FAQs – Puppy Vaccines

Q: I just got a new puppy  what shots does he need?

A: The CORE vaccinations that your puppy needs are: Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2 (Hepatitis), Parainfluenza and Parvovirus combo vaccine. We recommend giving the combo vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. If your puppy is more than 16 weeks (4 months) he needs just two vaccines given 3-4 weeks apart. The Rabies vaccine is administered at 16 weeks of age. The first Rabies vaccine does not need to be boosted until 1 year later. After the one year booster of the initial series the DA2PPv and Rabies are only needed every three years. 

Q: My breeder administered his first shot at 5 weeks, how many more do we need?

A: Any vaccination administered before 6 weeks of age will not be counted towards the initial series, as the maternal antibodies present from your pups mom will prevent proper immunity to be acquired from that vaccine. He will still need three vaccines, administered 3-4 weeks apart with the final one at at least 16 weeks. 

Q: When can I socialize my puppy at the dog park?

A: We recommend waiting until 2 weeks after the initial series is completed before introducing him to other dogs with unknown vaccine history. 

Q: I am worried about vaccine reactions, what should I watch for?

A: Although vaccination reactions are rare, we do advise to watch for swelling or tenderness at the injection site, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Most reactions are self-limiting (meaning no medical intervention is necessary), but if you do see any reaction, please call the clinic 406-446-2815,  so that we can be made aware and make recommendations regarding your puppies future vaccination visits. 

Q: My puppy has been unwell, has a fever and diarrhea, can we still vaccinate today?

A: If your puppy is sick at the time of the vaccination visit, we will likely recommend waiting until he is healthier in order to make sure that the vaccination provides the best protection. If his immune system is compromised when we vaccinate, he will not generate the proper antibodies to fight the diseases we are trying to protect him from.

Q: What exactly is distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus and parainfluenza? And why do I need to vaccinate for them?

A: The diseases and viruses that we protect against can be life threatening. The vaccinations are safe, inexpensive and readily available.

Distemper (CDV)

Canine distemper is a serious and contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.


Airborne exposure from coughing or sneezing dogs. Contact with infected salivary and respiratory secretions from food or water bowls and equipment.


Infected dogs will exhibit clear watery to thick pus-like discharge from their eyes. Next they will develop fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting. Once the virus attacks the nervous system, infected dogs develop circling behavior, head tilt, muscle twitches, convulsions with jaw chewing movements and salivation (“chewing gum fits”), seizures, and partial or complete paralysis. Distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage.


Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that effects the gastrointestinal tract and rapidly dividing cells of dogs.


By contact with infected diarrhea, the virus can remain active on inanimate objects for months.


Vomiting, bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain, low body temperature (hypothermia), loss of appetite and lethargy. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea cause a rapid onset of dehydration which can result in death within 48 hours of first symptoms if not treated immediately.

Adenovirus Type 1 and 2 (CAV-1 & CAV-2)

Canine adenovirus type 1 is infectious canine hepatitis, which is a viral infection of the liver. Canine adenovirus type-2 is one of the causes of infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as canine cough. CAV-2 is related to the hepatitis virus, canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1). It is the CAV-2 strain that we use in vaccines and it protects against CAV-1 as well.


Through contact with blood, urine, feces, and salivary or respiratory secretions of infected animals.


CAV-1 results in vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain; as well as clotting disorders, and corneal edema. CAV-2 causes a hacking cough, retching, coughing up white foamy discharge and conjunctivitis.

Canine Parainfluenza Virus

Canine Parainfluenza Virus is a highly contagious respiratory. CPIV is one of the most common pathogens that causes infectious tracheobronchitis or canine cough


Airborne exposure from coughing or sneezing dogs. Contact with infected salivary and respiratory secretions from food or water bowls and equipment.


Include, dry or moist cough, low grade fever, loss of appetite, lethargy and nasal discharge.


Rabies is an acute progressive viral encephalomyelitis that is fatal once clinical signs appear. It affects animals and humans.


Through contact with infected saliva usually through a bite wound. Infected animals can shed the virus up to 8 days before clinical signs appear, which is why there is a 10 day waiting period before euthanizing an acutely aggressive dog or cat. The virus travels from the bite wounds via the peripheral nerves to the brain and then infects that salivary glands.


Furious Form – the animal becomes alert and irritable, loud sounds may invite a vicious attack, the animal may attack people other animals or any moving object. The pupils are usually dilated. As the disease progresses ataxia (muscle in-coordination), and seizures occur and the animal will die of progressive paralysis. There are two different forms of Rabies – the ‘Furious Form’ and the ‘Paralytic Form’.

Paralytic Form – causes ataxia, paralysis of the jaw muscles and throat resulting in excessive drooling and occasionally drooping jaw. The animals with this form may not be vicious and rarely bite. The paralysis progresses rapidly and results in coma and death within a few hours.


Non-core vaccines are recommended depending on you puppies lifestyle.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

Recommended if your dog will be attending puppy classes, doggy daycare, boarding facilities or shows.

Given at 12 weeks of age – orally, boosted annually.

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, also referred to as canine cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs. It causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.


Though contact with infected salivary or respiratory secretions. At risk pets are those that stay in boarding facilities, or go to dog shows, dog parks or live in multi-pet households.


Include dry hacking cough, retching and sneezing, watery nasal discharge and in severe cases pneumonia, loss of appetite, fever and lethargy.

Canine Influenza H3N8/H3N2


Recommended if your dog will be attending puppy classes, doggy daycare, boarding facilities or shows.

Canine Influenza is also known as ‘Canine Flu’ and is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.


It is spread by contact with infected saliva or respiratory secretions. The infectious secretions can stay active for a period of time on clothing or other items


Coughing, runny nose, and fever. Not all infected dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness can range from no symptoms to severe pneumonia and rarely death



Recommended for all dogs, regardless of lifestyle. We include the Leptospirosis 4 way  in all of our DA2PPv combo vaccinations. 

Same schedule as the DA2PPv vaccine.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection from Leptospira bacteria. Leptospirosis can cause kidney failure, liver failure, and severe lung disease.


This bacteria is found in water and soil around the world and can affect pets and humans. Dogs can become infected by coming in contact with infected urine, soil, water or carcasses of other infected animals.


include fever, muscle tenderness, shivering, reluctance to move, increased thirst, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), or painful inflammation within the eyes. It can also cause some bleeding disorders which can cause nosebleeds, petechia (pin-point red spots on gums or light-colored skin), as well as blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva.

Crotalus Atrox (Western Diamondback Rattlesnake) 

Recommended for dogs that hike in the back country in rattlesnake areas. We have seen rattlesnakes around Cooney reservoir.

Intended for prophylactic use in healthy dogs. Aids in the reduction of morbidity and mortality due to intoxication with Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake) toxin. The vaccine is cross-protective against the venom of several other types of rattlesnakes found in California.

This vaccine should be given in the spring time as it is most effective in the first 4 months after vaccination.

Given no younger than 16 weeks, boosted in 3-4 weeks then annually.    


A bite from a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake can transmit the toxin Crotalus Atrox to your dog.


Include bleeding puncture wounds, difficulty breathing, lethargy, whimpering in pain, hiding, slow or labored breathing and tissue necrosis. The vaccine does NOT prevent your pet from needing emergency treatment, it only slows the progression of the venom in the body to allow you more time.

We carry antivenom in our practice in case of an emergency.


Please call the clinic 406-446-2815 to schedule an appointment and discuss our PUPPY PACKAGES!