Vaccines are essential for keeping dogs healthy and free from diseases such as distemper and rabies. They also prevent them from spreading contagious diseases to other pets and humans. Newborn puppies have weak immune systems, but antibodies in their mothers’ milk provide them with a measure of immunity against diseases.
As a dog owner, you may be presented with a mind-boggling array of vaccines. However, not all vaccines are necessary, but several core vaccines are strongly recommended for your dog’s overall health. Core vaccines for dogs include those for rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper, and canine hepatitis. There are also non-core vaccines against Leptospira bacteria, Coronavirus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi, and the canine influenza viruses, which may be given depending on the dog’s risk of exposure. Therefore, you need to consult with your vet concerning your dog’s lifestyle, including its interactions.
Before administering vaccines, your dog’s age should be taken into consideration. Puppies usually have a course of three vaccinations administered four weeks apart. Dogs above the age of one year undergo the adult vaccination program.
Vaccines are injected into the nape of the dog’s neck. Even so, the procedure is hardly painful and won’t cause your dog any discomfort. But in some rare cases, your dog may experience adverse reactions to a vaccine such as loss of appetite, sluggishness, or even a fever. Such reactions are usually short-term and your dog will recover quite quickly.
However, if the adverse reactions persist for over 24 hours, there may be a cause for alarm and you should consult your veterinarian. The possibility that your dog may experience adverse reactions should not discourage you because the benefits of vaccines far outweigh their risks of unintended consequences.
Vaccine booster shots
Most dogs receive their first vaccinations between the ages of five and six weeks. However, vaccines may not work as long as the mother’s antibodies are still in the dog’s system. Therefore, the dog may need additional booster shots. Adult vaccines were usually administered every year, but some vets now recommend vaccines every three years.
If you’re concerned about routine vaccinations, you have the option of doing titer tests to find out whether or not your dog needs a booster for a particular vaccine. Thankfully, there are online platforms, such as Vetsend, from which you can get accurate information and free advice concerning the titer antibody tests from in-house veterinarians.
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