Planning on bringing your dogs to club events?

Send in proof of up-to-date Rabies and Distemper vaccinations at least one time, (Bordetella if given) for each dog that attends Saint Louis All Dogs events and activities. Details below.

Two ways to send us documents. --read the instruction page

A TITER report is acceptable proof for Distemper and Parvo. The State of Missouri requires Rabies vaccination regardless and will not accept a titer as proof. --read about the test

PUPPIES under 4 months of age. --read puppy details below

Vaccinations explained

Rabies: is contagious, fatal and required by Missouri law.

Distemper: is contagious and often fatal. It's represented by the letter "D" when combined with other vaccines. Examples: DHPP, DAPP, DHLPP or DA2PP

DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza)
DAPP (distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, parainfluenza)
DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, adenovirus, parvovirus, parainfluenza)

Bordetella: is contagious, but rarely fatal. Bordetella acts rather like a cold. Bordetella is typically mandated by local health inspectors, for dog boarding factilities, or locations with heavy dog traffic. Some veterinarians call it Tracheobronchitis. It's also referred to it as Kennel Cough... read more below.

Did you know diseases (& parasites) are passed between dogs (& humans) in a variety of ways. Contact can occur during greetings, while playing, from locations that dogs frequent and more. To prevent unvaccinated or susceptible dogs (puppies, and dogs with weak immune systems) from getting or passing diseases; proper immunization and parasite control (flea/tick/heartworm preventative) is the common rule. Yes, there is debate regarding which vaccinations help and which do not. Yes, there is debate regarding the immune systems memory.

The information on this page is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. Saint Louis All Dogs assumes no liability for injury to you or your pet incurred by following these descriptions or procedures.


Puppies!! Young dogs definitely need a series of vaccinations in their first year of life. Vaccinations can protect a young dog from dangerous diseases, while it's young immune system develops. See example charts below and consult your Veterinarian.

Charts show vaccination schedules and treatments for puppies and dogs. Veterinary recommendations vary depending on the age, breed, and health status of the dog; as well as the potential of the dog to be exposed to a disease, the type of vaccine, whether the dog is used for breeding, and the geographical area where the dog lives or may visit. --source. vaccCHART2

Common vaccination questions

1) How does a vaccination work?

2) Pro's and Con's of vaccinations. Arguments about whether or not to give human vaccinations, are sometimes referenced in the dog vaccination debates.

3) Titer (test). There's a lot of misunderstanding on the part of pet owners, and some veterinarians, as to what a titer test does or does not tell us.

4) Reaction to vaccination. If your dog reacts to a vaccine, make sure the symptoms are documented in your dog's veterinary file and get a copy of the file. You will need documentation to ask for a medical exemption. --(source)

5) The science behind vaccines. --(source)

Types of vaccinations

RABIES --------
Rabies is an acute viral disease of the central nervous system that affects humans and other mammals but is most common in carnivores (flesh-eaters). Rabies is almost exclusively transmitted through saliva from the bite of an infected animal. Another name for the disease is hydrophobia, which literally means "fear of water," a symptom shared by half of all people infected with rabies. Other symptoms include fever, depression, confusion, painful muscle spasms, sensitivity to touch, loud noise, and light, extreme thirst, painful swallowing, excessive salivation, and loss of muscle tone. If rabies is not prevented by immunization, it is almost always fatal. (source)

Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and properly vaccinated animals stand very little chance of contracting the rabies disease. Read what the Missouri Department of Health says about rabies.

While rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory for all states, it is estimated that up to half of all dogs are not vaccinated. Some communities are also requiring cats to be vaccinated, which is very important because there are currently more cases of cat rabies than dog rabies. Some people estimate that less than ten percent of the cat population is vaccinated thus leading to the high incidence of rabies in cats.

The standard protocol is to vaccinate dogs (and cats) at three or four months and then again at one year of age. A year later, a three-year rabies vaccination is recommended. The three-year vaccine has been tested and shown to be very effective. A few counties, states, or individual veterinarians require yearly or once every two-year vaccination for a variety of reasons that need to be explored more closely.

A long term study is finally underway to test the duration of the rabies vaccine. Visit the Rabies Challenge Fund

DISTEMPER --------
Canine distemper is a contagious, incurable, often fatal, multisystemic viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV).

