SIMPLE: Immunizations for Dogs - Michigan Humane Society Veterinarians

SIMPLE: Immunizations for Dogs

Routine vaccinations are important in keeping dogs safe from many common canine diseases. The MHS veterinary centers vaccinate thousands of animals each year, to protect them from deadly and transmittable diseases.

Core vaccines for dogs:

  • Rabies: In Michigan, the rabies vaccination is legally required for all dogs over 4 months of age. Rabies is a fatal disease that is transmitted through the saliva and affects the nervous system. Both pets and humans can be infected by rabies through bite wounds.
  • Distemper combination in dogs: This combination vaccine includes distemper, hepatitis/adenovirus and parvovirus. Distemper is a viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and intestinal systems and is usually fatal. Hepatitis/adenovirus can be fatal and affects the liver and other organ systems. Parvovirus is also a viral disease causing vomiting and diarrhea and is often fatal. For puppies under 4 months old, the vaccine is given every 3-4 weeks in a series. For dogs over 4 months, the interval and number of vaccine boosters given will depend on immunity. Please discuss with our veterinarians the schedule of vaccination that best fits your dog.
  • Leptospirosis in dogs: Leptospirosis (also known as “rat fever”) is a bacterial disease that affects several systems including the kidneys and liver and is contagious to people. This disease can be fatal. Leptospirosis is prevalent in Southeastern Michigan with multiple reported cases each year, and therefore, is considered a core vaccine in this area. This vaccine will need to be given yearly and boostered if your dog is not current.

Non-core vaccines for dogs:

  • Bordetella/Parainfluenza: This vaccine is highly recommended within the MHS veterinary practice. Bordetella and Parainfluenza either contribute to or cause canine kennel cough and other respiratory diseases. This is recommended for dogs that spend time with other dogs, especially in environments like boarding, dog daycare, training class or dog parks.
  • Lyme: Lyme disease is a bacterial disease spread by ticks that can cause arthritis and other problems such as kidney disease. Our veterinarians can help you decide if the Lyme vaccine is needed for your dog. This vaccine will need to be given yearly and boostered if your dog is not current.
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