By far the most well-known of the canine vaccines, Rabies vaccine is given to puppies around 3-4 months of age with a booster 1 year later, followed by boosters every 3 years. The State of North Carolina requires all dogs to be kept up to date with this vaccine.
Rabies is a virus spread by saliva that causes major brain damage in dogs, cats, and many other animals. Symptoms often begin with inability to swallow, aggressive or “dumb” behavior, and/or partial paralysis of limbs. As the disease develops, patients may become very aggressive, biting at objects, other animals, and people.
According to North Carolina State Law, it is our legal responsibility to ensure cats and dogs are vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor pets can be exposed to this disease, which is fatal to pets and humans alike.
A combination vaccine sometimes referred to as “canine distemper” actually provides protection for a number of diseases in addition to Distemper, including Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis. DHPP is given as a series to puppies at roughly 4 weeks of age followed by 3 boosters each given 4 weeks apart. We recommend this vaccine be given every three years for adult canines.
Distemper is a viral disease that causes vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing, tonsillitis and a chronic low grade fever. Distemper is common among unvaccinated puppies and a percentage of patients with distemper may suffer from debilitating or fatal epileptic seizures.
Sometimes called “Lepto,” this vaccine is recommended for dogs at risk of drinking stagnant water, especially larger breeds that hike or live on farms. The leptospirosis vaccine can be given in combination with DHPP, but dogs must be given a booster yearly. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of the kidneys and/or liver that can be acquired from small rodents.
Sometimes called “kennel cough,” Bordetella vaccine protects against this airborne virus often spread among large populations of dogs (boarding facilities, dog parks, groomers, etc.). This vaccine protects against a dry, honking, uncomfortable cough and should be given every 6 or 12 months depending on the pet’s individual needs.