New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions

300 Somonauk St.
Park Forest, IL 60466


                                Canine Vaccination 



Deer Run Animal Hospital utilizes the canine vaccine guidelines provided by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) to make vaccine recommendations for our patients.  AAHA has worked with the the best canine infectious disease and immunology experts in the country to develop these guidelines.  Click this link to read the  2011 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines  which is a very extensive document.  Click here for a copy of our Canine Vaccination Handout.


One of the changes in vaccine recommendations in the AAHA Guidelines is that not all vaccines need to be given on a yearly basis.  For example "Distemper" (DHPP) vaccines provide at least 3 years of protection.  We will work with you to determine which vaccines are important for your pet and how frequently they should be given.


In addition to changes in frequency of vaccine administration, the  AAHA Vaccine Guidelines have made recommendations on which vaccines should be considered basic core vaccines (Rabies and DHPP vaccines are needed by all canine patients), which vaccines might be considered in special circumstances, and which vaccines are not recommended for routine use. For details on these recommendations, and to decide what is best for your pet's special circumstances, please consult your veterinarian. We will tailor a vaccine protocol that is individualized for your pet's needs.




To provide you with the best quality health care possible,  dogs should always return for annual physical examinations even if re-vaccination is not due. Yearly physical exams, heartworm and wellness blood testing, and fecal  intestinal parasite exams are needed.  Pets age must faster than we do so an annual exam for them is almost like one exam every 7 years for us!   


During these annual exams we will discuss the latest information on vaccine protocols and perform disease risk assessment for your pet. If we feel that your pet warrants a change in vaccine protocol we will discuss it with you. We also hope that by placing less emphasis on vaccination, we can concentrate on other health issues. 


Annual examinations provide earlier detection and treatment of many chronic health problems that may cause your pet discomfort and/or shorten it's life. Instead of vaccination, we may discuss or recommend other diagnostic, treatment, and behavior measures that will help your pet live a longer, happier, and healthier life.






We cannot stress enough how puppy lives can be saved with proper vaccination. Young pups need a series of vaccines given against several serious, and potentially fatal, puppyhood diseases such as Canine Distemper virus and Canine Parvo Virus.   Protection against these two viruses are included in what is commonly known as a "Distemper" vaccine, which is often abbreviated as DHPP (which stands for Distemper-Hepatitis or Adenovirus-Parvo-Parainfluenza). 


Hepatitis, a viral disease of the liver, is caused by an adenovirus, and adenovirus can also be involved in Kennel Cough.  Parainfluezna virus is also one of the many infectious agents that is also involved in the Kennel Cough Syndrome or Infectious Tracheobronchitis. 

The Distemper (DHPP) vaccine series should be started at 6-8 weeks of age and repeated at 3-4 week intervals until at least 16 weeks of age. The repeated series is important to protect a young puppy while waiting for maternal antibodies received from the mother's milk to decline.  


If a puppy over 16 wks, or an adult dog, is presented without prior history of DHPP vaccination, a single DHPP vaccine will be effective for the first year.


After the initial puppy series or the first year, the Distemper or DHPP vaccine should be boostered one year later.


The actual duration of immunity beyond 3 years of the DHPP vaccine in previously vaccinated adult dogs remains controversial.


What are the options for re-vaccination for the Distemper (DHPP) Vaccine?


  • Antibody Titer Blood Tests can be run to determine if high levels of protective antibodies against Distemper and Parvo Virus are still present after 3 years.  If high, revaccination is not yet needed.  The downside of this option is that these tests are costly.  Interpretation can also be difficult because protective immunity may still bepresent even if antibody titers are low.
  •  Continue to vaccinate for DHPP every 3-5 years.  


Most Distemper DHPP vaccine manufactures are now supporting these recommendations.  However most Distemper vaccines have not yet received a 3 year or greater license by the USDA so we are using them in this manner as "off-label" use.


Rabies vaccination is critical to protect both pet and human health.  Rabies vaccination  must comply with Indiana State Law which requires vaccination of all cats and dogs 12 wks of age and older. By Indiana law, the first rabies vaccine a pet receives must be a 1 year USDA licensed product.  Thereafter a 1-year or 3-year licensed product may be chosen. Off-label use is not allowed. 


