Making sure your dog is vaccinated against common canine diseases is one of the most important things you can do to help give your pet a long, healthy life. When administered, they stimulate your dog’s immune system to produce disease-fighting cells, proteins – or antibodies – to protect against disease. Initial vaccinations often occur at 6 weeks of age and are repeated every 2-4 weeks until the puppy is between 3-4 months old. In fact, for the rest of your dog’s life, he/she will require repeat vaccinations at regular intervals. Maintaining your veterinarian’s recommended schedule will ensure your dog stays on track and does not have to undergo a series of vaccinations all over again. Understanding your dog’s profile will help you and your veterinarian administer the proper type of treatment for your pet. Important considerations in determining your dog’s profile include:
- Geographic location (prevalence of ticks, mosquitoes, etc.)
- Age and spay/neuter status (increased close contact with unknown dogs)
- Social activity (boarding, shows, groomer, etc.)
- Outdoor activity (hunting, roaming, etc.)
- Character (frequent escapee, dogs that drink or eat anything they find, etc.)
While vaccinations cannot be 100% guaranteed, they are your pet’s best defense against disease and a better alternative to the distress and cost of your dog contracting a serious illness. Common and highly contagious serious illnesses include Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Tracheobronchitis, Rabies and the following:
Canine Influenza Vaccine
Canine Influenza is a relatively new (it was first reported in the U.S. in 2003), highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. The symptoms of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose and fever. A small proportion of dogs, however, can develop severe disease. The dog flu virus can be spread by direct contact with infected dogs, through the air via a cough or sneeze, and by contact with contaminated objects such as dog bowls and clothing, or by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. As with all vaccinations, talk with your veterinarian about what is appropriate for your dog. Click here for more information about Canine Influenza from Merck Animal Health.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted from ticks and is most prevalent in the Northeast, Southeast and Upper Midwest regions of the U.S. The most common visible symptoms in dogs are arthritis and slow movement as a result of painful joints. Other symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and loss of energy. If left untreated, Lyme disease could progress into heart disease, central nervous system disorders and fatal kidney disease. The best preventative measure against Lyme disease is vaccination Click here for more information about Lyme Disease and to find out if your dog is at risk.
Leptospirosis is an infectious bacterial disease that has increased in prevalence amongst domestic dogs in recent years. Contact with rodents, wildlife or contaminated water sources can put dogs at risk for infection. Initial signs of infection include fever, lethargy, anorexia and depression. Severe cases may result in vomiting, dehydration, severe liver and kidney damage or even death. Talk to your veterinarian about the risk of Leptospirosis in your community or Click here for more information about Leptospirosis.