Canine distemper occurs worldwide, and once was the leading cause of death in unvaccinated puppies. Widespread vaccination programs have dramatically reduced its incidence. CDV occurs among domestic dogs and many other carnivores, including raccoons, skunks, and foxes. CDV is fairly common in wildlife. The development of a vaccine in the early 1960s led to a dramatic reduction in the number of infected domestic dogs. It tends to occur now only as sporadic outbreaks.

Young puppies between 3 and 6 months old are most susceptible to infection and disease and are more likely to die than infected adults. Nonimmunized older dogs are also highly susceptible to infection and disease. Nonimmunized dogs that have contact with other nonimmunized dogs or with wild carnivores have a greater risk of developing canine distemper.

Infected dogs shed the virus through bodily secretions and excretions, especially respiratory secretions. The primary mode of transmission is airborne viral particles that dogs breathe in. Dogs in recovery may continue to shed the virus for several weeks after symptoms disappear, but they no longer shed the virus once they are fully recovered.

Vaccination against canine Distemper is a "core vaccine," meaning that it is a required vaccination according to veterinarians. Often, vaccinations against this disease are included with others (DAPP, DHLPP, "4-in-one" or "5-in-one" vaccines). DHPP a combination vaccine, often called a 5-way vaccine, usually includes adenovirus cough and hepatitis, canine distemper, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Some combination vaccines may also include leptospirosis (7-way vaccines) and/or coronavirus. The inclusion of either canine adenovirus-1 or adenovirus-2 in a vaccine will protect against both adenovirus cough and hepatitis; adenovirus-2 is highly preferred.

What is the treatment for canine Distemper? At this time, there is no cure for the actual virus which causes canine Distemper. Treatment is supportive. That means that your vet will treat the symptoms as they occur. For example the dog may need an intravenous drip if it is dehydrated, or anticonvulsants if it is having seizures. The dog is kept as comfortable as possible with constant nursing in a warm dry draft free area.

Prognosis for Canine Distemper is fatal in over fifty percent of adult dogs who contract the virus and eighty percent of puppies. Death occurs between 2 weeks and 3 months after infection. The main cause of death is from complications to the central nervous system. Many vets will recommend euthanasia when there are progressive incapacitating neurological symptoms. Nervous problems can persist many weeks after the animal has recovered from all other symptoms of the infection. Some dogs appear to recover but may develop chronic or fatal nervous system problems. --(source)

BORDETELLA (Kennel Cough) --------
Bordetella Bronichiseptica is one of the three most common causes of Canine Upper Respiratory Disease Complex, known as "Kennel Cough" (see Infectious Tracheobronchitis below). The symptoms include a harsh, dry cough, aggravated by activity or excitement. The cough is followed by retching or gagging in an attempt to clear small amounts of mucous from the throat. Body temperatures may be elevated as secondary bacterial infection takes place. This disease is highly contagious and is readily transmitted through the cough of an infected dog, and breathed in by a susceptible dogs. Bordetella can be picked up in and outbreaks may occur at boarding facilities, pet stores, training facilities, dog parks, play groups, animal clinics/hospitals and other places dogs often frequent. Bordetella tends to act more like a common cold and generally is not fatal. Bordetella is administered at twelve (12) and again at sixteen (16) weeks of age in puppies, with an annual booster.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis (ITB) is often inappropriately labeled "Kennel Cough" which is more of a syndrome rather than a distinct disease entity. Some of the more commonly involved organisms at work are CAV-2, Parainfluenza, and Bordetella Bronchiseptica. The syndrome is highly contagious and may cause a dry, retching couth that can lead to a severe Pneumonia. Puppies should be vaccinated with CAV-2 and Parainfluenza four times and Bordetella two times with an annual booster containing all three types. These three separate diseases cause ITB (or Kennel Cough).

HEPATITIS --------
Canine hepatitis is a disease of the liver and other body organs caused by Canine Adenovirus Type 1 (CAV-1). The virus is found worldwide and is spread by bodily fluids, including nasal discharge and urine. Recovered patients can shed the virus for up to nine months in the urine. The primary mode of transmission is by direct contact with an infected dog or fluids. Contaminated runs, cages, dishes, hands, boots, etc., can also serve as a source of transmission.

