Dog care

Dog Vaccinations 101

For all the joy dogs bring, taking care of our dogs isn’t the easiest. Because besides things like housebreaking and potty training, you will also have to get your pet vaccinated since it is one of the best ways to make sure your pup stays healthy and fit.

Vaccinations are great tools for preventing dangerous illnesses that can prove fatal to the life of your pet. Dogs duly vaccinated have a more robust immune system. This helps them stand strong against health complications common to their kind. On top of that, dogs not vaccinated are more susceptible to such illnesses as distemper, parvovirus, rabies and canine hepatitis. Which can leave a lasting effect on your doggy’s health?

Currently, most state laws have clauses that require that all dogs are vaccinated for rabies, mostly because of the welfare of their owners and the people who might come in contact with them.

So if you don’t want to get sick or have your pup get sick, you should know which vaccines are most beneficial for your pet and have a basic idea of other allied subjects like foundational administration techniques, schedules and more. So in this short read, knowledge on all of these topics and more will be shared. Enjoy!

Dog Vaccines: What are they?

Vaccines are chemical substances that are fashioned to lift the dog’s illness-combative strength and response of the pups immune system. Dog vaccinations essentially serve as “soldiers” so to speak, who fortify the immune system of your pet, making it ready and able to defend itself against organisms that cause diseases.

Vaccines are composed primarily of Antigens. Which challenge and train the immune system of your dog to recognize the organisms that cause illnesses and defend itself against them.

Vaccines vary in their makeup and are not all beneficial for your pawed friend. The vaccine type and volume administered will greatly depend on the age of your pet, their size, lifestyle, living environment and their medical history.

In the pool of vaccines developed and being modified there are some that are non-negotiable for almost every healthy pet. And then some that are optional.

Core Dog Vaccinations

These vaccines are considered to be vital. And are determined on the basis of the risk of exposure to the disease the vaccination is for, the risk of transmission of the illness to both dogs and man, and finally, how severe the disease’s effects are. Some of the core vaccines include those for the following ailments:

  • Rabies
  • Canine Distemper
  • Leptospirosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Canine Parvovirus

Optional Dog Vaccines

Among the vaccines that are not crucial but can get recommended by the vet are ones that are important to be administered to dogs that live in certain places or whose owners take them on trips to exotic places. These vaccines guard your pet against diseases that are less widespread but can still be dangerous to the health of your pet. These vaccines also help ward off illnesses that though not fatal, are severe enough that you don’t want your pup to catch them, among which are a kennel cough, canine influenza, Lyme disease and Leptospirosis which is responsible for the dysfunction of your dog’s liver.

The following are some of the non-core vaccines listed by trusted veterinarians:

  • Lyme vaccine
  • Parainfluenza
  • Bordetella and
  • Canine Influenza (dog flu)

Dog Vaccinations: How Soon Should They Be Administered and How Often?

Besides rabies, other vaccinations for pets do not have any really strict protocols required that veterinarians follow in order to determine which vaccine to give to their canine patients. Another reality as regards the administration of vaccines is that there are no standard times or frequency with which they are to be given to pets. It is also worthy of note that the degree and duration of immunity availed by vaccines can vary from one manufacturer to another as well as depend on the dog, its breed, and their general health.

Most canine health specialists agree that dogs ought to be exposed to quality vaccinations when they are puppies in order to ensure that their immunity is boosted. After the original series of shots when they are a year old, it is recommended by the AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines that doses of the distemper, adenovirus, and parvovirus core vaccines are given to your pet every three years. This is because the protection vaccines provide lasts much longer now than it used to before. Experts have it that dogs who were vaccinated at infancy can retain useful immunity that will last them for a lifetime or at worse 5 to 7 years. This discovery is responsible for the lower frequency of vaccinations.

Vaccination Schedule

Provided all the puppy vaccines have been duly administered, once your puppy reaches adulthood, your veterinarian can begin implementing an adult dog vaccination schedule. This schedule for adult dogs is made up of periodic boosters which are essentially a mash-up of the same type of vaccines given to puppies along with a number of relevant supplements.

Here what the AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines show when it comes to how long each vaccination lasts for adult dogs:

  • DHPP: 3 years
  • Rabies: 3 years
  • Leptospirosis: 1 year
  • Canine Influenza: 1 year
  • Lyme Disease: 1 year
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough): 6 months

Dog Vaccinations: Likely Side Effects and Risks

Without a doubt, the benefits of a thoroughly organized vaccination schedule overwhelmingly surpass any risk that vaccinating your dog has. That said, it is, however, important to state likely side-effects that vaccination might have. On record, there have been sparse occurrences of adverse reactions to vaccines in dogs, but as it is with virtually every known medication, some side effects may be observed as a result of the vaccinations. A recommendation would be to vaccinate your pooches at a time when you can monitor them for any possible reactions.

Some of the symptoms your pet may experience as a result of the vaccination, if at all, includes:

  • Sluggishness
  • Pain or swelling around the injection site
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Facial or paw swelling and/or hives
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse, difficulty breathing, and seizures (anaphylactic shock)

It is okay to ignore any mild symptoms that come up after the vaccination has been administered. The reactions listed above will most likely be very subtle and ephemeral. Nonetheless, in a case where you suspect that your pet is reacting the medications more severely by exhibiting symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, facial swelling or bleeding, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

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