Vaccines, inoculations, immunizations, SHOTS! No matter what term is used, they serve a purpose, and almost always a good one. Though there is growing skepticism among many dog owners regarding vaccine recommendations for their four-legged children, it is important to fully understand the purpose and reason behind vaccinating your pets.
- More commonly termed the “DHPP” vaccine prevents serious transmittable diseases between our canine friends.
- Distemper is a very contagious, often fatal disease of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Young dogs are more susceptible, but older dogs that are not well-protected are also at risk.
- Adenovirus is associated with canine infectious hepatitis, and is one cause of canine infectious tracheobronchitis. This disease is spread through respiratory secretions, urine, and feces. Young dogs are the most susceptible to this illness.
- Parainfluenza is a common and highly contagious cause of infectious tracheobronchitis. This is mostly contracted by means of airborne transmission of the disease. Dogs of all ages are susceptible, unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated dogs are highest risk.
- Parvovirus is a highly contagious, very aggressive and sometimes rapidly fatal gastrointestinal virus. Direct contact with an infected animal’s feces and objects infected by the virus provides near immediate infection.
Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is contractible by both animals and humans.
- This bacteria is shed in the urine of an infected animal, and can be transmitted through the exposure to infected urine.
- Leptospirosis is typically found in areas where standing, or slow-moving water is present.
- If your pet goes on hikes in mountainous regions, or swims in lakes, streams, creeks, or rivers, it is important that you discuss this vaccine with your veterinarian.
The Rabies vaccine is typically required by law, and you may be required to register your pet with your State, City, or County government.
- Rabies is a preventable viral disease that is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected animal.
- This disease can cause acute inflammation of the brain in dogs, humans, and other warm-blooded animals and is fatal if not caught early.
Bordetella (kennel cough)
Have you ever boarded your dog, taken them to the dog park, day care, or groomer, and they came back with a dry, hacking, horrid cough? Chances are your pet was exposed to “kennel cough.”
- This disease is spread in the air and is typically found in boarding facilities, grooming facilities, and dog parks. Any high-dog-traffic areas are a potential threat for Bordatella.
- A biannual vaccine much like the flu mist is available for your dog.
A relatively new addition to the world of pet vaccinations is titer testing. Titer testing involves taking a sample of your adult pet’s blood to determine whether or not he has enough antibodies to stay immunized against a particular disease without additional vaccinations.
But is titer testing effective, and is it a safe alternative to vaccines in the long term? The jury is still out on the true effectiveness in determining whether titers are completely trustworthy in determining your dog’s immunization.
With many pets having adverse reactions to vaccines, the consensus is that the less vaccines that have to be given, the better. You should talk with your vet to determine if titer testing is a viable option for you.
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