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Dog Vaccination - Everything Your Need to Know

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by Andrew Garcia
Apr 05, 2022
5 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • What Is Dog Vaccination?
  • Why Should You Vaccinate Your Dogs?
  • When Should You Vaccinate Your Dog?
  • Should Dogs Take Booster Vaccines?
  • What Are the Types of Dog Vaccinations?
  • Are Vaccinations Compulsory Under the Law?
  • When Does the Vaccine Stop Being Effective?
  • Do Senior Dogs Require Core Vaccination?
  • What Is Immune Failure?
  • What Should You Know If Your Dog Is Vaccinated Against Rabies?
  • Conclusion
Any pet owner who is serious about their dog’s health must prioritize dog vaccination. It is up there alongside runs through and deworming when it comes to dog health matters. While dogs must be vaccinated on time, you must also observe certain precautions, such as the dog’s age and the vaccination process. This article discusses all you should know about vaccinating your dog.

What Is Dog Vaccination?

Dog vaccination refers to the series of injections a dog takes, from the puppy stage until they become adults. The number of injections depends on the age and lifestyle of the dog. Every injection adds tiny amounts of particles into the dog’s body, which helps to form an immune response that protects the body from microorganisms. Therefore, vaccinated dogs stay immune even when exposed to viruses and bacteria.

Why Should You Vaccinate Your Dogs?

Our living standards have continued to improve. More homes can now afford to buy and keep a pet. We have seen more people adopt more expensive purebred dogs. All of these have improved our awareness of the right way to care for pets. We know more about feeding management, vaccinations, and other to-dos to help our dogs grow strong and healthy.

Dog Vaccination Protects the Dog From Diseases

Dogs are not immune to diseases. In fact, your canine friends are at high risk of flu and smallpox, and a host of infectious diseases. While there are proven treatment methods, it is best to prevent these diseases in advance. Vaccination translates to prevention – it keeps your dogs healthy, even when mixing with other dogs and people.

Dog Vaccination Protects Your Family

Diseases like leptospirosis, rabies, and others are zoonotic. So, in addition to protecting your dog’s health, vaccination also protects you from these dog-related diseases. Vaccination and deworming are even more important for pet owners with kids and the elderly at home.
vaccinate your dog

When Should You Vaccinate Your Dog?

Vaccinating a puppy should commence from 6 to 8 weeks and continue until it is four months old. The vaccination must be administered every three weeks until the final round.
Puppies have natural antibodies in their colostrum from birth. However, these antibodies start receding after 40 days. It is essential not to vaccinate puppies too early, so the maternal antibodies are not destroyed.
Always get the medical records of any puppy, whether bought or adopted. This will help your veterinarian determine the type of vaccinations they have taken and when the next vaccine should be. As determined by your veterinarian, the schedule of vaccination will depend on your dog’s proposed lifestyle and risk of exposure to certain diseases in your area.
The standard interval is two-four weeks until the dog has attained actual immunity. Depending on the dog’s age, this may continue till the dog is 16-20 weeks old. The veterinarian may advise a shorter interval for dogs beyond this age range and with incomplete vaccination roll.
play with puppy

Should Dogs Take Booster Vaccines?

Understanding how dog vaccination works will enable us to answer this question correctly. Dogs’ vaccinations follow the principle of the immune effect. The vaccine adds weak toxicity that prompts the dog’s body to create enough antibodies to protect the dog against viral infection. However, the resistance – the amount of antibodies – tends to drop over time. The dog may be exposed to viral infections once the resistance is lower than the safe value. This is where the booster immunizations come in. A booster vaccine helps beef up immunity and should be given to the dog every year.

What Are the Types of Dog Vaccinations?

There are two primary types of dog vaccinations –non-core vaccination and core vaccination.

Core Vaccination

The core vaccination is compulsory for all dogs, irrespective of the situation. The dog’s system needs this vaccination to be protected from serious, deadly diseases. Examples of core vaccinations are Canine Parvovirus, Canine Adenovirus-1 and 2, Canine Distemper Virus, and Rabies Virus.

