A Guide to Vaccination for Your Dog
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Currently, we recommend a vaccination program for your dog that reflects its age, lifestyle, potential for contact with other dogs and risk of exposure to infectious disease. All dogs are at risk of exposure to infectious diseases, even if they spend most of their time indoors and never leave your yard. Some infectious diseases are life threatening, while others such as Rabies also pose a public health risk. Vaccination to prevent common infectious diseases is the first step in disease prevention. Prevention is ALWAYS more beneficial than attempting to treat disease once it occurs. A vaccine allows the dog’s natural immune system to aid in eliminating viral and bacterial infections. Prevention through vaccination is the most reliable and cost effective method of health care available to you.
Vaccines contain killed or modified (weakened) forms of viruses and bacteria. They stimulate production of protective antibodies that neutralize the virus or bacteria if the dog is later exposed. Vaccines are best when used to protect against infectious disease, not to treat or cure existing diseases. Some vaccinations are called multivalent as they immunize against several diseases in one injection. We utilize many multivalent vaccines to minimize your inconvenience and discomfort to your dog.
Since immunity to vaccination gradually declines over time periodic revaccination is recommended. That frequency depend on whether your dog has an indoor/outdoor or all outdoor lifestyle, its age and risk of disease exposure. After a physical examination and evaluation of your dog’s individual circumstances we will determine the appropriate vaccination interval for your dog.
Usually, the benefits of vaccination considerably outweigh the small risk of vaccine based adverse effects. Allergic reactions to vaccination are uncommon, but they do occur. Your dog may appear tired or lethargic after a vaccination. This is to be expected. Some of the adverse signs to watch for after your dog is vaccinated are difficulty breathing, facial swelling or persistent vomiting or diarrhea.
Typical vaccination program for puppies involve immunization for a group of respiratory viruses that include Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus-2 and Canine Parainfluenza, the intestinal virus Canine Parvovirus, four way serovars of Leptospirosis and Rabies. An additional vaccine is available for Bordetella bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough) if you puppy has exposure to other dogs or will be boarded in a kennel setting. Since ticks are a rapidly emerging threat in our area and Deer ticks can carry Lyme’s Disease we also recommend immunization against Lyme’s Disease. Puppy vaccination can start as early as six weeks of age and a dose is administered every three to four weeks until the puppy is twenty weeks. Annual revaccination is recommended.
For adult dogs the diseases we recommend vaccination against are similar to the puppy program outlined above. If you dog has not been previously immunized we recommend two doses two to four weeks apart to bring their immune status up to par. After that annual revaccination is recommended.
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