What do you say to a trusting puppy, who thinks the world is made of treats and toys?   How to tell that little guy, the world is not just fun and play, but has many dangers?  May be not in so many words, but you can say it just by doing the right thing: Immunize your dog against the many illnesses out there threatening your adorable little puppy!

What are vaccines?

A vaccine is a curative formulation prepared to fight an illness.  When you vaccinate your dog, it creates a defensive method to fight a disease.  How does a vaccine work?

Vaccines contain a substance called antigen.  These antigens are similar to the disease causing organisms, but without the risk of actually producing the disease.  As they say, a diamond can be cut by another; these antigens fight the disease causing organisms, from the other end.

When the vaccine is introduced to the body, your dog’s system gets better acquainted to the disease, and is better prepared to fight it on a real attack.  Similar to a fire drill that prepares school kids for a real emergency, vaccines prepare your pet’s body to fight real diseases.

Why should you vaccinate your dog?

  1. 1.  Protects your dog against specific illnesses
  2. 2.  Protects your pet against “at-risk” diseases
  3. 3.  Supports your pet’s immune system
  4. 4.  Extends protection to pet owners, neighbors and children
  5. 5.  Protects against cross infection – diseases spread by other dogs

Your dog might be at high risk for certain illnesses by birth or by breed. Also, if you are an outdoor person, who loves to swim, hike or jog with your dog, then he is exposed to many illnesses such as Lyme disease (spread through deer ticks) and kennel cough (that occurs in a boarding facility).  You may have to vaccinate her for these diseases. You need not immunize your dog against all diseases.  But consult your vet, creating the right immunization program required for your pet. 

What are the types of vaccines?

There are vaccines as well as combination of vaccines to fight different diseases, based on the age, medical history, and lifestyle of your pet.  Based on the 2006 report published by American Animal Hospital association, vaccines may be divided into 3 categories:  Core, Non-core and Not recommended.

  1. 1.  Core Vaccines are primary vaccines, vital to all dogs based on the risk of exposure, seriousness of the disease and transferability to humans. E.g. vaccines against canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies.
  2. 2.  Non-core vaccines are given against diseases based on your dog’s lifestyle and how much she is exposed to the environment. E.g. vaccines against bordetella bronchiseptica, borrelia burgdorferi and leptospira bacteria.
  3. 3.  The Not Recommended ones include diseases that your dog is not at risk.

Your dog may show minor reactions to the vaccine, such as fever, pain, nausea, swellings, or a diarrhea. In some cases, it can get a bit more severe with difficulty in breathing, lameness or seizures. Some of these side effects may be alarming, especially if you are a new pet owner.  But don’t let any of these revert you from the decision of immunizing your dog. Consult your vet if the symptoms continue.  Always make sure your dogs are current on all vaccines including anti-rabies vaccine.