Apex Animal Hospital

Vaccinations for Dogs

Core Vaccinations for Dogs

Core vaccinations are vaccinations that we typically recommend for all puppies and dogs, where as non-core vaccinations may be recommended only for puppies and dogs that are traveling out of state.  For puppies we recommend vaccinations at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age and then booster vaccinations one year later.  At 8 weeks of age all they need is a so called 5-Way vaccination.  A 5-Way vaccination will protect the puppy from Parvovirus infection, Distemper virus infection,   Parainfluenza virus infection and Adenovirus 1 and 2 infections.  The 5-Way vaccination should be boosted at 12 and 16 weeks and then one year after that.  For most animals it is recommended to boost this vaccination every 2 years after that.  Some breeds, such as Bernese Mountain Dogs have notoriously fickle immune systems, and some dogs have had reactions to vaccinations in the past.  We recommend that after the first yearly booster vaccination, annual to bi-annual vaccination titers are taken to make sure that the dogs are protected against these viruses, instead of just giving the vaccinations.

Dogs that go to the groomer, doggie daycare, dog shows, kennels, agility trials or other venues where they are exposed to a lot of other dogs, should be given a Bordatella brochiseptica, also known as the “kennel cough” vaccination at 12 and 16 weeks.  This vaccination does not afford long term immunity and thus should be boosted yearly.  Doing vaccination titers is also possible; however, given the relatively short immunity of this vaccination, the vaccine titer results are often disappointing.
All dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies in Montana once they are 6 months old.  We recommend giving the first Rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age.  This vaccine should be boosted one year later and then every three years.  Although vaccination titers can be done that show that an animal has protective antibodies against the rabies virus, rabies vaccination titers are unfortunately not allowed in Montana as a substitute for vaccination as of this time.  If your animal has a serious medical condition, such as cancer or a live threatening immune system disease call us for more information.

Non-Core Vaccinations for Dogs

Depending on the geographical location within the United States and certainly outside of the lower 48 states, some disease may be a lot more prevalent.  For example, should you either travel or move to the east coast, Lyme disease and Leptospirosis would be a much greater health concern than if you would travel around Montana and North Dakota.  Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is an emerging disease.  It was first discovered in 2004 in racing Greyhounds in Florida and has since spread to Colorado and up the eastern shore to New York.  Even in Florida and Colorado the incidence rate among dogs outside the Greyhound racing industry is very low.  A vaccination is available, but studies that prove efficacy are lacking.  Please ask us about specific vaccinations and other health concerns, such as Heartworm disease before you move or travel out of state.