Just like we talked about the importance of giving routine vaccines to keep your cats healthy, it is just as important to give routine vaccines to your dogs to keep them healthy. Dogs get different vaccines than cats – here are the most common vaccinations we give to dogs.
- Rabies. Rabies vaccinations are required by law for all cats, dogs, and ferrets. A booster for the rabies vaccine should be given every year. Rabies causes severe neurological (brain) disease. Any dog that is suspected to have rabies must be quarantined, at a minimum. If the dog has bitten someone, and does not have a record of a current rabies vaccine, it must be euthanized and tested for rabies. (There is no way to test for rabies in a live animal.)
- DHPP. This vaccine, similar to the FVRCPC vaccine for cats, protects against four different diseases at the same time – distemper (D), hepatitis (H), parvovirus (P), and parainfluenza (P). All these diseases can be very serious, even fatal. The vaccine is excellent in protecting against each of them, when given correctly. Distemper causes severe neurologic disease. Hepatitis causes severe liver disease. Parvovirus causes severe gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) disease that is typically seen as severe diarrhea and vomiting. Parainfluenza can cause upper respiratory (eyes, nose, mouth, sinuses, and throat) and lower respiratory (lungs) infections.
- Bordatella. Bordatella is also knows as kennel cough. This is a very contagious virus that can cause a persistent cough in dogs. Most boarding or grooming facilities will require that your dog is current on his bordatella vaccine. It is a good idea to vaccinate for bordatella if your dog goes anywhere that he has the chance of meeting other dogs, even for a walk in the dog park.
- Leptospirosis. The vaccination for leptospirosis is optional, but is highly recommended. We strongly recommend this vaccine for any dog that spends a large amount of time outside, such as farm or hunting dogs. Leptospira bacteria can live for a long time in the environment, so it is a good idea for any dog to be vaccinated.
There are a few other vaccines that may be given in special circumstances, but these are the four “routine” vaccines that we give to dogs.
Puppies should get their first DHPP, bordatella, and leptospirosis vaccines when they are around 6 weeks old. They will need booster vaccines every 4 weeks until they are 4 months old. The rabies vaccine should be given once when the puppy is between 3-4 months old. After the last booster vaccine, they will need vaccines every year.