What are vaccines?
Vaccines contain viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing organisms that have been killed or altered so that they can no longer cause disease. When given to an animal, vaccines will stimulate the body's immune system to form disease fighting cells and proteins (known as antibodies) to protect against the disease. Although the protection afforded by vaccines can be reduced by poor health and poor nutrition, most vaccinated animals will be resistant to the disease for which they are vaccinated.
Vaccinations are probably the single most important part of your dog's health care. Nothing is more tragic than a wonderful, loyal pet coming down with a deadly disease that was preventable if the guardian had only kept the pet current on vaccinations.
Most veterinarians agree that all dogs and cats should be vaccinated against those diseases that are widespread, cause serious illness, and/or are highly contagious (core vaccines). In addition, other vaccines may be recommended based on the risk they pose to individual cats or dogs (non-core vaccines).
What vaccinations should be given to puppies and dogs?
2. Canine Hepatitis: A highly contagious viral disease affecting the liver and other organs. It is spread only among domestic dogs and wild dogs and is not related to human hepatitis. Symptoms range widely, from mild to severe, and include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, light-colored stool, and stomach enlargement.
3. Parvovirus: Characterized by severe, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, high fever and lethargy. The diarrhea is particularly foul smelling and is sometimes yellow in color. Parvo virus causes serious dehydration from profuse vomiting and bloody diarrhea often resulting in death even with intravenous support. Severe destruction of white blood cells severely compromises the dogs immune system. Some breeds are more sensitive to the disease (Doberman and Rottweiler). The mortality can be as high as 25% in puppies and older dogs. Parvo can also attack a dog's heart causing congestive heart failure. This complication can occur months or years after an apparent recovery from the intestinal form of the disease
4. Corona virus: causes minor diarrhea in puppies that can add to the severity of a concurrent infection with parvovirus. The virus alone is not fatal or serious.
5. Parainfluenza: Can be caused by many bacterial or viral agents. It is highly contagious and can cause mild to severe inflammation of the trachea, bronchi, and the lungs. It is characterized by a non-productive cough, occasionally productive. It is usually considered to be self-limiting unless pneumonia develops from a secondary bacterial infection.
6. Leptospirosis: causes serious disease in the kidneys and liver of dogs. Dogs become infected by the bacteria when abraded skin comes into contact with the urine of an infected host. The organisms quickly spread through the bloodstream leading to fever, joint pain, and general malaise which can last up to a week. The organism settles in the kidneys and begins to reproduce, leading to further inflammation and then kidney failure. Depending on the type of leptospire involved, other organ failure (especially liver) can be expected as well. Leptospirosis is a life-threatening disease. It is communicable to human being.
7. Kennel cough viruses: these virus are highly infectious and cause disease in the major bronchi and trachea resulting in a loud, dry, nonproductive cough. Although, this is a very annoying disease and should be treated it rarely is fatal unless develop into pneumonia.
Many of the vaccines can be combined into one injection depending on the manufacture. Vaccines should never be administered to an unhealthy or sick animal. Their immune system may not be capable of responding effectively to produce protective antibody levels. Schedules usually recommended by manufacturers start injections at eight weeks of age and repeat every 3 weeks until sixteen-eighteen weeks of age. Between four and five months an initial rabies vaccine is given.
Vaccination Schedule for Puppies and Adult Dogs