Most Important Dog Vaccinations in East San Jose, CA

As an owner, it’s important to follow a complete dog vaccination schedule to ensure that your best friend stays healthy and happy, and is not in danger of contracting viruses that may be harmful and possibly deadly.

What are vaccines?

The function of a vaccine is to trigger an immune response to a certain virus which can help protect your pet from future infections and diseases. A vaccine triggers the body’s immune response to produce antibodies that can battle viruses.  Keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccines will ensure that your pet will enjoy a healthier and happier life.


Depending on where you live in the U.S. and the world, recommended vaccinations can vary due to climate, the presence or absence of particular viruses and diseases, and due to local, state and national requirements.  However, no matter where you live, the most important vaccines for your dog are listed below.


  1. Rabies

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 each and 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 (1).  In the U.S., the CDC requires that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies every 3 years after one year of age.


What are the 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 East San Jose veterinarian.


  1. Canine Distemper

The 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.


  1. Parvovirus

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 sun-light.


  1. Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis)

Canine hepatitis is another very contagious virus that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and the 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 bout of hepatitis, but more severe forms can damage the liver and even cause death.


5. Leptospirosis

Leoptospirosis 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. Leptospirosis is not uncommon in northern Californian dogs both from urban backyards and also with exposure histories involving livestock and areas frequented by wild mammals. The leptospirosis vaccine is now recommended as a core vaccine for dogs in California because the disease has the potential to occur in any dog (even in urban environments).  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.


Optional Vaccines


  1. Canine Parainfluenza

Canine Parainflenza 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.


  1. 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, injectible and oral.  If you plan on boarding your puppy in a kennel, or enroll in puppy classes, or plan on using doggy daycare services, the Bordetella vaccine is recommended and often required by kennels and training facilities. Most Bordetella vaccines are good for 12 months.


Vaccination schedule for dogs

Depending on where you live, the puppy 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 you puppy. 

Our vaccination protocol is based on what is recommended by UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and you can view the schedule below:

Core Vaccines for Dogs:

  • DA2PP (distemper, adenovirus type 2, parvovirus, parainfluenza)
    • First dose: 8 weeks of age
    • Second dose: 12 weeks (first Leptospirosis dose given also)
    • Third dose: 16 weeks (second Leptospirosis dose)
    • One year after the initial series (yearly Leptospirosis dose)
    • Then booster every 3 years
  • Rabies
    • First dose: 16 weeks of age
    • Second Dose: 1 year
    • Every three years after initial series

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs:

  • Bordetella (for dogs expected to board frequently)
    • Yearly booster
  • Canine Influenza (for dogs who frequently come into contact with other dogs)
    • Yearly, as needed
  • Rattlesnake (for dogs expected to be outdoors)
    • Yearly, as needed


Do vaccinations have side effects?

Some pets can experience side effects such as a mild fever, swelling at the vaccine site, lethargy, decreased appetite, coughing or sneezing.  These reactions usually start within hours of a vaccination, and if they last for more than 24-48 hours, or if your pet is experiencing discomfort, please contact your veterinarian.  If your pet experiences more severe side-effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, hives, swelling of the nose, or collapse, contact your veterinarian immediately as these could be signs of a life-threatening emergency.