Routine Vaccinations for Puppies and Dogs
for us, there are vaccines to help prevent many illnesses that affect dogs.
Vaccinating your dog has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help
him live a long, healthy life. Not only are there different vaccines for
different diseases, there are different types and combinations of vaccines.
Although vaccination has the potential to protect pets against
life-threatening diseases, vaccination is not without its risks. Recently,
there has been some controversy regarding the duration of protection and timing
of vaccination, as well as the safety and necessity of certain vaccines. What
does this all mean for your dog? Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and
benefits that must be weighed for every dog relative to his lifestyle and
health. Your veterinarian can determine a vaccination regime that will provide
the safest and best protection for your individual dog. Here are answers to
some of your most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:
What Exactly Are Vaccines?
Vaccines help prepare the body's immune system to fight the
invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look
like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don't actually cause
disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is
mildly stimulated. If a dog is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune
system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the
severity of the illness.
How Important Are Vaccines to the Health of My Dog?
Bottom line-vaccines are very important in managing the health
of your dog. That said, not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every
disease. It is very important to discuss with your veterinarian a vaccination
protocol that’s right for your dog. Factors that should be examined include
age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. Most vets
highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs.
What Are Core Vaccines?
In 2006, the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task
Force published a revised version of guidelines regarding canine vaccinations.
The guidelines divide vaccines into three categories-core, non-core and not
- Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure,
severity of disease or transmissibility to humans. Canine parvovirus,
distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines by the Task
- Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk. These
include vaccines against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and
Your veterinarian can determine what vaccines are best for your dog.
What Vaccines Should My Puppy Get?
Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations with a
combination vaccine product that protects against parvovirus, distemper and
hepatitis. Your puppy must also be vaccinated against rabies. There are a
variety of other vaccines that may or may not be appropriate for your pet.