Core vaccines are those that all dogs receive, because exposure is likely, or the disease is particularly dangerous. Core vaccines for dogs include:

  • Distemper — This deadly disease causes respiratory and neurologic problems. Although pets may overcome the initial infection, neurologic signs typically progress to cause death.
  • Hepatitis — Caused by adenovirus type-1, canine infectious hepatitis causes liver failure.
  • Leptospirosis — Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is spread by wild animals, and that your pet can pick up from contaminated water or soil. Leptospirosis causes liver and kidney failure.
  • Parvo — Parvovirus causes severe gastrointestinal disease characterized by uncontrollable vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and sepsis. Parvo is a serious concern for all dogs, and is often fatal in puppies.
  • Parainfluenza — Parainfluenza virus is a respiratory pathogen that often contributes to canine infectious tracheobronchitis (i.e., kennel cough).
  • Rabies — Transmitted through the saliva of infected wild animals, rabies is always fatal, and can be passed to humans. Rabies vaccination is required by law.
Optional vaccines are those that are administered based on the likelihood of your dog’s exposure, and include:
  • BordetellaBordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that causes kennel cough. Dogs who are exposed to other dogs, such as those who visit grooming or boarding facilities, dog parks, and pet stores, are most at risk, and should receive the vaccine.
  • Canine influenza — Canine influenza is a serious respiratory infection that can cause life-threatening pneumonia. It is transmitted through aerosolized droplets, and any dog who contacts other dogs should be vaccinated.
  • Lyme disease — Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia bergdorferi, a bacteria transmitted by the deer tick (i.e., black-legged tick). Infection typically causes general illness and joint pain. Untreated infection can progress to cause kidney failure.