What diseases should your dog be vaccinated against?

April 13, 2012

Regular medical care is a part of a dog’s lifelong maintenance. Vaccinations are one of the necessary medical procedures that will ensure the health of the pet. Vaccinations are the dog’s first line of defense against diseases. A lot of serious disease that have snuffed lives of dogs hundreds of years ago can now be prevented by vaccinations. The goal in administering these vaccines is to ensure protection against most common diseases that the pet will be exposed to.

We love our dogs. These sweet and loyal animals are treated as members of the family. Keeping the dog’s vaccination current is very necessary not only for the sake of the pet. Constant association with a sick dog endangers the health of the family as some of the canine disease can be transmitted to humans. For this reason it is critical to keep the pet’s vaccination updated.

Mother dogs transfer antibodies through the milk to the puppies. These antibodies will protect the puppies for the first few weeks of their lives. The natural protection though would wane as the puppies grow older. During the first few months of life, puppies are most susceptible to disease because of their weak immune system. This is why breeders would take care of the initial vaccinations. Succeeding vaccinations will be undertaken by the new owner. Responsible owners would make sure to schedule a vet visit as soon as the puppy is taken home.

Vaccination is a medical procedure and like any other medical procedure, it comes with some risks. Generally, vaccination will cause pain and swelling. These side effects though are self limiting. Some dogs would have allergic reactions but these occurrences are rare. Dog owners and dog experts though are more concerned with the vaccine’s effects to the immune system of the dog. Diseases of the skin, joints, blood and nervous system can develop if the vaccine stimulates the dog’s immune system to destroy its own tissues. A tumor can also develop in the site where the vaccine was administered. It is therefore vital to balance the benefits against the risk. The pet must not be exposed to needless risks. Vaccinations should only be made depending on the dog’s health status, environment and lifestyle.

The pet owner has to consider what diseases the dog has to be vaccinated against. Vaccines are divided into two groups – the core and the noncore vaccines. Core vaccines are a must for all dogs as these will protect the pet against potentially life threatening diseases. Noncore vaccines are given to dogs exposed to a specific disease due to lifestyle or to the environment. A combined injection called DHLPP is given to protect the dog against canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and canine parainfluenza. Distemper virus causes respiratory distress. Distemper is a highly contagious disease as the virus is spread through eyes and nasal discharge. Infectious hepatitis is caused by the viral agent adenovirus that causes eye damage, liver failure and respiratory problems. Some dog experts do not consider vaccines for leptospirosis as core vaccine as this is not a common disease. Leptospirosis affects the liver and the kidneys. Parvovirus is a very serious disease thus vaccinations are highly recommended especially for puppies. Vaccines for parainfluenza prevent the development of kennel cough and other respiratory diseases. Rabies is a fatal disease and vaccinations are actually mandated by the state.

Non-core vaccines are recommended for dogs with a higher risk of infection because of exposure to the disease. A dog has to have vaccination for Lyme disease if it is living in an area where the disease is prevalent. Pet owners that have to go on vacation and plan to board the pet would have the dog vaccinated against against Bordetellosis, giardiasis and corona virus as this is a common requirement of kennels.

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