Dog Vaccines

Our vaccination protocols reflect the most recent recommendations of the AAHA that insure the best immunity/protection for your pet, avoiding unnecessary injections and overcharges.

What are we vaccinating against?

Core Vaccines

Cores vaccines are absolutely necessary for all dogs of any age in any state of The United State. It includes a vaccine against Distemper Virus (CDV), Parvovirus (CPV), Canine adenovirus (CAV2) and Canine ParaInfluenza Virus.

Canine Distemper Virus

In canines, distemper affects several body systems, including the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and the spinal cord and brain, with common symptoms that include high fever, eye inflammation and eye/nose discharge, labored breathing and coughing, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy and hardening of nose and footpads. The viral infection can be accompanied by secondary bacterial infections and can present eventual serious neurological symptoms.

In domestic dogs, while the acute generalized form of distemper has a high mortality rate, disease duration and severity depends mainly on the animal’s age and immune status and virulence of the infecting strain of the virus. Despite extensive vaccination in many regions, it remains a major disease of dogs, and was the leading cause of infectious disease death in dogs, prior to a vaccine becoming available.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. Dogs that are ill from canine parvovirus infection are often said to have “parvo.” The virus affects dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments, or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)

Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is an acute liver infection in dogs caused by Canine mastadenovirus A, formerly called Canine adenovirus 1 (CAV-1). CAV-1.The virus is spread in the feces, urine, blood, saliva, and nasal discharge of infected dogs. It is contracted through the mouth or nose, where it replicates in the tonsils. The virus then infects the liver and kidneys. The incubation period is 4 to 7 days.

Symptoms include fever, depression, loss of appetite, coughing, and a tender abdomen. Corneal edema and signs of liver disease, such as jaundice, vomiting, and hepatic encephalopathy, may also occur. Severe cases will develop bleeding disorders, which can cause hematomas to form in the mouth. Death can occur secondary to this or the liver disease. However, most dogs recover after a brief illness, although chronic corneal edema and kidney lesions may persist.


Rabies is a viral infection of the nervous system that mainly affects carnivores and bats, although it can affect any mammal. It is caused by the rabies virus. It causes sudden, progressive inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Once clinical signs appear, it is fatal. Rabies is found throughout the world, although a few countries are declared rabies-free due to successful elimination programs. Islands that have a strict quarantine program in effect are often rabies-free. In North America and Europe, rabies has been mostly eliminated in domestic dogs, although it affects wildlife, especially foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats.

Transmission is almost always by the bite of an infected animal when the saliva containing the rabies virus is introduced into the body. The virus can be in the body for weeks before signs develop. Most cases in dogs develop within 21 to 80 days after exposure, but the incubation period may be considerably shorter or longer.

Vaccination in practice following the American Animal Hospital Association for core vaccines:

Initial Vaccination for dogs UNDER 16 WEEKS of age: CDV, CPV, CAV2

  • Beginning as early as 6 wk of age, administer sequential doses of a combination vaccine at an interval of 2 to 4wk until at least 16 wk of age.
  • Dogs that are w16 wk of age when presented for initial vaccination should receive a second dose 2 to 4 wk later.
  • NOTE: Dogs residing in a HIGH-RISK environment may benefit from receiving a final dose at 18 to 20 wk of age.

Initial vaccination for dogs OVER 16 WEEKS of age:

  • Administer 1 or 2 doses of a combination vaccine (see below)
  • NOTE: Dogs residing in a HIGH-RISK environment and between 16 and 20 wk (4–5 mo) of age when presented for initial vaccination may benefit from administration of 2 doses of a combination vaccine 2 to 4 wk apart.
  • NOTE: Dogs residing in a HIGH-RISK environment and over 20 wk (5 mo) of age when presented for initial vaccination are expected to derive protective immunity from a single dose of a combination vaccine.

Revaccination, Boosters:

  • Administer a single dose of a combination vaccine within 1 yr following the last dose in the Initial Vaccination series.
  • Administer subsequent boosters at intervals of 3 yr or longer.

Initial vaccination for dogs UNDER 16 WEEKS of age: RABIES

  • Administer a single dose not earlier than 12 wk of age.
  • A second dose is required within 1 yr following the initial dose.
  • Most, but not all, states and provinces allow discretion in the use of a 1-yr or a 3-yr labeled rabies vaccine when administering the initial dose. (Local requirements may vary.)
  • A majority of states and jurisdictions require the owner of a young dog to have the initial rabies vaccine administered between 12 and 16 wk of age.

