What vaccine schedule does Dr. Marie recommend?

If you find this information useful, please spread the word by sharing this on Facebook with your friends or Tweeting this article.

There is some variation in which vaccines are necessary or recommended depending on what part of the world you live in. We often get asked questions about vaccinations. This article should answer some of those questions.

Available vaccines:

There are some "core" vaccines that are recommended for every dog. These include:

  • Distemper: a virus that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, discharge from the eyes or nose, fever and respiratory signs. We used to see distemper rarely, but this virus is starting to become more common in the last few years.
  • Parvovirus: a very common virus that causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It is often fatal.
  • Adenovirus: (or hepatitis). Fortunately this virus is rarely seen, thanks to good vaccination protocols!
  • Parainfluenza: can contribute to kennel cough.
  • Coronavirus: causes diarrhea but it is usually very mild.
  • Rabies: a very serious disease that is spread via a bite from an infected animal. This disease is always fatal and is transmissible to humans.

And then there are some vaccines that are given depending on the dog's risk level:

  • Leptospirosis: a serious disease that a dog can get from drinking from a puddle where an animal such as a skunk, racoon, fox or badger has urinated. This disease can cause kidney failure and possibly liver failure too. It is contagious to people as well.
  • Lyme disease: transmitted by ticks in certain parts of the world. It causes joint and muscle pain and sometimes a very serious kidney problem.
  • Kennel Cough (Bordetella): causes a hacking cough. Most commonly spread where dogs are congregating and stressed such as a kennel or a dog show. But this can be spread via the air in any place. It is usually not life threatening.

Vaccination Schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks: vaccine for distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza (and possibly coronavirus)
  • 3-4 weeks later: the same vaccine plus leptospirosis (depending on risk level), lyme disease (depending on risk level) and bordetella (depending on risk level)
  • 3-4 weeks later: the same vaccines as last time plus rabies.
  • One Year after the rabies vaccine: All vaccines are repeated again.
  • After this, we usually put the dog on a schedule where not every vaccine is given every year. We we usually recommend rabies every three years, the core distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza every two years and lepto, lyme and bordetella yearly.


Search Ask A Vet Question:

Dr. Marie was quick to respond and thorough in suggesting treatment for my cat. I am so thankful- I have been so worried about my cat. Now I have additional options to discuss with my vet.

The service was incredibly fast and the vet's suggestions were right on target. This was incredibly helpful given that none of the vets in my area, mine now included, will take off hours calls now.


Popular questions...

Pit Bull doesn't want to walk. Okay, A few minuets ago I went on a walk/jog with my playful Putbull/Lab, I had... (7305 views)

Pink growths on chest of dog. Sometime in the past 4 weeks my dog has developed small string like pink growths on... (14105 views)

Give thyroid medicine? Hi there, I live in a remote northern community and we do not have a vet here. My... (6492 views)

Is my dog in heat? my dog was really sick and she wouldnt eat. then after a few days she got better and... (31889 views)

Why can't I get rid of fleas? How do I permanently get rid of fleas? I have tried flea shampoos, and De Flea... (8759 views)

Grade 4 heart murmur. Today I had went to a new vet with my 8 year old Cocker Spaniel, and while the vet... (9464 views)

Swollen dog testicles. can dogs get testuculer or prostate cancers? my dog has swollen testicles, and is... (34270 views)

Are tomatoes bad for cats? Hi, My ragdoll cat loves cherry tomatoes! - he goes mad crazy for the but I am... (35950 views)

Dog with allergies. Dr, I'm afraid Max's allergies are getting the better of him. Symptom... (6362 views)

Lethargic cat My cat has been lethargic for a couple days. Noticed yesterday afternoon. She... (16281 views)

See all questions...

Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.