How important are the dog vaccines?

You need to get your dog vaccinated in order to prevent it from various diseases. Various types of viruses are introduced into the body of the dog when the vaccines are administered. However the amount of organisms injected is less in quantity and thus they do not cause any sort of
illness. The vaccines expose the dog’s body to a virus so that their body can produce suitable antibodies against it. These antibodies will thus protect the dog from any natural infection with that particular virus.

There are two types of dog vaccines- the live virus vaccines and the dead virus vaccines. Live virus vaccines are more effective as they are able to generate a greater immune response from the dog’s body. However veterinarians have different opinions regarding the efficacy of live viral vaccines. According to some, dead viruses are more effective in protecting the dog from diseases.

Rabies is a highly fatal disease in human beings. Thus dogs must be vaccinated against the rabies virus. Dogs have been receiving this vaccine for years and this has lead to a decline in the total number of rabies cases in the world. The incidence of rabies has also declined among human beings.
There are two broad categories of dog vaccines. The first one is core vaccines. This category includes a number of vaccines like canine distemper, parvovirus, canine, adenovirus and canine hepatitis.

The second group is the non core vaccines. This includes canine coronavirus, canine parainfluenza, giardia vaccine, Lyme disease, rattlesnake vaccine and bordatella vaccine for kennel cough.

These vaccines are administered as and when recommended by the veterinarians.

Nowadays, there is a huge debate going on about the efficacy and the necessity of these dog vaccines. Many veterinarians feel that all the vaccines should not be given to the dogs. For example, kennel cough is a disease which the dogs usually develop when they go out so it should be used only for such dogs. Lyme disease is another example. The disease is found only in certain parts of the country and dogs living in those regions should only get the vaccines.
Frequent vaccination is often a subject of debate amongst the veterinarians. According to some, regular administration of vaccines can have some serious consequences. It may lead to suppression of the immune system. The average life expectancy of the dogs may also decrease.
Vaccines are effective but to derive the maximum benefits from them, they should be timed properly. Many veterinarians and teaching hospitals now suggest that the dogs should not be vaccinated repeatedly for it can lead to serious health problems in them.

According to Dr Pitcairn, regular vaccination can introduce a number of diseases in dogs like diseases of the thyroid, skin problems and allergies.

People are becoming aware about the advantages of fewer vaccines. Administration of all the vaccine to all the dogs regularly is not the right approach. Dogs should be given only those vaccines which they require.

You must visit a veterinarian today in order to know that which vaccines are required for your dog.

Puppy Shot Schedule

6 – 8 weeks DHLPP + Corona
9 – 11 weeks DHLPP + Corona
12 – 14 weeks DHLPP + Corona
16 weeks – Rabies


There are two types of vaccines currently available to veterinarians: modified-live vaccines and inactivated (“killed”) vaccines.
Immunization Schedules

There is a great deal of controversy and confusion surrounding the appropriate immunization schedule, especially with the availability of modified-live vaccines and breeders who have experienced postvaccinal problems when using some of these vaccines. It is also important to not begin a vaccination program while maternal antibodies are still active and present in the puppy from the mother’s colostrum. The maternal antibodies identify the vaccines as infectious organisms and destroy them before they can stimulate an immune response.

Many breeders and owners have sought a safer immunization program.
Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)

Modified-live vaccines contain a weakened strain of the disease causing agent. Weakening of the agent is typically accomplished by chemical means or by genetic engineering. These vaccines replicate within the host, thus increasing the amount of material available for provoking an immune response without inducing clinical illness. This provocation primes the immune system to mount a vigorous response if the disease causing agent is ever introduced to the animal. Further, the immunity provided by a modified-live vaccine develops rather swiftly and since they mimic infection with the actual disease agent, it provides the best immune response.
Inactivated Vaccines (Killed)

Inactivated vaccines contain killed disease causing agents. Since the agent is killed, it is much more stable and has a longer shelf life, there is no possibility that they will revert to a virulent form, and they never spread from the vaccinated host to other animals. They are also safe for use in pregnant animals (a developing fetus may be susceptible to damage by some of the disease agents, even though attenuated, present in modified-live vaccines). Although more than a single dose of vaccine is always required and the duration of immunity is generally shorter, inactivated vaccines are regaining importance in this age of retrovirus and herpesvirus infections and concern about the safety of genetically modified microorganisms. Inactivated vaccines available for use in dogs include rabies, canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, etc.
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
938 Stanford Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310/ 828-4804
fax: 310/ 828-8251

Note: This schedule is the one I recommend and should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice. For breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or affected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease (e.g., thyroiditis, Addison’s or Cushing’s disease, diabetes, etc.) the above protocol is recommended.

After 1 year, annually measure serum antibody titers against specific canine infectious agents such as distemper and parvovirus. This is especially recommended for animals previously experiencing adverse vaccine reactions or breeds at higher risk for such reactions (e.g., Weimaraner, Akita, American Eskimo, Great Dane).

Another alternative to booster vaccinations is homeopathic nosodes. This option is considered an unconventional treatment that has not been scientifically proven to be efficacious. One controlled parvovirus nosode study did not adequately protect puppies under challenged conditions. However, data from Europe and clinical experience in North America support its use. If veterinarians choose to use homeopathic nosodes, their clients should be provided with an appropriate disclaimer and written informed consent should be obtained.

I use only killed 3 year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by 3-4 weeks. In some states, they may be able to give titer test result in lieu of booster.

I do NOT use Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area pr specific kennel. Furthermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.

I do NOT recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy or lactation.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Printable Titers Forms and Instructions for Testing:

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