Non-core Vaccination

Unlike compulsory vaccination, the non-core vaccination is selectively administered. Chances of a dog getting a non-core immunization depends on the lifestyle, risk of infection, and local environment. Examples include Lyme disease vaccination, Canine Bordetella, Leptospira interrogans, Canine Leptospira, and Canine Parainfluenza Virus.

Are Vaccinations Compulsory Under the Law?

Except for the rabies vaccine, vaccinations are not required by law. The legal requirement regarding rabies is that it is a zoonotic disease for humans. If dogs are not vaccinated against rabies, they may infect and harm humans. In some states, both dogs and cats are required to vaccinate, while in others, only the cats are required. Either way, the right thing to do is to vaccinate cats and dogs for rabies. Pets come in contact with rabies from various sources. For example, some Californian bats are capable of transmitting rabies to cats and dogs. Mammals are also carriers of rabies and may infect pets.

When Does the Vaccine Stop Being Effective?

If you wonder how long a vaccination remains effective, we have answers. The Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza (DHPP) vaccine is effective for 1-3 years, subject to the dog’s lifestyle. The rabies vaccination is effective for 3 years. The Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, and Lyme Disease vaccinations remain effective for a year. The Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine is effective for 6 months.

Do Senior Dogs Require Core Vaccination?

Yes, senior dogs should get core vaccinations, except their history suggests otherwise. Having that immunity in them, especially for older dogs, is always a good decision if their body tolerates it. The vaccine helps them stay immune against diseases and the pet owner.

What Is Immune Failure?

When dogs are infected despite being vaccinated, we say they have an immune failure. There is a strong link between the success of immunization and other factors.

Low Level of Antibodies

The dog can only block off the virus effectively if its body can produce sufficient antibodies. The antibodies are expected to be at the highest level a month after the dog has completed their injections. That means the antibody available may be insufficient pending the completion of the injections, and in this case, the dog may be infected by a virus.

Pre-vaccination Infection

It is not strange to see dogs getting infected before vaccination. The early symptoms include fever, diarrhea, cough, and cold, although these symptoms are often associated with the disease’s incubation period. Even when the dog’s body produces antibodies, it is only effective against the virus present in the blood. If the virus has already entered the cell, the vaccine will not be effective. So, getting infected pre-vaccination may render the vaccine ineffective.

Wrong Timing or Injection Method

If the vaccination is too late or early – especially if it has not improved immunity for more than a year – there may be a chance of infection. Contrary to popular views, the vaccine should not go into the buttocks because this part of the body has a rapid decline of antibodies, low antibody titers post-injection, less immune active cells, and higher levels of fatty tissues.

Sick Dog or Changing Environment

Sickness naturally limits the value of antibodies in dogs. That is why dogs localized in epidemic areas, for example, pets fostered in pet hospitals, are more exposed to the risk of infections.

What Should You Know If Your Dog Is Vaccinated Against Rabies?

Take note of these important things if you want to vaccinate your dog;
rabies vaccination

Avoid Bathing Your Dog for a Week

Rabies vaccination requires you not to bathe your dogs within a week of administration. This is because the injection site is yet to heal fully. Likewise, the relatively weak immune system during this period means the dog is more prone to colds.

Proper and Timely Nutrition Remains Crucial

The vaccinated dog has a relatively weak immune system post-vaccination. Therefore, it is vital to provide them with supplementary nutrition in foods that are rich in nutrients. You can give your dogs bone broth, nutritional cream, and food containing probiotics. These foods facilitate quick recovery and help boost immunity.

Do Not Change the Dog’s Food Plan

You are expected to maintain the same food plan for your dog after its vaccination. This is due to the fragile nature of the dog’s stomach post-vaccination. Giving them new types of food may affect their stomach aversely. So, stick to their diet plan irrespective of the kind of reaction your dog develops after vaccination.

Conclusion

Vaccines are designed to prevent dogs’ most common infectious diseases, especially zoonotic diseases and those with high mortality and morbidity. So, prompt vaccinations are crucial to keep the dogs and their families healthy. It is best to consult your veterinarian for vaccination recommendations and administration. You can also visit your animal hospital.
Please do not wait until your dog is down with an infection before working on their vaccination.
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