March 15, 2010 "Ask Seth"

Could you explain the various dog vaccines, including Kennel Cough and why it is necessary to get them?


I just got a reminder that my dog is due for his vaccinations. Can you explain how dangerous Parvo, Distemper and Rabies actually are? Does he need the Kennel cough vaccine if I do not board him at all? I do have some concerns because we do go to the dog park at least twice a week.

Parvo Virus

Parvo virus is a disease that causes your dog to have vomiting and diarrhea. This virus is deadly and can be contracted through soil, objects, or simply walking in the same area as a dog that has been incubating the virus. Most vets recommend vaccinating your dog once a year for adequate protection.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a highly contagious disease among dogs. Although it is more common in puppies than in adult dogs, all dogs are at risk and susceptible to it. Most vets recommend yearly vaccinations against this dangerous disease because it is fatal.


YES. If left untreated, Rabies is a fatal disease and can affect all mammals including humans. Rabies vaccines are available annually or every three years. Speak with your vet about the requirement for frequency of Rabies vaccinations recommended for your area.

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough is a respiratory disease usually contracted in areas where large numbers of dogs are housed, such as a kennel or a grooming salon. It is transmitted by nose to nose contact, and they can get it from any dog. There is a vaccination available for protection against Kennel Cough. Due to your frequent visits to the dog park, where many dogs visit, discuss with your vet if annual vaccinations are sufficient for your dog. Some reports recommend dogs with multiple interactions with other dogs be vaccinated as often as every six months.

I also recommend that you speak with your veterinarian about your activities with your dog. Annual vaccinations may work best for your dog. Also be sure to have a stool sample examined because it would only take one dog with parasites at the park to cause your dog to become infected.

Seth Mayersohn, CVT

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