Dog Owner Information

Click on the links below to learn about a few of the commonly diagnosed conditions in our canine patients, or visit our Veterinary Library for a more extensive list.

  • Cruciate Ligament Injury
  • Cushing's Disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Pancreatitis

If you have any questions, or think your dog may be affected by one or more of these conditions please schedule an appointment for a physical examination and other diagnostic tests by calling  (516) 379-6200 today.

Update on Canine Vaccinations

Our pet’s health is extremely important to us. As a result, we try to do everything possible to ensure that they do not get sick. One of the most effective ways to prevent infectious diseases is to vaccinate our dogs on a regular basis. This is why vaccinations are probably the single most important part of your dog's healthcare. Many devastating diseases are now almost completely preventable with the use of an appropriate vaccination protocol. When given properly, vaccines will protect your dog from serious, even fatal diseases.

We vaccinate against


Bordetella is a causative bacteria for kennel cough, an upper respiratory disease of dogs causing a severe hacking cough. Kennel cough almost never resolves without treatment, and left untreated, will often lead to pneumonia. The available vaccine for kennel cough is known to be very short lived. Most kennels or grooming facilities will allow admission with proof of yearly vaccination, however, we recommend boostering every 6 months if your dog is frequently in contact with other dogs (kenneling, show, dog walks,grooming, etc.


Coronavirus attacks the intestinal cells, causing moderate to severe diarrhea, sometimes bloody. Fatality is rare. Young, un-vaccinated dogs or dogs that have access to other dog's feces are most at risk. This virus usually does not cause clinical disease in adult dogs.

Distemper/Parvo Combination

This vaccine covers diseases like Distemper Virus, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and Parainfluenza in a single injection. Distemper is a virus that affects the respiratory and central nervous systems and also the gastrointestinal tract. This disease is easily transmitted and often fatal despite treatment. Parvovirus attacks intestinal cells causing severe, bloody diarrhea, anorexia, and often death. Adenovirus Type 2 (sometimes referred to as Hepatitis) causes liver and kidney damage, along with respiratory signs and animals that survive may have chronic illness. Parainfluenza is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Dogs usually contract this disease through contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs.


Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacteria. After infecting the patient, leptospira attacks the liver or kidneys or both. Leptospirosis is a serious disease, causing death in greater than 50% of patients presented with clinical symptoms. This disease is transmitted via the urine of many species of animals, including dogs, humans, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. The disease tends to persist in warm/moist environments, making it especially prevalent near lakes, marshes, and puddles. As a general rule, vaccines for bacterial diseases offer much shorter lived protection, making yearly leptospirosis boostering necessary in susceptible dogs.


Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial organism that is transmitted from the bite of the deer tick, leading to fever, joint and muscle pain, and kidney failure if left untreated. Good flea and tick prevention is a critical factor in the prevention of this disease. If your dog is at high risk, we may recommend vaccination against Lyme Disease.


Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the brain causing severe dementia, aggression, and death once the patient shows clinical symptoms. Furthermore, no known treatment exists for rabies once the patient is showing clinical symptoms. Rabies is most commonly transmitted via bite wound from an infected animal. Since humans can contract the disease if bitten by an infected animal, rabies has been deemed a public health hazard. Vaccination for rabies is a New York State law for dogs and cats, as well as ferrets.

Recommended Puppy Vaccination Schedule

6-8 weeks old

Physical examination, Distemper/Parvovirus combination vaccine, Coronavirus vaccine, Bordatella vaccine, Giardia snap test, fecal flotation, and initial deworming.

10 weeks old

Physical examination, Distemper/Parvovirus booster, Coronavirus booster, Bordetella booster, deworming, and start heartworm prevention.

12 weeks old

Physical examination, Distemper/Parvovirus booster, Leptospirosis vaccine #1, Lyme Disease vaccine #1 (if at risk), Bordetella booster, and fecal flotation.

16 weeks old*

Physical examination, Distemper/Parvovirus booster, Leptospirosis booster, Lyme Disease booster (if at risk), Bordetella booster, and a Rabies vaccine.

*If this is the first time the puppy is receiving its Distemper/Parvovirus combination, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, or Lyme vaccines, the puppy will need to have these boostered in 2-3 weeks.

Recommended Adult Dog Vaccination

We recommend spaying and neutering your pet to minimize the risk of your pet developing mammary tumors, uterine infections, prostate disease, or testicular cancer. It can also decrease aggressive behaviors and prevent roaming. This procedure is usually performed between 6 and 9 months of age.

We also recommend year-round use of monthly heartworm and flea & tick preventative medications.

Adult Dogs (over 1 year old) should have a physical examination and the following vaccinations yearly:

  • Distemper/Parvovirus combination*
  • Rabies Leptospirosis
  • Bordatella (this should be done every 6 months for dogs that frequently are boarded, groomed, shown, or have any other type of frequent contact with other dogs.)
  • Lyme Disease (if at risk)
  • Fecal flotation
  • Heartworm test (this is a combination test that will check for heartworm disease, and 3 tick-borne disease - Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis.)

*Adult dogs over 5-7 years old may have a Distemper/Parvovirus titer performed instead of the vaccination if certain criteria are met.

Naturally, since all dogs are different, the standard vaccination schedule will be modified for each individual dog and your pet's level of exposure to disease.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding necessary tests or vaccinations for your dog please call the Merrick Veterinary Group at (516) 379-6200 to schedule an appointment for an examination and consultation.


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