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Quick Guide to Vaccines

As the weather starts to warm up and we starting venturing outside more, it's very important to make sure your pup is protected against the elements. Knowing what vaccines are best for your pet can be overwhelming, so as always never hesitate to consult your trusted veterinarian. But, here is a quick guide to help get you started...

Vaccines can be split into two categories; core vaccines which are standard requirements within most (not all) practices including veterinarians, groomers, boarding facilities, transportation services (i.e airlines), etc. and elective vaccines which are based off of you and your pups' lifestyle, and risk of exposure to specific diseases or parasites.

Core Vaccines protect against the most common threats to dogs. What's considered core or essential may vary by where you live.

Rabies - a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.

Common Symptoms - fever, headache, excess salivation, muscle spasms, paralysis, and mental confusion

Distemper (DHPP) - an airborne virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.

Common Symptoms - fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting

Bordetella - also known as Kennel Cough, is an upper respiratory infection that is transmitted when a healthy dog comes into contact with discharge from an infected dog. Contact can be made through inhalation (airborne), sharing of dog bowls, toys, or other objects the infected dog has come in contact with. A common misconception is that Bordetella is only a risk if a dog goes to boarding facilities. However, Kennel Cough is HIGHLY contagious and can be picked up from any surface that an infected dog has had contact with (pet stores, dog parks, sidewalks, yards, bedding, even the bottom of shoes).

Common Symptoms - dry hacking cough (often described as a "honking" sound) sometimes followed by retching. May also include a watery nasal discharge

Elective Vaccines include, but are not limited to;

Leptospirosis - a bacterial disease transmitted by contact with infected water or soil (typically found in standing water).

Common Symptoms - Fever, Vomiting, Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, Refusal to eat, Severe weakness and depression, Stiffness, Severe muscle pain

Your dog is a good candidate for this vaccine if they; frequent lakes, rivers, beaches, hiking trails, or other places where puddles and standing water may form.

Lyme -a bacterial infection that’s transmitted by deer ticks.

Common Symptoms - lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite (symptoms may take at least 6 months to show up)

Your dog is a good candidate for this vaccine if they; spend a lot of time outdoors where ticks are present (woods, hiking trails, etc.)

Canine Influenza - also known as dog flu is a respiratory disease caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs through inhalation of droplets from an infected dogs cough or sneeze, or contact with a contaminated surface. There are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus (different from the human H2H3).

Common Symptoms - cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. However, some dogs may be asymptomatic and not show any signs of illness at all

Your dog is a good candidate for this vaccine if they; visit dog parks, or grooming, boarding and daycare facilities.

Rattlesnake - this vaccine works by stimulating the dog’s immune system to produce antibodies against snake venom, and helps lessen the reaction a dog may have to a snakebite.

Common Symptoms - Acute swelling, one or two puncture wounds, bleeding and pain at the site

Your dog is a good candidate for this vaccine if they; live in areas where rattlesnakes are prevalent, and/or go on hikes, camping trips, hunting excursions, or other places where they may come in contact with a rattlesnake.

Understanding your pups' risk level and keeping them up to date on vaccines is an important part of keeping them protected and healthy during your summer time fun! Check out my Quick Guide to Parasite Prevention to learn about how to protect your pup against squirmy wormies and other parasites.


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