Mullumbimby Veterinary Clinic

02 6684 3818

Dog Vaccination


Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet population as a whole. Responsible pet care requires puppies to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult dogs require regular vaccination to maintain immunity against disease.

Puppy  Vaccination
Puppies are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first few months of their lives, however, until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary in a puppy.

Adult Dog Vaccination
The immunity from puppy vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations, as required, will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.

After Vaccination Care
Following vaccination your dog may be off-colour for a day or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact us for advice.

Please give us a call to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet puppy or dog.


Canine Parvovirus
Canine parvovirus is a disease that affects dogs of all ages but is most serious in young pups and older dogs. The virus attacks the intestines causing bloodstained diarrhoea, uncontrollable vomiting and severe abdominal pain. Dogs often die from severe dehydration despite intensive veterinary care.

It is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for the disease to be spread. The virus is so persistent that the infected dog’s environment needs to be cleaned with a potent disinfectant to prevent spread to other dogs. Outbreaks occur regularly throughout Australia, especially in summer.

Canine Distemper
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect dogs of any age with young puppies being at highest risk.

Symptoms vary but can include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits and paralysis usually occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually ineffective and the survival rate very low. Dogs that do recover may have permanent brain damage.

Canine Hepatitis
Canine hepatitis is a viral disease which, like distemper is extremely contagious and often fatal. Dogs of any age can become infected, however severe cases are rare in dogs over two years of age.

Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. In severe cases death can occur within 24 to 36 hours. Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems and can act as carriers spreading the disease to other dogs for many months.

Canine Cough
Canine cough is a condition produced by several highly infectious diseases, which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as parks, shows, obedience schools and boarding kennels. Among the infectious agents associated with canine cough is the bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine viruses parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2 and distemper.

Affected dogs have a dry hacking cough which can persist for several weeks. It is distressing for pet dogs and their owners. It is a major problem for working and sporting dogs. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of infection.

Canine Coronavirus
Canine coronavirus is another contagious virus and causes depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea especially in young dogs. Diarrhoea may last for several days in some cases. Although most dogs will recover with treatment, coronavirus has the potential to be fatal, especially if other infectious agents such as parvovirus are present.

Canine Leptospirosis
Canine leptospirosis is a serious disease risk in some areas and can cause high death rates. It is spread by the urine of rats and is usually transmitted to dogs by contaminated food and water, or by rat bites.

There’s an increased risk where high rat populations exist such as rubbish dumps or green sugar cane cutting areas. Incidence can also increase after long periods of wet weather, when rat populations are forced to move or concentrate. Leptospirosis is an animal disease that can be passed to humans who may then suffer a persisting “flu like” illness.

For those who like a bit more detail, the following is the Mullumbimby Veterinary Clinic's vaccination rationale and protocol:


Mullumbimby Veterinary Clinic (MVC) supports the guidelines of the World Veterinary Vaccine Group (WVVG)


“We should aim to vaccinate every animal, and to vaccinate each individual less frequently where appropriate”


The WVVG recognises that maternally derived antibody (MDA) significantly interferes with the efficacy of most current core vaccines administered to pups and kittens in early life.


As the level of MDA varies significantly between litters, the VVG recommends the administration of three vaccine doses to pups, with the final of these being delivered at 16 weeks of age or above.


CORE VACCINES = Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus vaccines (C3)

NON CORE VACCINES = Parainfluenza Virus, Canine Adenovirus and Bordetella vaccines (BS111) – the Canine or Kennel Cough group


In cultural or financial situations where a pet animal may only be permitted the benefit of a single vaccination, that vaccination should be with CORE VACCINES at 16 weeks of age or above.


The VVG has defined NON-CORE vaccines as those that are required by only those animals whose geographical location, local environment or lifestyle places them at risk of contracting specific infections. PI2 and Bordetella  vaccines fit this group ((Bronchishield 3 (BS111)).  MVC preference is for BS111.


The VVG strongly supports the concept of the ‘‘annual health check’’ in conjunction with  annual revaccination where appropriate. The annual health check may still encompass administration of selected  NON -CORE vaccines which are generally administered annually.


The recommendation of the VGG is for initial vaccination at 8 to 9 weeks of age followed by a second vaccination 3 to 4 weeks later, and a third vaccination given between 14 to 16 weeks of age. By contrast, at present many vaccine data sheets recommend an initial course of two injections. Some products are also licensed with a ‘10 week finish’ designed such that the second of  two vaccinations is given at 10 weeks of age.


The rationale behind this protocol is to permit ‘early socialisation’ of pups. The VVG recognises that this is of great benefit to the behavioural development of dogs. Where such protocols are adopted, some caution should still be maintained by the owner – allowing restricted exposure of the pup to controlled areas and only to other pups that are healthy and fully vaccinated. 


All dogs should receive a first booster 12 months after completion of the primary vaccination course. The VVG redefines the basic immunisation protocol as the ensemble of the pup regime plus this first booster. The 12 month booster will also ensure immunity for dogs that may not have adequately responded to the pup vaccination course. The vaccine used will be Duramune C5 (3 year C3 and BS111 protection)  (a CORE & NON CORE vaccine) .


Following the 12 month booster, subsequent revaccinations are given at intervals of three

years for CORE Vaccines and annually for NON CORE vaccines , unless special conditions apply. Non core vaccines should be given annually eg., the canine cough vaccine BS111.


In Summary:

1st vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks with C3

2nd vaccination 12 weeks with C5 (C3 + BS111)

3rd vaccination – only given if the risk profile deems it necessary eg. Parvo outbreak/endemic area

1st booster at 15 months with C5 (Triennial C3 and BS111).

Annual booster with BS111.

Booster C3 at appropriate intervals (3 yearly).