The purpose of this law is to protect the humane population from this deadly disease.  These vaccines are produced under different labels and have received different USDA licenses. The safety and efficacy of the vaccines of the vaccines are very similar despite the licensing differences. In order to comply with state law, a 3 year licensed product must be used if opting for a 3 year protocol.

At Deer Run we typically recommend a 1 year rabies vaccine for the first two years.  This will allow us to eventually get your dog on an alternating 3 yr booster pattern with both Rabies and DHPP Distemper vaccines so that both vaccines are not due in the same year. Our goal is to minimize the number of vaccines given at one time to also minimize the risk of vaccine reactions. 


Leptospirosis Vaccination is recommended for most of our canine patients.  This is considered a non-core vaccine by the national AAHA Guidelines.  However its use is recommended in high risk areas such as Northwest Indiana. We typically start this vaccine in pups after 16 weeks of age. Tiny or toy breeds, Dachshunds, and dogs with a history of vaccine reactions to other vaccines may be at increased risk of allergic reaction to the Lepto vaccine but still remain at risk for Leptospirosis.  For more information on how this disease is transmitted and how it can affect both canine and human health, please visit our Leptospirosis Web Page


Bordetella Intranasal (IN) Vaccine
 This vaccine helps prevent against Kennel Cough, or Infectious tracheobronchitis.  Kennel Cough  is actually a syndrome that can involve several respiratory pathogens.  Bordetella is a bacterial component that is frequently involved in the syndrome along with viruses such as Parainfluenza and Adenovirus. 


The Bordetella vaccine  is recommended for dogs taht visit facilities for bathing, grooming, boarding, or training.  Also for dogs taht go to dog parks, or if planning hospitalization for surgery. This vaccine is administered via a nasal spray to provide local immunity in the nasal cavity.  Local immunity will develop quickly but usually requires several days so ideally the vaccine should be given prior to boarding and grooming events.


Vaccination does not always completely prevent the infection.  However if exposed, a vaccinated animal will likely have a milder course of respiratory symptoms and coughing.  This vaccine needs to be repeated annually to maintain immunity


Canine Influenza or H3 N8 is another respiratory virus that can become involved in the Kennel Cough Syndrome and the symptoms are identical to other respiratory infections.  However it can be a more severe infection than the other causes (Bordetella, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus). Outbreaks have been seen in the Northeast, Florida, and Colorado.  At this time we are not seeing this viral infection in the NW Indiana area, however with the ability to travel with pets, it could appear in our area in the future.  Deer Run Animal Hospital is not currently carrying this vaccine but we remain diligent in watching for it to reach our area.  If you travel with your pet to endemic areas such as Florida, and plan to board you animal in that area, you may want to ask a Veterinarian there to vaccinate your dog for Canine Influenza. 


Lyme Disease is occasionally seen in our area. Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.  This bacteria is transmitted by ticks, usually a very tiny tick called the Deer Tick.  It is important to realize that this tick, as well as the more common Ticks, can carry many other Tick or Vector Borne Diseases such as Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Tick Paralysis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesia, as well as others.  The most important thing we can do to prevent Lyme Disease, as well as all of these other tick diseases, is to use a topical tick control product such as Vectra 3D, K9 Advantix, or Frontline Plus.  At this time we are not vaccinating routinely for Lyme Disease but strongly recommned our clients prevent ticks with these topical preventatives.


Corona Virus Vaccine as of 2006 the AAHA Guidelines list this vaccine as no longer recommended.  This virus does not produce significant canine intestinal disease to warrant vaccination.

A Giardia vaccine was on the market but it is not intended to prevent infection in the vaccinated animal.  Instead the vaccine was licensed as an adjunct to treatment and is used to reduce the shedding of cysts by the vaccinated patient.  This would be helpful in a kennel situation that is trying to reduce environmental contamination during an outbreak or where an animal keeps getting reinfected, but it is not helpful to the average dog whose owner wants to simply prevent infection.

As of 2006 the American Animal Hospital Association Guidelines list the Giardia vaccine as "not recommended".