Do I need to vaccinate my dog?

April 13, 2012

Dog experts would always recommend that the first thing a new dog owner must do is to schedule a visit to a vet. This will ensure that the dog has a clean bill of health. A breeder may guarantee the puppy but of course there will be no guarantee for heartbreak. It will be distressing if you will lose a pet you have already fallen in love with because it is unhealthy. Similar to humans, dogs too are susceptible to various diseases. Regular checkups and vaccinations form the lifelong medical care necessary to maintain the optimum health of the pet.

Dogs would always attract attention… and dog lovers have the tendency to converge. Along with other pet issues, the concern about vaccination will surely crop up. A dog owner would certainly hear about vaccines and vaccination reactions. With all the differing views about vaccination, do you think there is still a need to vaccinate your dog?

A puppy is even more susceptible to diseases during the first few weeks of its life because of the immature immunity system. However, because the puppy has received all the necessary antibodies from the mother’s milk, it is protected from disease bearing bacteria and viruses. This immunity though is temporary. The maternal antibodies will begin to wane when the pup is about 5 or 6 weeks old. This is where the benefits of vaccination will come in. Before the advent of vaccinations many pets succumb to various life threatening infections and diseases. The development of vaccines for diseases has considerably reduced the incidents of deaths resulting from virus attacks. A dog would have less chance of survival when exposed to viruses if the maternal antibodies are already depleted. A dog has to be exposed to viral attack to develop immunity for future attacks. Vaccination introduces weakened virus so that the dog’s immunity system will be stimulated. As the virus is weakened or disabled, instead of getting sick the dog will develop immunity. The dog’s immune system is now armed against possible virus invasion. Vaccines for distemper, parvovirus, rabies, leptospirosis, bordetella, canine influenza have saved a lot of dog lives and a lot of dog owners from heartaches.

With this proven beneficial effect of vaccination, you would be surprised why many dog owners would not support this medical advancement. A lot of dog owners would not submit their pets to vaccination not because of financial concerns. Dog owners would not think twice to spend the last penny if it is for the welfare of the pet. To ensure optimal immunity for the pet, repeated vaccinations will be necessary. However there is an argument about the effects of over vaccination. Yearly vaccination for a disease is way too often so that the risks outweigh the expected benefits. Dog experts are concerned about the side effects of adjuvant, a vaccine additive that is supposed to increase the potency of the vaccine. Prolonged exposure to these compounds can result to cancer and other immunological diseases. Aside from triggering an autoimmune disease, repeated vaccination can strain the immune system of the dog so that its ability to ward off infections and diseases is diminished. Allergic reactions face swelling, fever, nausea and digestive system disorders are other adverse effects of vaccinations.

Should you or should you not vaccinate your Fido? You can’t do anything for vaccinations that are mandated by the state. Yearly rabies vaccinations, for instance is mandated by law. Consider the benefits and the risks of repeated vaccinations. The vet is your dog’s friend as well as yours. It wouldn’t hurt to confer with him/her regarding the need to have the dog vaccinated.

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