What Dog Vaccinations Does My Pet Need in Stevenson Ranch, CA?

What Dog Vaccinations Does My Pet Need

As a dog owner, there’s a lot to know about keeping your best friend healthy, happy, and active. A big part of keeping your dog healthy involves following a complete dog vaccination schedule to ensure that she stays healthy and happy, and is not in danger of contracting viruses that may be harmful and possibly deadly.

What are Dog Vaccinations?

A vaccine functions to trigger an immune response to a certain virus, and this immune response can help your dog to battle future infections and diseases. A vaccine acts to trigger the body’s immune response to produce antibodies that can fight viruses, and keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccines will ensure that she will enjoy a healthier and happier life.

Core Dog Vaccinations in Stevenson Ranch, CA

Depending on where you live in the US or around the world, vaccines recommended by veterinarians and health departments can vary due to climate, the presence or absence of particular diseases in your area, or local, state, and national requirements. However, no matter where you live, the most important dog vaccines for your pet include the following:

Canine Distemper

The canine distemper virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs, and this virus is spread through airborne droplets through sneezing or coughing. Distemper can also be transmitted by sharing water bowls, and infected dogs can shed the virus for months. Distemper can cause discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and sometimes death. Distemper tends to affect younger dogs under the age of one year, and older dogs that may be immune-compromised. Young dogs that contract distemper require hospitalization and supportive care, and medications to help relieve secondary infections and seizures. Dogs can survive distemper, however, they will often exhibit neurological deficits throughout their lives.


Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system, and the rabies vaccine is probably the single most important vaccine for your dog. As a result, it’s known as a “core vaccine.” The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that dogs in every country be vaccinated against rabies. The WHO estimates that more than 20 million people are vaccinated against rabies after being bitten, and about 40% of them are under the age of 15. In the US, the CDC requires that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies every 3 years after one year of age, or owners must provide proof of appropriate rabies titers. A rabies titer is an estimate of an immune response against the rabies virus, and some states will allow dogs with appropriate titers to be exempt from re-vaccination. However, rabies titers are not recognized as an index of immunity, and titer tests can run as much as $150 per dog.

Symptoms of Rabies

Symptoms include excessive drooling, paralysis, anxiety, and ultimately death. It is also a zoonotic disease that can be transmitted to humans and other pets. Due to it’s deadly nature and capability to transfer to humans, rabies vaccines, or appropriate rabies titers (a measurement of rabies antibodies in the blood) are required in most cities and states in the US. If you have any questions about the rabies vaccine, please contact your veterinarian.


Parvovirus, or “Parvo,” is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are most at risk. Parvo attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates a loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea. The vomiting and diarrhea can be acute and cause severe dehydration in a matter of hours, so contacting your veterinarian immediately is crucial. Your local veterinarian can conduct a parvo test to see if your puppy does have parvo, and can hospitalize your pet to keep her hydrated and prevent the possibility of secondary bacterial infections. Parvo is an extremely contagious virus and can live indoors for several weeks, and in the outdoor environment for many months, even years in areas shaded from direct sunlight.


The canine coronavirus targets the gastrointestinal system, but it can also cause respiratory infections. Symptoms of coronavirus include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. As with Parvovirus, your veterinarian can offer supportive care with hospitalization to keep your pet hydrated.

Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis)

Canine hepatitis is another very contagious virus that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. This disease primarily attacks the liver, and symptoms range from a low-grade fever, congestion and stuffy nose, vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can overcome a mild bought of hepatitis, but more severe forms can damage the liver and even cause death.

Non-Core Dog Vaccinations in Stevenson Ranch, CA

Canine Parainfluenza

Canine Parainfluenza is one of several viruses that can cause what is known as “kennel cough.” Canine Parainfluenza targets the respiratory system, and it is very contagious and can be contracted in kennels, dog parks, and other areas where many dogs come into contact with one another.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

Bordetella is the number one cause of “kennel cough.” Bordetella is a bacterium that is highly contagious and can cause coughing fits, vomiting, and in rare cases seizures. The vaccines for kennel cough can be intranasal, injectable, and oral. If you plan on boarding your dog in a kennel, or enroll in puppy classes, or plan on using dog daycare services, the Bordetella vaccine is recommended and often required by kennels and training facilities. Most Bordetella vaccines are good for 12 months.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by a bacterium known as a spirochete. The tick is the natural host of this bacterium and is transmitted to animals by a tick bite. Symptoms of Lyme disease include limping, enlarged lymph nodes, no appetite, and a low-grade, intermittent fever. Lyme disease attacks the heart, joints, and kidneys, and can cause neurological signs. If you suspect that your dog has been exposed to Lyme disease, contact your veterinarian. Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but it is not uncommon for pets to have relapses later in life.


Leptospirosis is a bacterium and is a zoonotic disease that can be spread from animal to human. It lives in the soil and water and is more common in parts of the US where there are a lot of rivers, streams and more rain-fall than drier areas. Symptoms of leptospirosis include vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, muscle pain, and kidney and/or liver failure. If not treated, leptospirosis can be deadly. If you suspect that your pet may have leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics which can help save your pet’s life.

Vaccination Schedule for Dogs in Stevenson Ranch, CA

Depending on where you live, the vaccination schedule may differ. Some pets may not need every vaccine listed above, and it is always best to consult your veterinarian as to which vaccines are needed for your dog.

Below is listed the generally accepted vaccination schedule for dogs up to one year into adulthood:

Dog Age Recommended Vaccinations Optional Vaccinations
6-8 weeks Distemper, Parvovirus (DP) Bordetella
10-12 weeks DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus) Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease
16-18 weeks DAP, 1 year Rabies Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease
12-16 months DAP, 3 year Rabies Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease
Every 1-2 years DAP Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease
Every 3 years 3-year Rabies

If you have any questions about dog vaccinations or would like to book an appointment, call (661) 799-0655 and talk to your veterinarian at Stevenson Ranch Veterinary Center!

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