Knowing what to vaccinate your dog for and how often to give your dog a vaccination are two very important issues. Regular vaccinations can prevent your dog from contracting many different types of diseases. Vaccinating your dog is a very important part of your total dog health care program. Overall, two of the most important viruses to vaccinate your dog for are parvovirus and distemper.
Most vets agree that it is vital to vaccinate puppies at 6 weeks of age and again at 8, 12, and 16 weeks for Distemper, Canine Infectious Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Coronavirus (DHLPPC). It is also suggested that puppies are vaccinated for rabies at six months of age and then to repeat it annually.
Although your new puppy may squirm or even cry when getting his vaccinations, it is just as important for your dog as it is for your children to receive these “annual shots”. In fact, by keeping up to date on your dog’s vaccinations, you could be saving his life. Basically, dog vaccinations are injections of a small dose of a specific disease, which should prevent your puppy from developing that very disease later in life by creating the necessary antibodies to fight it off.
Some dog owners have concerns whether the repeated dog vaccinations are really necessary and whether they are doing more harm than good. Vaccinations work by stimulating the dog’s immune system, encouraging it to readily produce antibodies to fight against many specific types of bacterias and viruses.
Stimulating the dogs immune system this way does come at a price when the actual introduction of the offending agent in some form to the dog’s system leads to illness. Once vaccinations are given, your dog’s immune system will recognize the presence of a disease and will then create antibodies to fight it off. These antibodies only last from six months to a year, which makes regular vaccinations extremely important for your puppy or dog.
The question on the minds of many pet owners is usually – “is it dangerous to repeatedly vaccinate my dog each year”? Fortunately the experts do agree that the answer to this question is a resounding “no.”
While there are rare cases of dogs that have become very ill or even died as a result of receiving a vaccination, there is no evidence to suggest that this practice poses any real danger generally speaking. Oftentimes, the dogs that are adversely affected to vaccines may have already been sick or have some form of allergy to a specific part of the vaccine.
When using a vaccine that must be mixed first, there are four simple steps to follow. First: mix the vaccine by withdrawing all of the liquid from the one vial and then injecting it iback into the vial containing the dried portion of the vaccine. Remove the syringe, shake the vial to mix up the vaccination, re-insert the needle and then withdraw the entire 1 ml contents of the mixed vaccination.
Two different types of vaccinations exist which are a Killed Vaccine and a Modified Live Vaccine. A Modified Live Vaccine is the live disease being injected, while having been altered by the drug company to be unable to cause the disease it is protecting against. A Killed Vaccine is when the virus itself has been killed before any injection occurs.
Most vaccinations are administered subcutaneously (by injecting the vaccine just under the skin). One of the best areas is located in the shoulder or neck area. Simply lift a tent of skin into a triangle with one hand, and inject the vaccine with the other hand. Note: always use a different sterile needle and syringe for each dog and also for each individual injection, and then dispose of all used needles and syringes in a safe location.
I feel that the best advice I can offer is that dog owners continue vaccinating their dogs according to local laws and the recommendations of their veterinarians. Since the annual vaccines are not seemingly harming dogs in any way, there is no cause for alarm and no harm in continuing the same routine until the veterinary community makes up its mind that a real change is needed in regard to dog vaccinations. In the mean time, a little prevention can go a long way to keep your dog healthy.