As a dog owner, it’s important to remember that your furry friend is more susceptible to certain diseases and infections than you are. That’s why keeping your canine companion up to date on the right vaccines is crucial for their wellbeing. Don’t worry: this guide will help you get acquainted with the most important ones.
Vaccines are important. Even if your pet is indoor only, vaccines can help prevent the spread of diseases.
Vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccinating your pet can protect them from several illnesses including parvo, distemper, hepatitis and more. They’re also the best way to protect other animals that may come in contact with unvaccinated pets (like puppies).
Rabies is a virus that is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Dogs can become infected with rabies by being bitten by a rabid animal, usually a raccoon, skunk, bat or fox. Rabid animals may act strangely and may appear tame.
Rabies is fatal to humans and dogs if left untreated. There is no cure for rabies once symptoms start to show; however, vaccines provide protection against the disease if administered before exposure occurs.
The rabies vaccine is given as part of a combination vaccine given at three-month intervals from six weeks of age until 16 weeks old; then annually thereafter (adult dog).
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs and other canids, causing respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurologic signs. It is spread by direct contact with nasal or oral secretions or feces of infected animals, or through the air by aerosol transmission.
Infection occurs when a dog breathes in the virus while sniffing an infected animal. Once in the lungs, it travels to the lymph nodes where it multiplies before spreading throughout the body via blood circulation.
Adenovirus type 2
Adenovirus is a common virus that is found in the respiratory tract of many dogs. Adenovirus can cause mild to severe illness in dogs, and it is contagious and can be transmitted by direct contact or through the air. There are several different types of adenovirus, including type 2 (adenovirus-2), which causes respiratory disease in young puppies and immune suppressed dogs that can progress to pneumonia.
Adenoviruses have a long incubation period (the time between initial exposure and onset of symptoms), meaning you may not realize your puppy has been infected until after you’ve taken him home from the breeder or shelter.
Parvovirus is a serious disease that can kill dogs. It is a virus that attacks the dog’s intestines and can be spread through the air or by contaminated surfaces, such as dog toys, food bowls and water dishes. If you get parvovirus from your pet, you may experience a range of symptoms from mild to severe. It’s important to take precautions when caring for your dog so you don’t get infected with this deadly disease yourself!
Canine parainfluenza is a viral respiratory disease that can be very serious in young puppies, especially those under 6 months old. The virus causes the dog to have labored breathing and inflammation of the respiratory tract. The symptoms include:
- Heavy breathing
- Nasal discharge (snotty nose)
- Runny eyes (eye mucus)
The virus is transmitted through contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects such as toys, food bowls, kennels, cages or grooming tools. A diagnosis can be made by testing nasal or throat swabs for parainfluenza antibodies; however this test is often not available at many veterinary practices unless they have a special arrangement with another clinic that does offer it.
Bordetella bronchiseptica, commonly known as “kennel cough,” is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the trachea and lungs of dogs. It can be spread via direct contact with infected animals or through inhaling their airborne droplets.
The best way to prevent this disease is by vaccinating your pet for bordetella at least once every 12 months (or more frequently depending on their lifestyle).
Canine hepatitis is a viral disease that affects the liver. It’s contagious and can be fatal, so it’s important to vaccinate your pup against it.
Canine hepatitis mainly affects dogs, though in rare cases it can spread to cats as well. The virus is passed through contact with infected body fluids (blood or saliva). Infection can also occur via an unborn puppy if its mother has been exposed to the virus during gestation. The first signs of canine hepatitis are loss of appetite, yellowing eyes and whites of the eyes, fever, vomiting and lethargy (trouble getting up when lying down).
Coronavirus is spread through the air and can cause fatal infections in puppies, but it’s not often fatal in adult dogs. It’s a common cause of diarrhea and vomiting, so if your pup has an upset stomach after vaccination, he may have contracted coronavirus.
In rare cases, corona viruses can cause serious illness to humans who come into contact with infected dogs. If you think that you’ve been exposed to a dog with coronavirus (either directly or indirectly), seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Heartworm disease is a serious disease that affects dogs, but it’s preventable. This roundworm can live in the heart and lungs of your dog, causing inflammation and blockage of blood vessels throughout the body. Though rare, severe heartworm infections can be fatal. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, so it’s important to use preventative medications year-round to protect your pet from contracting this dangerous parasite.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can affect both dogs and humans. It is spread through contact with water, soil or food that has been contaminated with the urine of infected animals. The bacteria are spread by contact with the urine of infected animals, most commonly rats, raccoons and dogs.
Leptospira can also be passed from one animal to another through bites. Humans can contract leptospirosis if they come into direct contact with an infected dog’s urine or mucous membrane, breath in aerosolized respiratory secretions containing leptospira bacteria (when dry), or ingest something contaminated by these secretions (e.g., water).
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks. It’s caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which can be passed to dogs if they get bitten by an infected tick.
Unlike other types of bacteria, the Lyme bacterium can survive in the environment for extended periods of time—even after being removed from your dog’s skin with tweezers or washed off their fur with soap and water. The only way to protect your dog from this disease is through vaccination! If you live in an area where Lyme disease is endemic (meaning that it occurs naturally in that region), it’s especially important to vaccinate your pup against it as early as possible so he or she has ample time to build immunity before exposure becomes likely.
It’s important to remember that these vaccines, like any medical treatment, come with risks. Even though many dogs are at risk for certain diseases or conditions, the risk of an adverse reaction from a vaccine might be greater than that disease. This means it’s important to weigh your options and make sure you know how likely it is that your dog will contract a disease before getting them vaccinated against it. Talk to your vet about which vaccines they think are necessary for your pet based on their lifestyle and health history.