Visit any veterinary office and one of the first steps taken will be a review of your dog’s vaccination history. Vaccinating you pet is vital to protecting their health as well as for public safety. In 2011 the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) issued updated vaccination guidelines for the U.S. and Canada.
Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system and once contracted is always 100% fatal. Additionally, rabies can be transmitted from an infected animal to humans which is why all 50 states require owners to vaccinate their dogs.
The protocol for rabies vaccinations is a 1-year vaccine administered between 12 and 16 weeks of age followed by a 3-year vaccination given at one year of age. Thereafter, the 3-year vaccination is given every 3 years (except for those states where a 1-year vaccine is required every year).
Distemper is a viral disease that causes vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia/upper respiratory infections as well as neurologic disease (seizures or chronic twitching). Dogs that contract distemper can survive with aggressive and expensive treatment, however, the Distemper vaccine is extremely effective and much less costly than treatment.
The initial vaccination is given as a series of puppy shots administered at 3 to 4 week intervals between 6 and 16 weeks of age with the final shot given between 14 and 16 weeks to minimize the risk of maternal antibody interference. A booster vaccination is given 1 year after the final puppy shot then every 3 years thereafter.
Parvo is another viral disease that affects the white blood cells as well as the dog’s intestinal tract. It causes vomiting and bloody diarrhea and can lead to death if not treated quickly.
Parvovirus is typically transmitted through dog feces and can live a long time in the environment making it very easy to come into contact with. The best protection for your pet is to get them vaccinated as puppies and avoid an expensive hospitalization.
The vaccination protocol for Parvo is the same as Distemper and Adenovirus (a series of puppy shots, 1-year booster then every 3 years thereafter). It is not uncommon to give all three vaccines in the same shot.
Adenovirus causes infectious canine hepatitis and manifests as an upper respiratory infection. Once the virus has entered the bloodstream it targets organs such as liver, kidneys, eyes and the endothelial cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels.
Milder symptoms include lethargy, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. More acute conditions can exhibit an enlarged liver, abdominal pain, abdominal fluid, enlarged lymph notes, skin bruising and in extreme cases it can cause a coagulation disorder (DIC) which usually result in death within a few hours after onset.
Vaccinated dogs that are exposed to the adenovirus can generally clear the infection within 10 to 14 days.
Bordetella is a highly contagious bacterial illness that can be readily spread from dog to dog, cat to cat and cat to dog. Commonly referred to as kennel cough in dogs, bordetella infections are typically not life-threatening, however, some pets can develop complications of pneumonia.
Symptoms can appear between two and 14 days after your pet has been exposed to the bacteria. The typical length of infection can be anywhere from four to 21 days. Once infected, dogs usually develop a harsh, hacking cough that sounds as though something is caught in their throat.
Dog parks, boarding facilities and veterinary offices are likely sources of kennel cough, which is why boarding facilities require dogs and cats to be up-to-date on their Bordetella vaccine prior to lodging. Bordetella vaccines are generally effective for 6 months and it is recommended that the pet be vaccinated at least two day prior to beginning their stay at a boarding facility.
There are other vaccinations available for dogs including Canine Parainfluenza (CPiV), Canine Influenza, Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) and rattlesnake vaccine which may only be recommended based on where you live and or the risk of exposure. To learn more about any of the vaccines outlined here contact the Scottsdale veterinarians at Horizon Animal Hospital. Give us a call at 480-800-4559 to make an appointment.
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