If you are concerned about over-vaccination, measuring antibody levels (quantitative or qualitative) provides a reasonable assessment of protective immunity against CDV, CPV, and CAV2.

Non Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines that should be considered in light of the exposure risk of the animal (i.e., based on geographic distribution and the pet’s lifestyle). Several of the diseases involved are often self-limiting or respond readily to treatment. Non-core vaccines include:

Bordetella Bronchoseptica

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a small, Gram-negative, rodshaped bacterium of the genus Bordetella. It can cause infectious bronchitis in dogs and other animals, but rarely infects humans. Closely related to B. pertussis—the obligate human pathogen that causes pertussis (whooping cough); B. bronchiseptica can persist in the environment for extended periods.


Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria. These bacteria can be found worldwide in soil and water. There are many strains of
Leptospira bacteria that can cause disease. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to people. Infection in people can cause flu-like symptoms and can cause liver or kidney disease. In the United States, most cases of human leptospirosis result from recreational activities involving water. Infection resulting from contact with an infected pet is much less common, but it is possible.

Leptospirosis is more common in areas with warm climates and high annual rainfall but it can occur anywhere. The signs of leptospirosis in dogs vary. Some infected dogs do not show any signs of illness, some have a mild and transient illness and recover spontaneously, while others develop severe illness and death.

Signs of leptospirosis may include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), or painful inflammation within the eyes. The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure. Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing. Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots (which may be visible on the gums and other mucous membranes or on light-colored skin). Affected dogs can also develop swollen legs (from fluid accumulation) or accumulate excess fluid in their chest or abdomen.

Borellia: Lyme

Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints or kidneys. The most common type of tick to carry Lyme disease is the deer tick (also known as the black-legged tick). Deer ticks are distributed through the Midwest and eastern United States, as well as throughout Canada with the highest proportion in Ontario.

Canine Flu (influenza H3N8 and H3N2)

Canine influenza (dog flu) is influenza  occurring in canine animals. Canine influenza is caused by varieties of influenzavirus A, such as equine influenza virus H3N8, which was discovered to cause disease in canines in 2004. Because of the lack of previous exposure to this virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it. Therefore, the disease is rapidly transmitted between individual dogs. Canine influenza may be endemic in some regional dog populations of the United States. It is a disease with a high morbidity (incidence of symptoms) but a low incidence of death.

A newer form was identified in Asia during the 2000s and has since caused outbreaks in the US as well. It is a mutation of H3N2 that adapted from its avian influenza origins. Vaccines have been developed for both strains.

Vaccination in practice following the American Animal Hospital Association for NON-core vaccines:

Initial Vaccination Dogs UNDER 16 WEEKS of Age

  • Bordetella INTRAORAL or INTRANASAL: A single dose is indicated for dogs at risk of exposure and is generally administered between 8 and 16 wk of age. The IN vaccine may be administered as early as 3 to 4 wk of age in puppies at risk of exposure to infected dogs (maternally derived antibody does not interfere with the immune response following mucosal vaccination).
  • Leptospira: Two initial doses, 2 to 4 wk apart., are required; the initial dose may be administered as early as 8 to 9 wk of age
  • Lyme: Two initial doses, 2 to 4 wk apart, may be administered as early as 8 or 9 wk of age (as labeled)
  • Canine Influenza: Two initial doses, 2 to 4 wk apart, are required. The first dose may be administered to dogs 6 to 8 wk of age or older (see package insert for specific information).

Initial Vaccination Dogs OVER 16 WEEKS of Age

  • Bordetella: Administer a single dose Intranasally or intraorally
  • Leptospira: Two initial doses, 2 to 4 wk apart, are required regardless of the dog’s age.
  • Lyme: two initial doses, 2 to 4 wk apart, are required regardless of the dog’s age.
  • Canine Parainfluenza: two initial doses, 2 to 4 wk apart, are required regardless of the dog’s age.

Revaccination, Booster for All Non-Core Vaccines

  • Where risk of exposure is sustained, administer a single dose 1 yr following the last dose administered, then annually thereafter.