Dog Vaccines

The importance of dog vaccinations

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Canine vaccines and diseases have become a hot-button issue among dog lovers, with arguments raging over whether vaccinations should be given annually or not at all. With every passing day, there's a new article in a pet publication or another post on a blog blaming a dog's health problem on vaccinations. It is true that some dogs and puppies have allergic reactions to dog shots, but this is a very rare occurrence. The chances of your dog developing a problem from a vaccination are minimal, but the chances of it dying from a highly contagious illness if not vaccinated are high.

How Canine Vaccinations Work

Vaccines work for dogs in the same way that they work for people. When puppies are born, they receive some disease-fighting antibodies from their mother's colostrum, but mother dogs can't pass on their immunity to diseases like rabies, distemper or parvovirus. Therefore, vaccines are required to give the puppies protection from these illnesses.

To vaccinate your pet, the veterinarian injects a very tiny bit of the specific illness into your dog or puppy. This is usually a dead form, but in the case of the rabies vaccine, both dead and live forms are available. From this harmless form, the dog's immune system learns to recognize and defend itself against the particular disease. Whenever the dog is exposed to the disease, its body produces the right antibodies to shield the dog from harm.

Dogs and puppies need to be in good health before they get their vaccinations; otherwise, they may be too weak to manage even the tiny amount of the particular illness injected into their bodies. If the dog already has the disease, then it's too late to give it a vaccine. In that case, it would do more harm than good.

Recommended Puppy Vaccines

Puppies in good health need their first canine vaccines given in multiple doses, so their tiny bodies can handle them. The following puppy vaccination schedule is recommended, as long as your vet agrees that your puppy is healthy enough for the shots:

  • 6 to 8 weeks: parvovirus, leptospirosis and DHP (distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza)
  • 9 to 12 weeks: boosters for all of the above
  • 13 to 15 weeks: boosters for all of the above and a rabies shot

Ask your vet if Lyme disease is a concern in your area. If the answer is yes, then add a Lyme disease vaccination to the boosters. Some boarding kennels may also require your pup to get vaccinated for nasal Bordetella.

Recommended Dog Boosters

Your dog only needs a rabies booster every two years, depending on your local laws. Parvo and DHP boosters will be required annually for the rest of your dog's life or for as long as your vet recommends. If you plan to show your dog, certain shows may require additional boosters, as well.

By Rena Sherwood

Posted by julie landmichael on November 19,2011 at 11:59 AM
do it yourself i do ,, a 3 years rabies shot is all they need every yar is to much for the cats once they are at least 3 months for rabies is enough for life for the other shot kitten have 3 shotsbut make sure they are not sick when you give the first shotthen if i remember 6 weeks later then 6 weeks again for the last shot distemper, well i usualy give one how take care of 7 sickness and no more the one for dog bordatella you spray it in the nose ,still check withother peoples but i had 300 cats and they first thinks i used to do spay/ neuter and shots .dworms with drontal and wash them and clean ers ,dont live ars mites,,is a little expensif but much cheaper then go to vet in mo, is also clinic how ae spay/and neuter for cheaper, i used to live in fla orlando, and now in th is barbaric town of dresden tenn,, were vet are more expensif then laguna beach,, and they are bad here ,,used revolutions,,, for ears i rely like the product
Posted by Brook on August 18,2011 at 01:46 AM
Any vaccine that's expired will not protect your puppy. Like all vaccines they use a weakened part of the live virus for the vaccine and the body easily fights it off. Once expired or if the vaccine became warm at all (even on the transport home) it completely kills the virus off so the body does not even detect it. If it's not detected then the body won't make antibodies. Get some new ones and just be sure not to let them get warm.
Posted by kelly turcotte on June 06,2010 at 01:46 PM
I have some dog vaccines that experied in 2007. What would happen if I admisistered these vaccinnes. There is parvo, distemper... and rabies. I live in the far north and do not get regular vet v isits and these vaccinnes would be greatly put to use if somewhat safe. Thanks
Posted by Tricia on March 21,2010 at 03:28 PM
I need help. I need to find a vet that makes house calls. That I can hopefully afford. We tried visiting the clinic just now & there was a doggie rumble about to begin. My doggie was saying no rumbling w/o me. Then decided to try to get involved. We got out before this happened & I don't know what happened after we left... I don't want to know actually. I was scared! Can you help? PLEASE? Tricia
Posted by Amy Weaver on February 27,2010 at 01:31 PM
My family and I are new to the Springfield area and I am having trouble finding a vet to give my animals their shots without putting us in the poor house. As you well know moving is expensive and money is tight right now but I do not want my animals to go with out their yearly shots. My husky has had a 3 year rabies and is due for a check up and my two cats need their yearly shots and rabies. Can you help me narrow the search so I can provide these nessasary shots to my animals with out having to take a loan out?? I am in Springfield Mo. Thank you so much.
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