What are the symptoms? Initially, the virus affects the tonsils and larynx, causing a sore throat, coughing, and occasionally, pneumonia. As it enters the bloodstream, it can affect the eyes, liver, and kidneys. The clear portion of the eyes, called the cornea, may appear cloudy or bluish. This is due to edema (swelling) within the cell layers forming the cornea. The name 'hepatitis blue eye' has been used to describe eyes so affected. As the liver and kidneys fail, one may notice seizures, increased thirst, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

What are the risks? Unvaccinated dogs of all ages are at risk, however, the disease is most prevalent in patients less than one year of age. Death can result as soon as two hours after the initial signs. Death can be so sudden it may appear as if the patient was poisoned.

What is the treatment and prevention? There is no specific treatment for infectious canine hepatitis. Intravenous fluids and supportive care are indicated. Fortunately, excellent vaccines are available to immunize puppies as well as adults. The vaccines may contain adenovirus type 1 or type 2. Adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) is a cause of cough in the canine. Because the viruses are similar, vaccines against one cross protect against the other. Modern vaccines contain either CAV-1 or CAV-2, but not both. However, either one protects against both hepatitis and cough.

Vaccination against Hepatitis (Adenovirus) is typically included with others (DAPP, DHLPP, "4-in-one" or "5-in-one" vaccines).

Leptospirosis was first recognized as a cause of acute fatal illness in dogs in Europe in the 1930's. Subsequent reports were confirmed in North America. Manifestations of both liver and kidney failure were recognized and the disease was rapid and progressively fatal because of the lack of effective chemotherapeutic agents or vaccines. Since the advent of antibiotics and vaccines, the disease became less common and severe, and many veterinarians have discontinued their use of the vaccines.

However, in the last two decades, there have been increasing reports of Leptospirosis in dogs caused by strains other than those used in vaccines, and the clinical syndrome is more of an gradual onset of chronic kidney or liver failure. Data gathered since the early 1980's suggests that this disease is not an expanding epidemic, but an endemic problem that is now being recognized.

This disease can potentially spread directly between hosts in close contact through urine, venereal routes, bites, or ingestion of infected tissues. Indirect transmission involves exposure of susceptible animals to contaminated soil, food, or bedding. Water contact is the most prevalent means of spread, and habitats with stagnant warm water and alkaline pH favor survival of this organism. Learn more about the Leptospirosis vaccine.

The Dog Owner's Guide

Discussion of multiple strands concept

Article by Dr. Ron Hines

Canine Parainfluenza is highly contagious and contributes to upper respiratory disease and Infectious Tracheobronchitis (abbreviated ITB, also see below). It is one of the three major diseases that causes ITB, or "Kennel Cough." Characteristic clinical signs of infection include coughing that may be intensified by activity or excitement. Environmental factors such as drafts, colds and high humidity may enhance susceptibility to the disease. Typically, this disease is self-limiting, with a course of 5 to 10 days duration. However, secondary bacterial infection of the respiratory tract is not uncommon, and may complicate the clinical syndrome. Like Distemper and Parvovirus, Parainfluenza is given in combination vaccines (DHLPP and DAPP).
Parvovirus ("Parvo") is caused by a virus that attacks the lining of the small intestine of all canines. Infection results in enteric disease characterized by sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhea, often with blood. Any puppy exposed to the virus during the susceptibility period will most likely come down with the disease, regardless of many vaccination schedules. The virus is spread by a fecal-oral route. This means that the virus is passed, by the billions, in the stool of an infected canine and then ingested by another canine. It can live in the environment for years and still be infectious, and can be spread on hands, boots, feed dishes, etc.
A puppy should receive a booster every 3 to 4 weeks from 8 weeks of age until at least 16 weeks of age (talk to your veterinarian). People often begin vaccinating at or before six weeks of age, but it is a widely accepted fact that interference from natural antibodies (the immune protection pups get from their dam) blocks the vaccine. Another common mistake is to vaccinate more frequently then every three weeks. The immune system can not respond to vaccines given more frequently than three week intervals, and a decreased immune response may even occur. All dogs should receive revaccination (at one year of age, and then every 3 years). Like Distemper and and Parainfluenza, Parvo is given in combination vaccines (DHLPP and DAPP).