Canine Vaccination Recommendations

Every dog deemed healthy enough for vaccination by a veterinarian  should be vaccinated against the following diseases:

Rabies – This is a uniformly fatal viral disease of the nervous system. Mammals, including humans are at risk. Because rabies is fatal and because it is zoonotic (able to be transmitted to humans), every dog and puppy should be vaccinated against rabies. Usually, this is a vaccination at four months of age, one year later and then every three years, but local laws prevail in determining vaccination intervals.

Distemper – This is a viral disease of dogs that can also affect raccoons, ferrets and some large non-domesticated cats. It affects the gastrointestinal system and nervous system and may be fatal. It is preventable with vaccination. It is uncommon today, but outbreaks still occur. Every dog and puppy should be vaccinated against distemper. Usually puppies are vaccinated every three or four weeks from six to eight weeks old until four months of age, one year later and then every three years.

Adenovirus – This disease is also called canine viral hepatitis. It can cause liver disease and liver failure and is often fatal. It is preventable with vaccination. It is uncommon today, but outbreaks still occur. Every dog and puppy should be vaccinated against adenovirus. Usually puppies are vaccinated every three or four weeks from six to eight weeks old until four months of age, one year later and then every three years.

Parvovirus – Parvo is a very contagious viral disease that causes severe gastrointestinal issues – vomiting and diarrhea, often bloody, leading to severe dehydration and usually death if not treated, most often in puppies, though adult dogs can also be affected. The success rate of treating parvo has steadily increased to the point where treated pets usually survive and recover. Treatment is intensive and expensive and not always successful. Parvo is still fairly common. Every dog and puppy should be vaccinated against parvovirus. Usually puppies are vaccinated every three or four weeks from six to eight weeks old until four months of age, one year later and then every three years.

Russ with Joy the Puppy at the Lake, Day 2

Next up…”It depends” (on the dog, on the region, on the risk…) vaccines!

Questions? Thoughts?

14 thoughts on “Canine Vaccination Recommendations

  1. Hi Kiki! I do not know, but inwill try to find out for you. That is awesome that Australia does not have rabies! I so hope it is eradicated in our life time.

    1. Hi Kiki! I asked Dr. Chris (@dogarthritisdoc and @dog health_doc on twitter), who is a veterinarian in Australia, and he said that vaccination recommendations are otherwise the same DAP and some others that I will cover next week – but no rabies vaccination if your pet lives and is remaining in Australia.

  2. I brought our femle Airedale in for a rabies shot. She was so excited, thought I said babies. We also give a leptospiosis vacination here on the oregon coast.

  3. We do not vaccinate anymore, though we do maintain bi-yearly titer tests that have always come back as strong positives. Felix in particular reacts very poorly to vaccines, usually setting off a 3 – 5 month chain reaction of allergies, kennel cough, hot spots and chronic inflammation. I never knew that vaccines are only recommended for *healthy pets* until we started working with our holistic vet. Our area has a pretty low incidence of rabies, parvo and other common illnesses, so as long as they continue to test with positive reactions, I’m not sure I would vaccinate him again.

  4. Dave – 😀 good point! I will talk about lepto in the next post!

    Kolchak and Jodi – Hi! 🙂 Very good plans for your pets! Great points on the titers! They correlate well with protective immunity for distemper and parvovirus and are a great option even for healthy pets, but especially for pets like yours who do not do well with vaccination.

  5. This is a misleading article. Dogs needed to be vaccinated once for each of the above starting at 12 weeks of age. Only one vaccine at a time, then you must wait 2 weeks or more before giving another vaccine.

    Rabies and the others protect for a lifetime, so only one vaccine is necessary. If you over vaccinate, then dogs and cats rates of cancer, disease, allergies and illness and a shorter life are increased greatly.

    Big pharma lobbys the government and vets to overvaccinate for profit but not for health of your pet.

    Do what is morally right for your pets. Do not overvaccinate.

    1. A, you are terribly misinformed about vaccines. The reason vaccines are given the way they are is because somewhere between 6 and 16 weeks the passive immunity conferred from the mother’s colostrum runs out and the puppy is beginning to establish it’s own immune responses. A sequence is necessary to establish an anamnestic response as the immune system learns from the vaccine. As one declines and the other builds there is still a dangerous window for exposure to deadly diseases such as parvovirus. Once dogs are mature adults the need to boost the modified live vaccines such as distemper and parvovirus becomes less frequent however all rabies vaccine is made from killed virus. NO RABIES VACCINE has more than a 3 year duration and that includes the one my doctor give to me. I occasionally have a titer checked on myself and my titer is usually below a protective level after 2 years. Vaccines are not moneymakers for big pharma OR the Veterinarians that give them. We don’t make big bucks vaccinating animals and as a matter of fact, vaccines account for well below 10% of our practice revenue.
      Timothy J Hammond, DVM, PC

      1. I believe you are suffering from the limitations conferred by a purely allopathic education. Open your mind. There is more than one way to look at health practices and I’m afraid that traditional western medicine has done an extremely effective brainwashing job on you. There is always more than one truth. And it’s about the individual – not the masses. Western medicine generalizes terribly to every being’s detriment. Across the board, one-size-fits-all practices are dangerous. Be receptive. The people who have made these statements against vaccines are not misinformed. They just don’t conform to your beliefs. That does not make them wrong. And they too speak from their own schooling, experience and beliefs. Accept that and allow it to co-exist with your perspective. You can’t be “Right” just because you practice modern western medicine. This my way or the highway stuff is what is screwing up this planet. The change starts with you.

        1. Cathy, I promise I have not been brainwashed. And yes, I do believe every puppy and dog in the United States (and other places, though I do not know the risks in other countries as well) NEEDS to be vaccinated against these four diseases at appropriate intervals. You are right that I have been educated in veterinary medicine, and I do practice modern western medicine and draw from my other knowledge as needed. This has served my patients and me very well. I have seen slow painful deaths from rabies and parvo, and will always do everything in my power to never let it happen to another animal in so far as it depends on me. Many humans still die from rabies too, and vaccinations of animals are so very powerful in controlling and hopefully someday soon ending rabies. Some things really are this cut and dry. Core vaccinations are one of them.

  6. Hello,

    We just got a new puppy today and found out it tested positive for roundworms. I had assumed it would not because I was told by the previous owner that she had wormed him twice. Can you tell me how long it usually takes to destroy the worms? I was told for all of us to wash our hands, but wondering how feasible that is to be doing all day long.

    1. Hi! Congratulations on your new puppy! Yes, roundworms can still occur, even with appropriate dewormings. The medications used to treat them usually is repeated at three week intervals in order to ensure the lifecycle is broken and all parasites are eradicated. And YES please wash your hands after every contact with your puppy, as cumbersome as that can be! We too are susceptible to roundworms, and I do not want you or your family members becoming infected! Immunocompromised people – including the very young and very old – are at the highest risk of infection and illness.

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