Puppy Vaccines - 4

Vaccine Vigilance: Understanding Your Puppy’s Immunization Schedule

Hey there, devoted puppy parents! Dr. B here, thrilled to discuss puppy vaccines with you. Ensuring your puppy’s health and well-being starts with understanding its immunization needs. Let’s embark on this crucial journey together!

Vaccines have revolutionized veterinary medicine, saving countless pet lives. However, navigating the world of vaccinations can be daunting. At Pet Health, we strive to demystify this process for our pet parents. Understanding the basics is critical.

Selective Vaccination

At Pet Health, we believe in a personalized approach to vaccination called “Selective Vaccination.” This method thoroughly discusses core and non-core vaccines with our pet parents, considering the pet’s age, lifestyle, environment, and individual exposure risk. Core vaccines, recommended for all dogs, are prioritized unless there’s a specific medical reason against them, while non-core vaccines are suggested based on lifestyle and geographic location.

We understand that not all vaccines are necessary for every pet, especially if there’s limited exposure to contagious diseases or older pets already have immunity. Every pet is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination. Moreover, Las Vegas’s unique environment, with no significant tick population or common reservoirs for certain diseases, may influence vaccine recommendations. Discussing your pet’s vaccination plan with your veterinarian is essential, especially if traveling to areas with different disease prevalence.

Core Vaccines

Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine protects pets against a deadly virus transmitted through saliva, primarily from wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes. This preventable disease targets the central nervous system and is fatal once symptoms appear. Due to its severe public health risk, most states, including Nevada, mandate rabies vaccinations for pets, with the initial vaccine administered after 12 weeks of age and valid for one year.

Dr. B Insight – While the likelihood of pets contracting rabies is almost zero, compliance with vaccination laws is essential. Failure to maintain updated rabies vaccinations can lead to legal consequences if your puppy bites someone, as rabies poses a fatal threat to humans. Therefore, ensuring your pet’s rabies vaccination status is up-to-date protects your pet and complies with legal requirements, preventing potential legal issues.

DA2PP Vaccine

The DA2PP vaccine, a combination vaccine containing Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, and Parainfluenza, is pivotal in shielding young dogs from severe and highly contagious diseases. This modified live vaccine, containing weakened virus strains, triggers the pet’s immune system to build protection. Administering the vaccine at specific ages, typically 8, 12, and 16 weeks, is crucial to ensure comprehensive immunity development during the vulnerable puppy phase.

Dr. B Insight—Parvovirus poses a significant threat to young puppies, which is challenging to treat and potentially fatal. The DA2PP vaccination is the most critical vaccine to safeguard your new puppy from these life-threatening illnesses and foster its long-term health and well-being.

Non-Core Vaccines


Bordetella, a bacterium linked to kennel cough, thrives in densely populated areas like boarding facilities and dog parks. Given its high contagiousness, vaccination is advisable for pets frequenting such environments. Administered as a liquid by mouth at 12 weeks of age, the vaccine is well-tolerated and easily dispensed.

Dr. B Insight—While Bordetella typically isn’t severe, it can cause discomfort and inconvenience in healthy pets and potentially more serious issues in young or older pets. If your pet has exposure to other dogs, keep this vaccine updated to avoid the hassle and distress of dealing with a coughing dog (or household of dogs) for an extended period.

Canine Influenza

Like human flu, canine influenza spreads via direct contact, respiratory secretions, or contaminated surfaces. Since its identification in 2004, there have been geographical outbreaks in communal dog settings like shelters and boarding facilities. Starting in 2024, positive cases have been identified in Las Vegas, mostly involving shelters.   This is a killed vaccine that requires a booster.   If appropriate, puppies are vaccinated starting at 12 weeks with a booster at 16 weeks.

Dr. B Insight—With the emergence of canine influenza in Las Vegas, I foresee the influenza virus becoming endemic, and vaccination is most likely recommended for dogs with routine exposure to other dogs, similar to Bordetella.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted through deer tick bites, primarily affects the Midwest and coastal regions. Symptoms include joint pain, fever, and potential kidney and brain complications.

Dr. B Insight – I don’t recommend this vaccine for dogs who stay in the Las Vegas area.   Discuss travel plans with your puppy outside of Las Vegas to see if your vet would recommend this vaccine.


Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread through contaminated animal urine, threatens dogs in regions with rodent populations, such as rivers and urban areas. Symptoms encompass fever, increased thirst, lethargy, and eye inflammation, and the infection targets the liver and kidneys.

Dr. B Insight – Similar to the Lyme vaccine, I don’t recommend this vaccine for dogs who stay in the Las Vegas area.   There have been some sporadic cases at dog parks in the southern California area.   Good communication with your vet regarding travel plans can alert them if this non-core vaccine should be given to help protect your puppy.