There are a number of vaccines recommended for dogs.
⁃ distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), and parvovirus
⁃ leptospira – spread via the urine of wild animals and is a good idea in our rural community; it can cause reactions but is much safer than it used to be
⁃ rabies
⁃ bordetella as needed – for dogs that frequent grooming or boarding facilities
⁃ Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) – not very common in Missouri but important for dogs that travel to states where it is more prevalent
There is recent discussion that a few vaccines can last more than a year and that they should only be vaccinated every 3 years. There has also been talk about performing yearly vaccine titers to see if a dog even needs to be vaccinated. There is still much controversy over both topics.

Heartworms are common in this part of the country but can easily be prevented. There are various forms of preventative with a monthly chewable being the most common. A monthly topical or a six-month injectable form are also available. Most monthly chewables include intestinal dewormer and can even come with flea prevention. A yearly heartworm test is required to make sure the preventative is working as planned. Heartworm disease is much easier to prevent as it can be an expensive and a potentially dangerous condition to treat.

Fleas and ticks are a common problem in our rural area and can cause significant disease as well as allergies. There are countless products available that include topical liquids, monthly chewables (for fleas only), and even a three month chewable.

Spaying and neutering is important as it helps control pet overpopulation. Approximately 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year in the U.S. because there are not enough homes. The ideal time to have a dog altered is 4-6 months of age. Spaying a female dog before she has her first heat cycle eliminates the chance she will ever get mammary cancer by 99% and completely prevents ovarian cancer. Mammary cancer has a 50/50 chance of being malignant in this species. Female dogs that are spayed at a young age can develop urinary incontinence as they get older but this condition is usually easily controlled with a daily chewable supplement. Castrating a male dog will help keep him from wandering looking for a mate and will usually keep him from marking his environment (like the house). It also helps reduce aggression and prostate enlargement that can cause urinary issues. Castration will of course prevent testicular cancer.