Vaccination for dogs is a very important part of any preventive health care plan for pets and people alike. They are generally safe and have few risks associated with them.

Vaccines provide your dog with protection against many serious diseases; some that can be fatal and two that can be transmitted to humans. Our basis for each vaccination protocol comes from the recommendations of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The AAHA has a group of highly respected specialists in veterinary immunology and internal medicine who have agreed on a basic protocol that provides excellent protection, while minimizing exposure to vaccines.

We will recommend a vaccination schedule that is based on your dog’s lifestyle.

The following outlines the vaccines we may administer, the diseases they prevent and in some cases our experience of the associated disease here in the Richmond Area.

Canine Cough Vaccine
Rabies Vaccine
DAP or DAPP Vaccine
Leptospirosis Vaccine

CANINE COUGH Vaccine

(Bordetella bacteria and Parainfluenza virus)

Any dog that goes to dog parks, kennels, daycares, groomers or interacts with other dogs should be vaccinated annually. We see many dozens of cases of Canine Cough each year in our own practice. The vast majority are unvaccinated dogs. Canine cough is characterized by a harsh, hacking cough which most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in my dog’s throat.” It is an airborne, highly contagious disease. Some dogs get better without treatment, but some dogs may develop pneumonia without antibiotics.

RABIES Vaccine

Adult Dogs every 3 years

We will always recommend the rabies vaccine. Rabies is a highly fatal virus that causes neurological disease in affected animals. Dogs, cats, bats, skunks, raccoons and many other animals can get this disease. Humans can become infected and die from this disease as well. Once a person/animal shows signs of this disease, it is fatal and there is not treatment. In British Columbia, the primary source of rabies is bats and we definitely have bats in Richmond! In 2007 around Maple Ridge, an indoor unvaccinated cat died from Rabies after playing with a rabid bat that flew into the house.

DAPP or DAP Vaccine

Adult Dogs usually every 3 years

D = Canine Distemper
The symptoms begin with gooey eye and nose discharge, fever, poor appetite, coughing and the development of pneumonia. Then the virus causes vomiting and diarrhea, callusing of the nose and foot pads. The virus finally proceeds to the central nervous system leading to seizures, tremors, imbalance and limb weakness. Signs may progress to death or may become non-progressive and permanent. Recovery is also possible. While we don’t see a lot of this disease in Richmond, it is still important to protect dogs against this highly contagious, highly fatal disease.

A = Canine Adenovirus
Canine Adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. The virus invades the dog’s liver, causing damage, sometimes uncontrolled bleeding in the liver and often acute death due to shock. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, tonsillitis, abdominal swelling and pain and loss of appetite. Often, there is vomiting. In severe acute cases, especially puppies, death can occur in 1 to 2 days. If dogs can survive the initial few days, they should recover and have lifelong immunity. Vaccination is highly effective against this serious disease.

P= is for Canine Parvovirus
This disease is highly contagious and generally presents with severe vomiting and diarrhea, severe dehydration, loss of appetite and weakness. The diarrhea is frequent, uncontrolled, very liquid and often laced with blood. These are very sick dogs. Death occurs in 60% or more of affected individuals. There are many cases of Parvovirus seen every year in the Richmond area.

P = Canine Parainfluenza (for Puppies)
This vaccine is not required for dogs after their first vaccines as an adult.  Once a dog is an adult, the Canine Cough Vaccine is sufficient for protection. This is another highly contagious disease that is part of the Canine Cough complex.  If you read the information on Canine Cough, you’ll get a great idea of what problems this virus causes.

LEPTOSPIROSIS Vaccine

This vaccine is given annually only to dogs deemed “at risk.” Any dog that has access to stagnant water (puddles, even in the back yard/slow moving water/ditches) should be vaccinated against this serious disease that may be transmitted to humans. There are generally a few dozen cases a year in GVRD.

The signs of the disease can vary, but usually include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, dehydration, lethargy and fever. The Leptospriosis bacteria cause liver and kidney failure and those affected often die. As stated above, humans can get this disease as well.