Puppy’s first shots, Part 2 (other vax)

Most non-core vaccines do not give complete protection but the recommended ones do give very good protection. For example, the lepto vaccine covers the four most common strains of leptospirosis. Your dog can still contract the disease but the likelihood is much lower.


(If you ever want to annoy a vet who seems really uptight, spell Bordetella as bordatella.)

This vaccine is a bit more commonly known as the kennel cough shot. It treats CIRD, which can come from pretty much anywhere. Kennel cough is kind of like any human cold. If you live where you’re touching things that untold numbers of other people touch every day, you are much more likely to get sick than the man living on his 50 acre farm 10 miles from the edge of town. Stressed out dogs who get stuck in an enclosed space with lots of other stressed dogs for a long time are at risk for kennel cough. Dogs who stay home except to go jogging are not likely to start coughing. One cough or sneeze is normal but if your dog suddenly starts coughing and sneezing regularly like it’s got a cold, you should get it checked out.

Any dog or puppy from the pound, an ASPCA shelter, or comes from an unknown background should get this vaccine. If you board your dog at a kennel, your dog should get this vaccine and a lot of kennels ask that your dog get the shot every six months and at least a week before your dog joins the kennel. If you take your dog to the groomer—as in drop off in the morning for a full day’s treatment and not as in a quick nail trim—it’s a good idea to get the shot.

This shot gets a one month booster followed by yearly boosters. If your puppy is definitely going to benefit from this vaccine, take the shots with your DAP shots except instead of boosting every three years, boost every year.  The vaccine takes about four days to go into effect so plan ahead. Unfortunately, this is not on the three year calendar but it’s not required so if your dog isn’t at risk, you’re good to go.


Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by bacterial infection. “Zoonotic” means basically that you and any other pets can get the disease from whoever catches it first. Infected dogs get [kidney/liver] [damage/failure] (circle one).

The bacteria lives in the bladder of an animal, which urinates, contaminating ground water, and then somebody drinks it somehow. The bacteria is everywhere because animals have been urinating since forever. The major source of infection is standing water because running water and salt water is supposed to reduce the risk of infection enough that most beaches are safe but I’ve heard of a dog getting infected from playing at a certain beach, the name of which escapes me.

Lepto is recommended for outdoorsy types like ranch dogs and hiking buddies. If you live in an area with a lot of wildlife, which might not be bears and mountain lions so much as raccoons and opossums, you probably want to think about getting the shot.

If you want the shot for your puppy, the first shot should be no earlier than 12 weeks (coordinate with your second last puppy DAP), followed by a booster at 15-17 weeks (your last puppy DAP), and boost every year. I believe this vaccine takes about a week to go into effect so again, plan ahead.

Canine Influenza

My notes say that dogs get CI from traveling to events such as national meets. For example, a specialty competition like “best labrador retriever in the U.S.” or enzootic racing, cough, greyhound, cough.

First shot is no earlier than 6 months so make sure your vet checked your puppy’s teeth. If your puppy still hasn’t started growing adult canine teeth, you should not be getting a canine influenza vaccine. Second shot is one month later and the following boosters are yearly.


Where I live, we have western fence lizards everywhere. I once caught one and raised it in a little aquarium.  I had a labrador retriever who really did not get along with reptiles. He once killed one of the little lizards and I felt bad but I got over it. Now I feel bad again because according to research, those shy little guys are what keep us and our tick-infested mutts from getting Lyme Disease.

Therefore, if you live in a tick-happy environment but no WFLs, you might consider getting this vaccination.  Puppies have to be at least 12 weeks old to get the shot and the scheduling is a little trickier so pay attention. First, figure out when ticks are in season. If your puppy turns 12 weeks at least 2 weeks before tick season, perfect: the second shot is just before tick season and the first shot is 2-4 weeks before that. Booster every year. If you’ve timed it right, your dog will be vaccinated right before tick season every year.


There is only one rattlesnake vaccine available. It is only for the western diamondback. It does not guarantee that your dog can walk away from a western diamondback bite with no problems.

We do not recommend this vaccine for owners who seem to think that this vaccine makes the dog immune to snake bites. It may buy you time to rush your dog to the ER but if you decide not to do so simply because your dog is “vaccinated”, that worries us.

I am not very familiar with how vaccination protocol goes for this vaccine but I believe you can find more info at Red Rock Biologics, Rattlesnake Vaccines.

You might want to try rattlesnake aversion classes instead. You need to be mentally prepared for these classes. They are not screwing around. The dogs are equipped with shock collars set to full strength (or as high as it can go without causing lasting physical effects to the dog) and put in a room with snakes that have had their venom glands removed. Every time the dogs go near a snake, they get zapped. The goal is for you to be able to call your dog from the other side of a snake and see your dog give the snake a wide berth while coming to you. Let’s be honest. This can traumatize your dog, especially if it’s suddenly getting shocked every time it wants to come over and it doesn’t realize that the snake is the key factor that results in the pain.

I did get an idea from hearing about these classes. If your dog has extremely high prey drive for chickens and you own chickens, you can do a modified version of this training without traumatizing your dog. For one, the factor is going to be really obvious when it gets shocked for running at chickens of its own accord, so the experience shouldn’t affect your dog’s recall skills at all. It might be traumatized towards chickens but it won’t be traumatized towards you. I’m not saying you have to do this but it’s an option to keep in mind when you feel desperate.


All you need to know about this vaccine is that it is not recommended. It used to be core and now it is not.




One response to “Puppy’s first shots, Part 2 (other vax)

  1. Pingback: How Often Do Dogs Need Shots? • BunkBlog

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