Part of your responsibility as a Virginia dog owner is to protect your dog against life-threatening diseases. Thankfully, science and research have found ways to protect your dog from danger through vaccinations. Why are dog vaccinations necessary? First of all, vaccines are designed to strengthen your dog’s immune system. This means that when disease-causing organisms enter your dog’s body, it will be able to defeat them. In that way, your dog will not catch the disease. These vaccines work by stimulating your dog’s immune system and enable it to recognize harmful antigens. When your dog is vaccinated, the antigen won’t be able to cause major damage to your dog’s health.
What Are Core and Non-Core Pup Vaccinations?
Core dog vaccinations are vaccinations that are crucial to all dogs based on the severity of the disease, risk of exposure, and the risk of transmission to other animals. Examples of core vaccinations considered vital by the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force include rabies, hepatitis, canine distemper, and canine parvovirus. Lyme vaccine, leptospirosis, canine influenza or dog flu, and Bordetella are considered non-core vaccines. Albeit the non-core vaccines are not included in the list of core dog vaccinations they are still important to protect your dog against infectious diseases.
Almost all states require dogs to get rabies vaccinations. However, the time frames to get these vaccinations are not the same for all states. In California, they recommend giving puppy rabies vaccines when the pup has reached 16 weeks. It must not be given earlier than that. The efficacy of this vaccine is only good for 12 months. As for adult dogs, the longevity of the vaccine is good for 36 months.
The vaccines are administered depending on several factors like lifestyle, travel habits, environment, medical history, and age. This is why you must talk to your veterinarian about these vaccines, what are they for and when should they be given.
When Should You Start Vaccinating Your Dog?
Ideally, you should start vaccinating your pup as soon as you have it. That should be between 6 to 8 weeks and then followed by vaccines every 3 weeks until your dog is 4 months old where it will get the final dose of vaccine. If the mother of the pup is healthy and has a strong immune system, the pup will likely get the antibodies through breast milk while it’s nursing. When the pup is weaned, you should start the vaccinations.
What Is the Schedule for Vaccination?
When your pup is between 6 to 10 weeks, it should receive DHPP and Kennel Cough. By the time your pup reaches 11 to 14 weeks, it should receive DHPP, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease, and Leptospirosis. By 15 to 16 weeks, your pup should get rabies, Lyme Disease, Canine Influenza, DHPP, and Leptospirosis. Lyme disease and canine influence are only given base on your pup’s lifestyle. DHPP stands for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza.
You should always update your pup’s vaccine schedule. Adhering to the schedule is your responsibility as a pet owner.
Are There Side Effects and Risks Involved?
If you think about it, vaccines offer more benefits than risks. If ever dogs experience adverse reactions due to the vaccine, it would be very rare. Nevertheless, side effects can happen just like any other form of medication. Our suggestion is you have your pup vaccinated at a time when you will be there to monitor your dog for signs and symptoms of adverse reactions. Examples of adverse reactions include loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, facial or paw swelling, sluggishness, pain and swelling around the site of injection, collapse, and diarrhea. You can ignore mild symptoms because they usually subside in a couple of days. However, if your dog manifests severe reactions to the vaccine such as lethargy and persistent vomiting, call your veterinarian ASAP.