptoms (which can be permanent) and death. It is transmitted mainly through saliva but can be potentially transmitted through any secretion.
- Hepatitis (the H in DHPP) – This disease is caused by an adenovirus. It primarily causes liver failure but can also affect the eyes and kidneys. The symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, changes in the cornea of the eye and even death. It is transmitted by bodily fluids, especially nasal discharge and urine.
- Leptospirosis — This is a bacterium that is found in many types of outdoor environments. There are over 200+ strains for this bacterium. The vaccine does not cross-protect (basically each strain needs its own vaccine). The symptoms can be kidney or liver failure, severe lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and increased drinking/urination. Permanent kidney damage or death can also occur. It is transmitted through urine, with contaminated water a likely source. This can be transmitted from dogs to humans; therefore it is considered a zoonotic disease.
- Parainfluenza (the first P in DHPP) – The parainfluenza virus is one of several agents that can be part of the tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) disease. This virus causes mild disease unless combined with another virus or the Bordetella bacteria. It causes a dry hacking cough and watery nasal discharge but can progress to pneumonia. If left untreated it can even cause death. It is transmitted by saliva and nasal discharge.
- Parvo (the second P in DHPP) – This virus can cause severe, bloody diarrhea, severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and frequently death. It is transmitted through the feces. This virus is very hardy and can live in the environment for months under the right conditions.
- Rabies –Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted by saliva either by bite wounds or saliva contact with open wounds. Incubation from time of exposure to symptoms is usually 3-6 weeks in the dog but can be as long as 6 months. It attacks brain cells and causes neurologic symptoms. Once an animal gets rabies it is always fatal. Vaccination for rabies is required by state law for dogs and in many communities keeping cats up to date with their rabies vaccine is also required. There is a 1-year and a 3-year vaccine. It will depend on the county in which you are living to which one the county requires.
Non–core vaccines – These three vaccines are based on lifestyle and exposure:
- Bordetella — Bordetella is done yearly for those dogs boarding and grooming.
- Influenza – Canine flu is done once a year for those dogs boarding and grooming.
What diseases do these non-core vaccines treat?
- Bordetella (also known as Kennel Cough) – This disease is usually caused by more than one virus and/or bacteria. Usually Bordetella bacteria and Parainfluenza virus are the main culprits. However, Herpes virus, Distemper and several other viruses can also be involved. The disease is spread by nasal discharge or fomites. This vaccine goes into the nose instead of being injected under the skin.
- Influenza (H3N8) – This vaccine works for this strain of Influenza only. Our current outbreak is related to the H3N2 strain and therefore this vaccine is only recommended for those boarding facilities that are requiring it.