Recommended Canine Vaccines by Geographical Area

Canine vaccines are a great way to protect your dog against potentially deadly diseases that may also affect humans. There is some debate, however, over the number of vaccinations a dog needs and if annual boosters are necessary.

Don't Over-Vaccinate Your Dog

Many vaccines are grouped into multivalent vaccinations with five or more antigens in one combination shot. This can be an efficient and inexpensive way to improve your dog's immunity, but may also be introducing excessive antigens into the immune system. Also, there are several core dog vaccines for puppies that will not be require future vaccinations (at least not on a regular basis). If your dog is not at risk of exposure to a disease (IE if the disease does not require a core vaccine) you may want to consider passing over that vaccination.

Lyme Disease Transmitted by Ticks

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted through a tick bite so dogs only need to be vaccinated if they live in areas where ticks are common, especially deer ticks. These regions include the upper Midwest, Pacific northwest and northeastern United States. The application of tick control insecticides is another great way to prevent tick bites along with vaccination.

Rattlesnake Bites Possible in California

Vaccines for rattlesnake bites, like the crotalus atrox vaccine for Western Diamondbacks and possibly other snakes, should be administered if you live in areas near rattlesnake's natural habitat. California is home to eight varieties of rattlesnake and owners should consider this vaccine if they live in the state, even if they have never seen a rattlesnake themselves. Hunting and ranch dogs should especially be vaccinated in case a rattlesnake ever crosses their path. If your dog does get bit, however, a trip to the vet for medical attention is still necessary, even if the dog is vaccinated.

Leptospirosis in Habitats of Wild Animals

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is grouped into the non-core vaccines. The northeastern United States and Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Michigan have experienced a particularly high number of cases but the disease is found worldwide with higher incidences in common flood areas. House pets are rarely at risk for this disease, but dogs that spend time outdoors and in the habitats of wild animals should be vaccinated because the disease is transmitted through infected urine or fecal matter, bites, infected animal carcasses or contaminated water. Vaccinating against leptospirosis is not recommended for all dogs and sometimes causes allergic reactions in toy breeds and puppies.

Frequency of Rabies Vaccine Varies by Region

Rabies is an incurable and potentially fatal disease that all pet owners should watch out for. Vaccinations must be up to date and follow state or city guidelines, which may vary. Some geographical areas require annual boosters while others allow for a rabies vaccine every three years so look into the local rabies laws and guidelines in your region.