An Introduction to Dog Vaccines

Responsible pet owners ensure their pet's dog vaccines are current. State laws require dogs to have current vaccines for specific deadly diseases, such as rabies. Still, dog owners should have pets vaccinated as part of any preventative care program.

In 2006, the American Animal Hospital Association released new guidelines for canine vaccinations. After discovering immunities from vaccinations last longer that one year, some veterinarians recommend pet's booster vaccinations occur every two or three years. Today's vaccination schedule is less stressful on pets and saves money.

Your pet's vaccination schedule depends on the breed, size of your dog and the area where you live. In the Northeast, the risk of Rocky Mountain Fever is unlikely, however Lyme Disease is a concern. Your dog may need additional dog vaccines for localized diseases.

Core vs Non-Core Vaccinations

Classifications for canine vaccinations include core or non-core. Core vaccinations remain an integral part of any dog's veterinary care. The dog vaccines protect against the most common illnesses. These vaccines include:

  • Adenovirus-2 (Hepatitis)
  • Canine Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies

Diseases protected by core vaccines kill many animals per year. The diseases are preventable. By vaccinating your puppy and making sure boosters occur ever few years, you can save his/her life.

Non-Core Dog Vaccine Information

Non-core vaccines are important to some dogs, but not to every dog. Non-core vaccinations for dogs protect against diseases localized to certain regions in the world. Some of these diseases spread through contact with infected animals, lessening the threat to dogs that rarely leave their home. Examples of non-core vaccinations include:

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica Vaccine
  • Coronavirus Vaccine
  • Leptospirosis Vaccine
  • Lyme Disease Vaccine
  • Parainfluenza Virus Vaccine

Ask a local veterinarian if non-core vaccines are necessary. An area vet will know which diseases are prevalent in your area.

Adenovirus-2 (Hepatitis) Vaccination Information

Canine Hepatitis occurs when a dog ingests or breathes in bodily secretions from an infected animal. Most commonly, a dog sneezes and passes the virus to other dogs in the area.

Dog vaccines' schedules include vaccinations against Canine Hepatitis. The virus attacks the liver and affects dogs differently. Some dogs suffer a low-grade fever and recover quickly. Others develop high fevers, internal bleeding and die within a day or two.

Distemper Vaccination Information

80% of all puppies and 50% of adult dogs that contract Canine Distemper succumb to the disease. The American Veterinary Medical Association feels Distemper vaccinations are the most important vaccination for puppies and dogs.

Canine Distemper spreads through contact with infected animals' body fluids and excretions. In addition, it is airborne. Distemper has no cure and attacks a dog's nervous system. Dogs that do survive the disease end up with dental, vision and nervous system problems.

Parvovirus Vaccination Information

Parvovirus spreads through contact with an infected dog's feces. Dogs in boarding kennels, shelters and dog shows are most susceptible to this deadly disease. Unlike many dog diseases, Parvovirus kills a dog within two or three days.

The biggest concern with Parvovirus is dehydration from the frequent vomiting and diarrhea. The disease may attack the heart proving fatal in most animals.

Rabies Vaccinations

U.S. laws require all pet owners to vaccinate their pets against rabies. Rabies spreads through saliva of infected wild animals. Wild animals most likely to have rabies are foxes, raccoons and bats.

Rabid dogs often attack people and spread the disease to humans. Keep your vaccinations for dogs up to date and prevent this fatal disease.