In most cases we consider DA2PP, Rabies, Lepto & Lyme vaccinations to be ‘Core Vaccines’. The Bordetella and Canine Influenza vaccines are ones that you might choose to add as well depending on your dog’s risk factors.
"DA2PP" is a combination vaccine for your dog that protects against four primary canine diseases: distemper, adenovirus-2, parainfluenza and parvovirus. These diseases can be deadly, have high fatality rates and are better prevented as treatment is very costly and not always successful. Regular vaccination is recommended to reduce your dog’s risk, and this is considered to be the basic core vaccine dogs receive. DA2PP vaccines should begin when your puppy is close to 8 weeks of age (ideally the first vaccine was completed before you bring the puppy home with you) and then this vaccine is given again (boostered) at 12 and 16 weeks of age. Sometimes a 4th DA2PP vaccine is given around 20 weeks of age as well. Then this vaccine is given again in for the following two years, and then typically given once every 3 years after that.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. The disease is contracted through contact with saliva of animals that are infected (Skunks, foxes, raccoons & bats are the most commonly affected animals, but any mammal can contract rabies). There is no cure for Rabies so all pets are legally required to receive and stay current with their Rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccine is given 2 years in a row and then given once every 3 years after that.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that attacks the kidneys and liver. The disease is spread through infected urine and contaminated water. Slow moving bodies of water/stagnant water provides an ideal home for the disease to live. Symptoms can include: fever, vomiting and dehydration. If liver/kidney failure has progressed in this disease it can be fatal. This vaccine is given initially, then boostered 3-4 weeks later, then given once yearly. The vaccine helps to limit the seriousness of disease, but pets can still become infected.
Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (deer tick/Ixodes scapularis) which can carry the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (the causative agent of Lyme disease). There is a high prevalence of this disease in our area. Ticks are most prominent in our area in Spring and Fall (Cooler temperatures). However, anytime the temperature is above 4 degrees Celsius they will be out! The most common symptoms for Lyme disease are fever, decreased appetite, swollen lymph nodes and inflamed joints. If the disease is left untreated it can affect the kidneys, leading to kidney failure, therefore becoming potentially fatal. This vaccine is given initially, then boostered 3-4 weeks later, then given once yearly. We recommend a three-pronged approach to Lyme disease prevention: performing a tick check daily, using a preventive with label claim (Bravecto, Nexgard or K9 Advantix), and vaccination.
Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough)
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that causes a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. Bordetella is easily transmitted through the air or by direct contact and is quite resistant to destruction in the environment. It is one of the more common causes of canine infectious tracheobronchitis (i.e. kennel cough) where dogs develop a hacking cough and a nasal discharge. Sometimes the symptoms are mild and do not require treatment and sometimes the symptoms are more serious and might require medications to help alleviate the cough (e.g. antibiotics or bronchodilators). Dogs that go to boarding kennels, groomers, puppy classes and that compete in dog sports will be more at risk of contracting Bordetella. This vaccine is given once every 6 or 12 months (depending on risk and potential exposure) and is usually either administered orally or via an intra-nasal vaccine. Vaccination decreases the chances of contracting Bordetella and decreases the severity of the disease if contracted.
Right now the Canine Influenza risk is very low in our area, but for the vaccine to work your pet requires two doses 2-4 weeks apart, so if we suddenly have an outbreak, it is too late to vaccinate. Even if your dog is a home body, remember that we do live in a very popular tourist destination. Many people travel with their dogs, so our dogs might be exposed to more dogs or people who have traveled than most small town dogs would be. Dogs that would be at an increased risk of exposure would be: dogs that have frequent contact with other dogs or that travel to dog parks; dogs that travel to places where many people hike with their dogs; dogs that go to shows or dog sport events; or dogs that go anywhere else that people might often take their dogs. The problem with an emerging disease that is spread by travel is that it could show up tomorrow, or not show up for years. Symptoms of canine influenza include: cough, nasal discharge, fever, and runny nose or eyes. Symptoms can vary widely in severity from case to case from a mildly runny nose to death. Dogs that are considered to be at increased risk of severe disease if they become infected are: elderly dogs, dogs with underlying heart or respiratory disease, and brachiocephalic breeds (like Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Boxers and others). After the two doses of vaccine 2-4 weeks apart, then this is an annual vaccine. Vaccination decreases the chances of contracting influenza and decrease the severity of the disease if contracted (much like human influenza).