Vaccination of dogs

Is vaccination really necessary? Lots of dogs become old without any vaccinations right? And they never got infected by a contagious disease. This is true, but it all has to do with luck! About 55% of the dog owners go to the vet yearly to get their dog vaccinated. The other 45% of the dog population ‘float along’ on this protection. If the 55% that does vaccinate their dog stop this all at once, then we’ll see a lot of extra diseases all of a sudden. It’s a risk to your dog’s health if you don’t vaccinate and you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to take this risk. Especially in a city like Amsterdam, that has a lot of ‘import dogs’ and a lot of people who don’t take vaccination very seriously.

Yearly, a group of virologists all over the world (WSAVA) give some advice about the vaccines that are necessary to give (just as with humans). They have decided that it’s wise to vaccinate the big cocktail once every 3 years and the small cocktail yearly. If you want to take your dog abroad, he needs a Rabies vaccination as well (this is required). You can also titertest to further limit the number of vaccinations against DHP(Parvo, Canine Distemper, Hepatitis). It is also possible to titer test for even better customization, for more information visit our article about Titer testing.

  • Once every 3 years Big Cocktail: Parvo, Canine Distemper, HCC, Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough
  • Once a year Small Cocktail: Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough
  • Once every 3 years Rabies


Parvo is caused by a parvo virus. It’s a highly contagious disease which, especially in pups often leads to death. Older dogs can also get really sick of this virus. It causes vomiting and bloody diarrhea and because of shortage of white blood cells, other diseases can easily cause problems as well. The virus can live in the environment very long and infect a lot of other dogs.

Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus. It spreads through air and contagious areas. The virus is very contagious and most of the times even deathly. The disease starts with just some symptoms of a cold. Then it changes into vomiting, diarrhea and brain symptoms. Dogs that survive this disease often have permanent damage of the nervous system.

HCC or Liver disease

The symptoms of HCC or Liver disease are very similar to the symptoms of Canine Distemper. The virus affects the liver the most (as the name suggests), but also the kidneys, brain, eyes and other organs. Puppies can die within a few hours after they get in contact with this virus, but also older dogs can become really sick. Infected dogs can spread this virus for months and infect a lot of other dogs.


Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria. Infected animals spread this through urine and it can survive very long in still water. People can also get Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis causes infection of the kidneys and liver with high fevers, vomiting, bloody diarrhea/urine and sometimes even meningitis.

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough is caused by the Parainfluenza virus and the Bordetella bacteria. Especially young dogs or older dogs with low resistance get sick. The symptoms are similar to the symptoms we see with Whooping Cough in humans. It gives a long term and exhausting cough, which sometimes ends in vomiting. To get infected, there has to be direct contact between dogs. Because there are a lot of dogs on a small surface in Amsterdam, our advice is to give this vaccination yearly.


Rabies is caused by a lyssavirus. Luckily we don’t see this in the Netherlands. Some bats are infected, but this variant is mostly not dangerous for people. However, when you want to go abroad and take your dog with you, then this vaccination is required. For most European countries, the vaccine has to be given at least 3 weeks before departure.

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