What Do Pet Vaccines Really Protect Your Dog From?
Most of us know that our pets should be vaccinated, but few really understand what pet vaccines are needed and why. Vaccines are an essential part of your pet’s preventative care. Even a little indoor lap dog needs some vaccinations, and Androscoggin Animal Hospital wants to help you to better understand why we recommend them.
Pet Vaccines as Part of Preventive Care
Similarly to human medicine, our veterinary team recommends pet vaccines in order to prevent serious disease in our dog (and cat) patients.
A vaccination allows the body to learn how to mount an effective immune response against a particular virus or bacteria so that if it is exposed at some time down the line, it is better able to defend itself.
Some vaccinations provide complete or near complete protection against the disease while others just help to decrease the risk of serious infection. Regardless, pet vaccines are a powerful tool when it comes to keeping our furry friends happy and healthy and are a cornerstone of pet wellness care.
Not all pets need all vaccinations, and not all vaccinations are created equal. Our veterinary team takes pride in assessing each patient to determine what vaccinations are necessary. We also utilize quality vaccinations that are stored and administered appropriately to ensure effectiveness.
Understanding Your Dog’s Vaccinations
So what are all these vaccinations that you see in your pet’s reminders? When it comes to dog vaccinations, we can divide them into core (necessary for all dogs) and non-core (to be given based on risk factors).
Core Dog Vaccinations
- Rabies—Rabies is a serious disease that is almost 100 percent fatal when contracted. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning humans can contract it from infected animals. Due to its serious nature, Maine requires all dogs to be vaccinated between 12 and 16 weeks of age and then again annually. Triennial vaccinations may be given with an appropriate vaccine and after the first annual booster is administered.
- DHPP (Distemper combination)—The distemper vaccine is actually composed of four different vaccinations in combination. Canine distemper, canine hepatitis (also called adenovirus 2), canine influenza, and parvovirus are all very serious diseases. Vaccination of puppies several times until they reach four months of age is recommended. Boosters are typically given annually thereafter.
Non Core Dog Vaccinations
- Leptospirosis—Another zoonotic disease, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is found in wild animal urine. Infection can cause serious liver and kidney problems in both pets and people, which makes this vaccine a frequently recommended one for most dogs.
- Bordetella —One of the primary offending bugs in canine kennel cough, Bordetella can cause upper respiratory issues including a very persistent and very contagious cough. This vaccination is typically recommended for social dogs who will spend time around other pets in grooming, training, boarding, or play scenarios.
- Canine influenza —Another very contagious and potentially serious respiratory bug, the canine influenza virus is a little newer on the scene, but this is definitely a vaccination to consider for social butterflies.
- Lyme disease—Carried by ticks, Lyme disease is a serious bacterial disease that can cause fever, joint pain, and kidney problems in our canine companions. In Maine, this disease is endemic, and the vaccination is often recommended in conjunction with good tick prevention in at-risk pets.
Pet vaccines are an important part of keeping your animals and human family healthy and thriving. If you have questions about our recommendations for your pet or vaccines in general, please contact us. We are always happy to help.