As with humans, vaccines for pets prevent many illnesses and help animals live long, healthy lives. Vaccines are available for different animals and are designed to prevent different diseases. While routine vaccination does come with a few risks, the ASPCA points out that it’s among the easiest ways to keep your dog healthy and happy. Learn more about pet vaccines to help you understand their importance.
What Are Vaccinations?
Vaccines introduce antigens to your dog’s body, which the immune system thinks is a disease-causing organism. This stimulates the immune system mildly without actually giving your dog the illness. Then, if the real disease ever enters your dog’s body, his immune system will be ready to fight it off.
What Vaccines Should My Dog Get?
While vaccines are undoubtedly important to managing your dog’s health, not every pet needs to receive every vaccine. Plan to discuss your pet’s needs with your vet. Core vaccines administered most often include:
- Canine parvovirus
- Canine hepatitis
Factors such as age, medical history, lifestyle, environment and travel habits impact any additional vaccines your dog should receive. These may include:
- Bordetella bronchiseptica
- Borrelia burgdorferi
- Leptospira bacteria
What is the Recommended Vaccine Schedule for Dogs?
While your individual circumstances may warrant exceptions, the basic schedule for dog vaccination begins with a series of parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis and rabies vaccines every three to four weeks starting when the pup is six to eight weeks old. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks old.
Adult dogs also receive vaccinations. The rabies vaccine, which is required by law in most states, must either be administered once a year or once every three years, depending on the law and the type of vaccine administered. Make sure you keep proof of your dog’s rabies vaccines with his medical records.
What are the Risks of Vaccinating My Dog?
The mild stimulation of your dog’s immune system could result in minor symptoms after receiving a vaccine. Most pet owners agree that the potential drawbacks are well worth the protection vaccines provide. After all, the practice of vaccinating humans and animals alike has saved countless lives over the years. While most animals experience no ill effect from vaccines at all, here are some side effects to be aware of:
- Soreness, swelling, scabbing or hair loss at the injection site
- Difficulty breathing
- Lameness or collapse
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the face
- Vomiting and diarrhea
More serious side effects, such as the development of immune mediated disease, are far less common. In a vast majority of cases, any side effects that result from vaccinations can’t compare to the seriousness of contracting the disease the vaccine is protecting against. Just be sure you schedule your dog’s vaccines at a time when you can monitor him afterward for any signs of adverse side effects.
Schedule Vaccines with Germantown Vet Clinic
Your dog doesn’t understand the importance of annual vaccinations, and he can’t set an appointment for himself! As a responsible pet owner, it’s your job to watch out for his wellbeing and keep him up-to-date with his vaccines.
To ensure your routine vaccinations remain affordable, Germantown Vet offers pet wellness plans for every age and stage of vaccinations. Designed to help ensure you don’t neglect your pet’s vet care, these plans spread out payments over the course of a year so you never have to choose between providing your pet with the best care and buying dog food for next month.
Contact us online or call us at 240-252-7467 today to schedule your dog’s next routine vaccination.