Dog owners have a number of important responsibilities that help to ensure that their pet lives a life that is as long, healthy and happy as possible. There are lots of ways in which to do this – feeding them the right balance of nutrients, giving them plenty of exercise and stimulating their minds with games. Another of the most important things that you can do to keep your dog healthy is to get them the necessary vaccinations at the appropriate time.
Vaccines are just as important for pets as for humans. They work by protecting your pet against a certain type of disease that could be very harmful for them. The vaccine itself is an altered and safe version of the virus. Despite being safe, the vaccine still has enough of the virus to prompt your dog’s body into producing antibodies to fight it and these are released into their bloodstream where they will continue to circulate and protect your canine pal against the real disease should they come into contact with it. However, over time, the number of antibodies eventually deteriorate and die, and at this point, protection also diminishes. For this reason, many vaccines must be given annually or on a semi-regular basis to ensure that animals remain adequately protected at all times.
Vaccines tend to be divided into two categories – core and non-core. As their name suggests, core vaccines are those which are recommended for all dogs irrespective of their individual circumstances. This means that it doesn’t matter how old your dog is, where you live or how healthy they are, they are strongly advised to have these vaccines.
Rabies. Rabies is 100% fatal to dogs that contract it as there is no treatment. It is also a legal requirement to have your dog vaccinated against rabies in nearly all states.
Distemper. This disease is caused by an airborne virus and is extremely severe. It can cause many health problems including permanent brain damage.
Parvovirus. This highly contagious disease causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea and is usually fatal if left untreated.
Adenovirus Type 1. This disease is spread via infected urine and feces and can lead to severe liver damage and death.
Adenovirus Type 2. Also known as kennel cough, this disease is spread via coughs and sneezes.
The exact schedule with which your dog will need to have these vaccines will depend on their age. Puppies are given a series of small doses when they are young in order to slowly and safely build their immunity, after which time they will move onto a pre-planned schedule of vaccines. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you precisely when your dog needs to receive their vaccinations and it is essential that you attend these appointments on time to ensure that your furbaby receives the greatest protection from disease.
For more information or advice on dog vaccines, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our veterinary team.