(Per American Animal Hospital Association, 2011)


CORE VACCINES:  These are the vaccines defined as essential for the average dog


Puppies:   every 3-4 wks between the ages of 6 and 16 wks, 3 vaccines total.

Booster:  no later than 1 yr after the puppy series, and then no more frequently than every 3 years thereafter.

Notes: Among healthy dogs, all distemper vaccines are expected to induce a sustained  immune response lasting 5 years or more.


-PARVO:   Schedule is same for Distemper, above.

Notes:  While good vaccines will induce the same duration of immunity as mentioned above for Distemper, you should be aware that the Parvo virus is continually mutating, just like human flu viruses.   What this means is that the vaccines in use now may not successfully prevent parvo in the future.


-HEPATITIS:  Schedule is same for Distemper, above.

Notes: protective immunity in healthy dogs lasts for up to 7 years.


Because the Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvo viral vaccines are all recommended at the same interval, we choose to give them as a DHPP combination vaccine.


-RABIES:  Single doses are given any time after 16 wks of age and then again at a year old.

Your veterinarian should use a vaccine specifically labeled for 3 year duration for the later vaccines.



NON-CORE VACCINESShould be used only as patient’s needs and risks dictate.


CANINE CORONA VIRUS —no longer recommended.  Ineffective.



A) Injectable—Two shots separated by a month initially, then annually.   These vaccines will minimize clinical symptoms but not prevent infection or transmission.  Takes up to 7 days to become protective.  The injectable form is not protective if given intranasally. DO NOT GIVE THE INTRANASAL FORM AS AN INJECTION– IT MAY KILL YOUR PET.

B) Oral–  Single initial dose, then every six months.  May actually cause the symptoms of kennel cough (sneezing, coughing, etc) for 3-10 days.   Will usually minimize both symptoms and transmission.


CANINE INFLUENZA:  Two shots separated by a month initially, then annually.  Use is justified primarily if patient is exposed to large numbers of other dogs (show, boarding, etc).


LYME DISEASE :  Two shots after 12 wks of age, separated by a month; then annually.  Recommended for use only in at risk dogs.


LEPTOSPIROSIS:  Two shots after 12 wks of age, separated by a month; then annually.  Use only in at-risk dogs.  If used, should use a 4-way or subunit bacterin containing the following serovars: canicola, icterohemorrhagieae, grippotyphosa, and Pomona.


RATTLESNAKE: Two shots after 16 wks of age, separated by a month; then annually pre-exposure.This vaccine will help protect dogs against the venom of the Western Diamondback rattlesnake.  Some cross-protectivity exists against the Eastern Diamondback.  There is no evidence of cross-protection against the Mojave Rattlesnake.    Will minimize but not eliminate the need for medical treatment in the case of snakebite.




Killed viral vaccines are one of a group of “non-infectious” vaccines which also includes recombinant and subunit vaccines.  Live viral vaccines use an altered form of the actual disease-causing organism  that infect the host’s cells to create increased immunity.

Non-infectious vaccines include rabies, canine influenza, and corona viral vaccines.  They also include whole killed cell or cell subunit bacterins for Lyme and Leptospirosis, along with rattlesnake vaccine.

As the phrase “non-infectious” implies, these vaccines do not infect the host to produce new antigen.   Thus, they must contain adequate amounts of antigen to immunize.   Because the antigen alone may not be adequate to immunize a dog, many of the non-infectious vaccines must also contain an adjuvant, which is a substance that maintains the antigen’s presence and/or stimulates an inflammatory response to provide a more robust immune response to the vaccine antigens.

Critical to the production of a non-infectious vaccine is  the process used to inactivate the virus or bacteria, to ensure that it is dead.  Chemicals such as formalin, ethylenediamine, and other methods like irradiation are used to kill the organisms.  Some of these agents cannot be completely eliminated from the final vaccine product.    Injection site pain and the potential for hypersensitivity are thus bigger and more frequent issues for non-infectious vaccines  than for infectious vaccines.

Non-infectious vaccines are often considered to be the safest vaccine type because the immunizing agent (viral or bacterial) is dead and cannot revert to virulence, thus causing the disease the vaccine was designed to prevent.  However, it should be understood that hypersensitivity reactions are more common with non-infectious vaccines than infectious vaccines.

In general, the duration of immunity to infectious vaccines is longer and more comprehensive than that to non-infectious vaccines.


VACCINATING PREGNANT DOGS?   Don’t do it.  It’s that simple.