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Dandenong Ranges Veterinary Centre

Vaccinations - Dogs


All dogs need regular vaccinations to reduce the risk of infectious diseases. Call us or come into the surgery to talk about your dog’s needs.

There are several different types of vaccinations required for dogs. These vaccinations are often grouped and described as a C3, C5 and C2i vaccination.

C3 Vaccination:

This is known as the core vaccine, which covers against three potentially deadly viruses:

1. Canine Infectious Hepatitis
This is a serious viral infection which can be carried by wild and domestic dogs and foxes. Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhoea, nasal discharge, cloudy eyes, fever, coughing and signs of hepatitis such as jaundice. This infection can be fatal especially in young dogs.

2. Canine Distemper Virus
This is a relative of the human measles virus. This virus can be carried by domestic dogs as well as wild foxes, dogs, ferrets and other animals. Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhoea, pneumonia, neurological signs including twitching, jaw champing and seizures. It is frequently fatal, particularly in young dogs.

3. Canine Parvovirus
Parvovirus can cause very severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea, which can be fatal even with intensive care. Parvovirus can be carried by wild and domestic dogs, and importantly, the virus can survive in a suitable environment (for example in moist soil) for up to 7 years. It is highly contagious and may even be spread on clothing – it does not require direct contact with an infected dog.

C5 Vaccination:

The C5 vaccination is a C3 vaccination combined with two additional vaccines which are collectively known as “Kennel Cough” or “Canine Cough”:

4. Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria)
5. Canine parainfluenza virus

Kennel cough is a very common and very contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract, which can cause coughing, retching and gagging. It is not only associated with boarding kennels – it can be spread anywhere where there are a number of dogs socialising together, such as the dog park or groomer. It can also be spread through the air or on clothes/objects, so direct contact between dogs is not necessary to transmit infection. Vaccination is not 100% protective against Kennel Cough (a little similar to the flu vaccine in people), however vaccinated dogs tend to have a milder or shorter course of illness than un-vaccinated dogs.

C2i Vaccination:

The C2i vaccination is an additional vaccine that is often recommended in semi-rural areas, covering two pathogens:

1. Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a potentially fatal bacterial infection, which can be spread by rodents as well as native antechinus species, and may infect dogs, cats, pigs, horses, cows and even people. It can also be spread through water, food or soil contaminated with infected urine. If you have chickens at home this may increase the risk of leptospirosis, as rodents are often attracted to chicken feed. Symptoms can be variable, including fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, liver or kidney disease, eye problems, painful muscles, shock and dehydration. There are several strains of leptospirosis, with different distributions around Australia. This vaccine covers the most common strain of leptospirosis found in southern Australia, however if your pet is traveling to northern Australia additional vaccines may be recommended.

2. Canine Coronavirus
Coronavirus can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. It may be spread by foxes as well as wild and domestic dogs. Young dogs are more commonly affected, and more serious illness or death is possible when dogs are also infected with parvovirus.

At Dandenong Ranges Vet Centre we recommend the following schedule of vaccinations:


  • 6-8 weeks C3 vaccination +/- C2i vaccination
  • 10-12 weeks C5 and C2i vaccination
  • >16 weeks of age C5 and C2i vaccination

Puppies are not fully protected until 1-2 weeks after the final vaccination. For this reason, we recommend to avoid taking your pup to public places such as dog parks or areas where there may have been unvaccinated dogs (as parvovirus can survive in the soil a long time) until 2 weeks after the final vaccination. However, your pup can safely attend puppy preschool classes after the first puppy vaccination, and socialising with healthy vaccinated dogs such as a play-date at your house or a friend’s house is usually quite safe after the second vaccination.

Adult dogs
Annual C5 +/- C2i vaccination

For some dogs a reduced frequency of C3 vaccination may be appropriate as they get older, depending on the level of risk and the individual’s immune status. Your vet can discuss this with you further.

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