top of page
  • Writer's pictureVillage Veterinary Clinic

Dog Diseases You Can Combat with Vaccinations

Vaccinations are an affordable and accessible method of disease prevention for your dog. Our veterinarians at Village Veterinary Clinic in Burke shed light below on some of the diseases that vaccinations can prevent.


Many states legally require that your dog have a current rabies vaccine. In Virginia, all dogs must receive a rabies vaccination before or at the age of 4 months because rabies can be transmitted to humans. There is no cure for rabies in dogs or people, and rabies has a nearly 90 percent fatality rate.

Canine Distemper

Before the 1950s, canine distemper was one of the leading causes of death in dogs. This severe virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of puppies and dogs. Wildlife in our area, such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and skunks, can also be carriers of the virus. Puppies and dogs can become infected through sneezing, coughing, and sharing food, water bowls, and equipment. Mother dogs can pass the virus through the placenta to their puppies, and infected dogs can shed the virus for weeks and months. There is no cure for this disease, but it can be prevented through regular vaccination.


Canine parvovirus, or parvo, is a highly contagious disease that causes severe gastrointestinal problems. It spreads from dog to dog through direct contact, via contact with contaminated feces, an infected environment (i.e., kennels, water and food bowls, leashes, etc.), or from the clothing or hands of individuals who have handled infected dogs. The virus can survive for prolonged periods of time in the environment and is very easily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated objects. It is especially deadly to puppies but can kill adult dogs. There is no cure for this disease.

Canine Influenza

Also known as dog flu, this is a relatively new disease from the last 20 years that can also affect cats. There are two known strains, derived from the horse flu and bird flu. These strains of dog flu are not transmissible to humans. It spreads amongst dogs primarily through coughing and sneezing or contact with contaminated surfaces. Dogs may be asymptomatic, or those with more severe infections may develop pneumonia, which can be fatal. The percentage of deaths from canine influenza is low. There is no cure for canine influenza. If your pet frequents dog parks, boarding facilities, and the like, vaccinating for canine influenza may be recommended.

Lyme Disease

Due to the prevalence of ticks in the Northern Virginia area, vaccinating for Lyme disease is encouraged. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that is transmitted to dogs, humans, and other animals via certain species of ticks through a tick bite. The bacteria enter the bloodstream and can migrate to various parts of the body, causing problems in specific organs or joints or causing generalized illness. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, decreased appetite and/or energy, lameness, stiffness or pain, and swelling of the joints. More severe illnesses can progress to kidney failure and cardiac and neurological problems.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a bacterial infection that is easily transmissible from dog to dog. The bacterial particles produce inflammation of the larynx and trachea and typically cause a forceful, dry, or “honking” type of cough. Some dogs may also develop sneezing or a runny nose and/or eyes. Kennel cough vaccination is very effective in preventing disease. Our veterinarians at Village Veterinary Clinic recommend this vaccine for all dogs, and particularly if your dog visits grooming and boarding establishments, dog parks, and other areas frequented by dogs.

Get Your Dog Vaccinated in Burke, VA

If you live in the Burke area and have questions about the benefits of vaccinating your dog, contact one of our veterinarians at Village Veterinary Clinic. Call our team today at 703-978-8655 or use our appointment request form to reach us through our website.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page