What Vaccines Does My Dog Need? From Your Carmel Animal Clinic


A common question Carmel animal clinic’s answer on a daily basis is:  “What vaccines does my dog need?”  Whether you live in an urban part of Indianapolis or a more rural part of Westfield, there are vaccinations that are considered core that all dogs should receive.

1.  Rabies Vaccine is required by law.  The rabies virus is fatal and transmissible to mammals including humans by bites.  The major carriers of rabies virus in Indiana are bats, but also raccoons, oppossums, and other wild animals.   Rabies virus infects the brain causing either a furious form with a highly excitable dog that acts ravenous before dying, or more commonly a dumb form with a distorted face, difficulty walking, & difficulty swallowing before dying.  The rabies vaccine should be administered after the dog is 3 months or older.

2.  DAPP or Distemper-Adenovirus-Parainfluenza-Parvo Virus Combination vaccine is often referred to as a “4-way shot” or “distemper combo.”

  • Distemper is a contagious, incurable viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, & central nervous systems that usually is fatal.
  • The adenovirus causes liver damage that leads to fever, lethargy, and sometimes death.
  • Parainfluenza causes a respiratory infection which produces a hacking cough, but is usually not fatal.
  • Parvovirus attacks the fast growing cells in the body in a similar manner as many chemotherapy drugs.  So we see low white blood cell count, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and foul-smelling bloody diarrhea.  Parvo is often fatal if untreated in puppies, but most dogs recover with hospitalization and treatment.
  • The lepto vaccine is often included as well to protect both you and your dog from this deadly disease, which dogs usually get from drinking water where a wild animal has urinated like a creek, pond, or puddle.  It often attacks the kidneys and liver.  (The vaccine is called a DALPP or “5-way” if lepto included).  Some Carmel animal clinic’s do NOT include lepto as a small percentage of dogs will have an adverse reaction.  I DO recommend it because of the potential for humans to become infected.

Other vaccines should be given to dogs based on their individual needs.

3.  Bordatella or “kennel cough” (as it is commonly called) is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease that causes a goose-honk cough.  While usually not fatal, it often keeps dogs and owners up at night due to its severity.  Dogs that go around other dogs for boarding, grooming, dog parks, etc… should be protected against this with vaccination.

These are the most common vaccinations that I recommend to most owners to protect their dog and are the same vaccines I give to my personal dogs.  There are a few other vaccines available, but are not necessary for most dogs.  (more on those later…)  Many of these diseases have NO treatment and are fatal, others cost a lot to treat.  So please call your Carmel animal clinic to vaccinate your dog!  For more information on our Caring Hands, Compassionate Hearts click on this link to your Carmel Animal Clinic.


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