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Jul 30 2018

Understanding Vaccines: WHEN does my pet need them?

Why are vaccinations important for pets?

Vaccinations help to protect your pet from dangerous, and potentially deadly, diseases.

The injections will contain a weak or man-made version of the disease. This triggers your pet’s natural immune system to produce antibodies to combat the disease. That way, if they catch the same disease in the future, their body will be able to recognize the disease and fight it off more effectively.

It’s important that young pets are vaccinate early to protect them. Young pets are at a much higher risk of catching serious illness since they have the weakest immune systems. When young pets do get ill, these diseases are more likely to be fatal and surviving animals often have lifelong health issues.

A Vaccination Schedule

First, it’s important to know that there is no ONE agreed upon vaccination schedule for all dogs. Many factors come into play when your veterinarian forms your pet’s medical plan including the individual risk for your pet and the region of the country you live in, or even visit frequently. Some dogs simply do not need every vaccine. Some dog’s compromised health prevents them from being able to receive vaccines for extended periods, if ever. This decision between you and your veterinarian is individual, flexible, and will grow and change, as your pet does.

That said, here is a generally accepted guideline for when your puppy should be receiving their first year vaccinations:

Puppy’s Age

Recommended Vaccinations

Optional Vaccinations

6 – 8
Distemper, measles, parainfluenza Bordetella
10 – 12
DA2PP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus
[hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
Leptospirosis, Bordetella,
Lyme Disease
Rabies Canine Influenza (H3N8/H3N2)
14 – 16
DA2PP Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease,
Canine Influenza (H3N8/H3N2)
12 – 16
Rabies, DA2PP Leptospirosis, Bordetella,
Lyme Disease, Canine
Influenza (H3N8/HN2)
6 – 12
 no core vaccines are due at this point Bordetella (some hospitals
suggest bi-annual vaccines)
Single Year distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis),
parvovirus, parainfluenza, Rabies (as required by law)
Leptospirosis, Bordetella,
Lyme Disease, Canine
Influenza (H3N8.H3N2)
3 Years
DA2PP, Rabies (as required by law)

Post-Puppy: Vaccine Boosters and Titers

There seems to be a difference of opinion about whether having your adult dog vaccinated every year is medically necessary. On one side, many vets believe too many vaccinations in adult dogs pose health risks. The other side disagree, saying that yearly vaccinations will prevent dangerous diseases such as distemper. But what is the truth?

The truth is, we don’t know. Just like with humans, many dogs handle the vaccinations fine and have no issues, while other suffer reactions and medical complications. A good veterinarian will take all of your concerns into account when creating your pet’s individualized medical plans. Many dog owners these days opt for titer tests before they administer annual vaccinations. A Titer test measures a dog’s immunity levels, and can determine which, if any, vaccinations are necessary. However, when it comes to titer tests there are a few important keys notes to remember:

  • A Titer test is a specialized, and often expensive blood-test, and it can take more than a week for a doctor to get those results back.
  • If your pet goes to doggy daycare, grooming, or boarding, they may require your pet to have the vaccination, regardless of the results of a titer test. If you pet utilizes these services, make sure you know the rules of the facility before assuming that the test will satisfy the requirement. It can be very inconvenient to have to find a last minute appointment for a vaccination you did’t know was needed. Always ask.
  • Please note that a titer test is not an option when it comes to the rabies vaccine. These are required by law (see above). Your vet can tell you the schedule for your particular state.

And it’s all worth it. For your effort and care your puppy will lavish you with lifelong love in return. This important first year of her life is a fun and exciting time for both of you. As she grows physically, the wonderful bond between you will grow, too

Still want more?? Check out the rest of our series:

Understanding Vaccines: What DOES My Pet Need?
Understanding Vaccines: 10 Myths That Need Clarity


lincolnshireah | Uncategorized

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