Vaccinations are typically administered by the veterinarian, during a wellness exam. They are the BEST way to protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases that can be prevented. Certain vaccine protocols may be recommended depending on your dog’s lifestyle. For dog’s with previous reactions to vaccines, precautionary pre-treatments to prevent a reaction are offered. Another option is antibody titer checks against our common viruses for those of who would prefer to avoid vaccination as much as possible.
The following vaccines (DAPP and Rabies) are considered ‘core’ vaccines and are always recommended to be kept up to date because infection with these viruses is often fatal. Many of these viruses are considered ubiquitous in the environment – this means that every dog will likely come in contact with these viruses at some point in their life. Luckily, vaccination is very effective in preventing these diseases from developing if your pet should be exposed.
1) DAPP – Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza – combination 4-way vaccine
Distemper is a viral disease that attacks the respiratory system and nervous system, among others (eyes, foot pads, teeth etc), and is very often fatal, or causes life-long problems.
Adenovirus – There are two types of this virus- type 1 can cause a life-threatening hepatitis (liver disease) and hemorrhagic diarrhea. Type 2 can cause ocular and respiratory disease.
Parvovirus is a virus that attacks rapidly growing cells, resulting in life-threatening vomiting, diarrhea and bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream) that can cause multiorgan failure. An infection with parvovirus is usually fatal unless treated aggressively, and even then, many will still succumb to the disease.
Parainfluenza – this virus can cause respiratory disease, and is often a component of canine kennel cough.
2) Rabies Vaccine – Rabies is a viral disease that is always fatal. It attacks the central nervous system and poses a dangerous public health risk, as this virus is also fatal to humans. Keeping this vaccine up to date is very important – if your dog is not up to date on their Rabies vaccine and happens to bite a human, a mandatory quarantine period is required.
The following vaccines are considered ‘non-core’ vaccinations. The diseases these vaccines can prevent are typically not fatal, but are debilitating. Both Lyme disease and Kennel Cough are frequently seen in our area therefore most dogs would benefit from having been vaccinated to these increasingly common diseases.
1) Lyme Vaccine – Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete that is transmitted via certain ticks (deer ticks). It is endemic in this area. Dogs that may be at increased risk of contracting this disease are dogs that have times where they roam in wooded or grassy areas (ie dog parks), or dogs that are in close contact with dogs that do this (tick can be carried into the house on humans and other animals). Vaccination is recommended in most dogs but even more strongly recommended in those that often get ticks, even a few, a year.
2) Kennel Cough – this is a highly contagious disease that can have several contributing bacteria and viruses (mainly Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, and Parainfluenza virus) and causes respiratory disease. Most dogs experience coughing and fever, some get nasal discharge, others can progress to pneumonia, in which case the disease can become life-threatening. There are two types of vaccinations available to choose from – intranasal spray or injectable.