What Vaccines Should I Get For My Dog?
When you bring home a lovable pooch, you are probably aware of the fact that you’ll need to provide food, shelter, toys, and plenty of love. Most people also know that dogs will need to be spayed or neutered (if they’re not already), that they’ll need to visit the veterinarian for regular checkups, and that they require certain vaccines to stave off common ailments and keep them healthy and well.
What you might not know is how a schedule of vaccinations works or which vaccines are necessary and required by law, just for example. Your vet can help you to understand what is required, as well as advise you on a variety of vaccines available to your dog. Not all will be necessary and you may ultimately decide to forego certain vaccines if you think your dog is not at risk.
However, it’s always best to learn more so you can make informed decisions on behalf of your pet. If you’re wondering which vaccines you should get for your dog, and how often you need to get them, here are a few things you should know.
Certain vaccines are essential not only to maintain your pet’s health, but also because they are required by law. Rabies falls into both of these categories. Laws vary by state, so you’ll want to speak to your vet about how often your dog needs the rabies vaccine, but you can generally assume that this is required if you want to comply with the legal requirements associated with owning a dog.
Rabies is a contagious virus that affects warm-blooded mammals, like dogs and humans, and can be passed through saliva, especially in instances of biting that breaks the skin. Rabies is ultimately fatal to dogs, but in the meantime, it causes madness, convulsions, and other symptoms you definitely don’t want your beloved pet to suffer.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to have your dog vaccinated for rabies every three years, although again, you’ll want to check the specific laws for your state. An initial rabies vaccine is administered to puppies 12 weeks or older, and boosters should be given at 3-year intervals afterward. Exemptions may exist, depending on your state of residence.
Like rabies, this is considered a “core” vaccine, meaning it is essential for the health of your pet. Unlike rabies, DAP is not required by law. The DAP vaccine includes immunization against Distemper, Adenovirus, and Parvovirus (parvo), three of the most common and contagious viruses dogs are likely to catch (and spread).
Distemper is a potentially fatal disease that can cause symptoms like fever, diarrhea, lack of appetite, coughing, discharge from nose and eyes, and even seizures in severe cases. The DAP vaccine prevents your dog from becoming infected with distemper and is extremely effective. It also protects against parvo, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, death.
While the DAP vaccine cannot actually stop adenovirus, which is related to hepatitis, it can significantly reduce the symptoms of this serious disease, as well as the chance that it will lead to the development of other infections. This virus is often the precursor to other infections, particularly infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as kennel cough.
The recommended schedule for the DAP vaccine varies, but there’s no denying the efficacy of at least one vaccination. Puppies can be vaccinated between 6 and 16 weeks of age, but vaccinating at 12-16 weeks is advisable. Guidelines suggest boosters every 3 or more years, but studies have shown that a single vaccination for both puppies and adults could be effective at preventing diseases for a lifetime.
There are several vaccines available to your dog that do not fall under the category of essential immunizations. These could include bacterial vaccines for Bordetella, Lyme, and Leptospirosis, as well as vaccinations against parainfluenza and even rattlesnake bites. Because these are considered non-essential, you’ll definitely want to speak with your veterinarian and do some research before deciding if they’re right for your pet.
Some are more effective than others and some have side effects that may give you pause. Whether you choose to accept these vaccinations may depend largely on the risk factors. For example, dogs that live in areas rife with ticks may be a lot more susceptible to contracting Lyme disease. Those that are around other dogs or wildlife may be at higher risk of a bacterial infection like leptospirosis. Your vet can help you to understand these vaccines and advise you on whether or not they are right for your dog.
We know your dog is a cherished member of your family, so our entire team shares a commitment to provide the best, most compassionate veterinary care for your dog. We offer a variety of dog services to in the Pflugerville/Austin-Round Rock, TX area including vaccines, dental care, weight management, senior care, and more. Call (512) 251-BARK today to learn more!