Middlesex Veterinary Center

31 Stevens St.
Littleton, MA 01460





Dog Vaccines - Puppies Playing Together


The following information is a guide to help you understand what vaccines your pet will need and when.

Vaccine requirements and their frequency may vary for each pet depending upon the individual pet's lifestyle, age, health concerns, and risk factors. We will evaluate each pet's unique needs and then recommend an appropriate vaccine protocol for him/her.

Please be aware that vaccines cannot completely prevent these diseases but they do significantly lower the risk of contracting them and decrease the severity of symptoms if contracted.


DHPP (Also known as DA2PP)This vaccine is referred to as the canine distemper vaccine and protects against the following four diseases:

    Distemper- This virus affects the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and nervous system leading to diarrhea, upper respiratory infection and pneumonia, conjunctivitis, severe nervous system disease, seizures or possibly death.  

    Hepatitis/Adenovirus- Canine hepatitis is a liver infection caused by the canine adenovirus. The virus is spread in the urine, feces, blood, saliva, and nasal discharge of infected dogs. It infects a new dog through their nose and mouth and then affects the dog's liver and kidneys. 

    Parainfluenza- A highly contagious respiratory disease that is a cause of the symptoms commonly known as "kennel cough", which is an acute inflammation of the upper airways. The disease can progress to pneumonia in puppies or chronic bronchitis in older dogs.

    Parvovirus- Parvovirus causes vomiting, diarrhea and destruction of the bone marrow, causing severe illness and possibly death in unvaccinated puppies.  

Vaccination with DHPP/DA2PP is recommended for all dogs.

LEPTOSPIROSIS: This is a bacteria that can cause severe liver and kidney disease in dogs. Leptospira are found in standing or still water and are often transmitted in the urine of infected animals. Due to the high incidence of Leptospirosis in the wildlife population, and the severe nature of infection. Vaccination is recommended for all dogs when possible.

BORDETELLA: This is also known as the kennel cough vaccine.  This protects your dog against certain strains of contagious respiratory infections which may cause the symptoms commonly called kennel cough.  Vaccination is recommended (and often required) for dogs exposed to a large number of other dogs in boarding, grooming, training or daycare settings.

RABIES:  Spread by exposure to blood, saliva, urine and other bodily fluids of an infected animal, rabies is most often spread by bite wounds. Rabies is always fatal and represents a significant risk to people as well as other animals. Vaccination is required by the state of Massachusetts because rabies is contagious to humans.  

LYME:  Dogs get Lyme disease from being bitten by an infected tick. The Lyme vaccine helps in preventing transmission from the tick to the dog. Some dogs can be carriers of the disease without showing any signs, while other may become very ill.  A typical symptom in dogs is recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. There may also be a lack of appetite and depression. More serious complications include damage to the kidney, and rarely heart or nervous system disease. Although very effective, vaccination cannot 100% prevent disease and should be augmented with good tick control. Vaccination is recommended for all dogs.


CORONAVIRUS: Canine Coronavirus causes intestinal disease leading to diarrhea, vomiting and anorexia. Coronavirus may also cause upper respiratory infection in some animals. Infection is generally mild in dogs over 6-8 weeks of age, although very young puppies may show more significant symptoms and are predisposed to concurrent infection with Parvovirus, a much more serious disease. Vaccination is recommended for puppies younger than 6 weeks.

CANINE INFLUENZA: This is a viral upper respiratory disease that has recently been recognized in dogs. It is believed to have mutated from an equine influenza virus and is not contagious to people. Initial cases were seen in greyhounds in this area, and as of early 2011 there have not been any confirmed cases in pets in MA. Canine Influenza causes symptoms similar to kennel cough including coughing, nasal discharge and fever. Although the majority of dogs exposed will recover, rarely a very serious infection can cause severe damage to the lungs and ultimately death. Vaccination is currently required by some local boarding facilities and vaccination is recommended for dogs who travel extensively, or are exposed to dogs from other parts of the country (i.e. show dogs, hunting trial dogs, etc.)


Age: 8 weeks 
DHPP #1, Bordetella #1, Physical Exam, Fecal/Deworming, Flea and Heartworm preventative

Age: 12 weeks
DHPP #2, Bordetella #2, Lyme #1, Leptospirosis #1, Physical Exam, Fecal/Deworming, Flea and Heartworm

Age:16 weeks
DHPP #3, Lyme #2, Leptospirosis #2, Rabies, Flea and Heartworm preventative

Age: 20-24 weeks 

Annually / Adult Dogs  
DHPP (may be needed only every 2-3 years thereafter), Lyme, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Rabies (may be needed only every 3 years thereafter), Fecal, Heartworm/Lyme/Ehrlichia Test, Physical Exam, Flea and Heartworm preventative