Vaccinations are an essential part of a dog’s healthcare regime – from his puppy days to his senior status.
Dog vaccines, when given regularly, afford dogs long-term, lifetime protection against the serious and sometimes fatal diseases caused by viruses.
Once in the bloodstream, a vaccine mimics a particular virus or bacteria, triggering the body’s own immune response. After that, the immune response is ready and prepared to fight any future infection by that virus.
Puppies should begin vaccinations at between eight and 10 weeks old, so schedule a visit to your vet as soon as you can. Most vaccines are injected as part of a series, and one year after the last in the series, your dog will need boosters.
Vaccination protocols may vary, so follow your vet’s recommended vaccination programme. Your vet will also be able to advise you on the range of vaccinations your dog should take.
A Guide to Vaccinations and What They Do
Dog vaccines, when given regularly, afford dogs long-term, lifetime protection against the serious and sometimes fatal diseases caused by viruses and bacteria infections.
The vaccination protocol must be followed based on factors such as individual animal’s health conditions, their age, the maternally derived antibodies, the exposure to certain diseases and the environmental risks and the duration of the immunity and efficiency of the vaccines available.
There are three types of vaccinations for your dog: core, non-core and not recommended. The association recommends a triennial core vaccination schedule and a personalised non-core vaccination schedule to be followed.
Core vaccines guideline
Canine distemper virus (CDV)
What: A highly contagious and potentially fatal virus affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. It generally spreads as an airborne infection, with vaccination the only effective control.
When: Injections at eight and 10 weeks old, followed by boosters. Can be given in combination with other vaccines.
Canine adenovirus (CAV)
What: This viral disease affects the liver, kidneys and the cells lining the blood vessels, causing high fever, thirst, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, liver damage and haemorrhaging.
When: The initial vaccination is given as a series, beginning at eight weeks of age, and is often combined with vaccinations against distemper.
Canine parvovirus (CPV-2)
What: A common but deadly viral infection, with symptoms including severe diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.
When: A series of vaccinations from eight to 20 weeks of age, followed by booster vaccines.
Core vaccines can prevent diseases. Based on the variability and duration of the maternally derived antibodies. The core vaccination in puppies must be administrated from 6 to 8 weeks of age, then every 2-4 weeks with the final dose being administrated earlier than 16 weeks of age.
Non-core vaccines guideline
Parainfluenza virus (Bordetella)
What: One of the causes of ‘kennel cough’, this virus is highly contagious and attacks the respiratory system.
When: Initial inoculations are given at eight weeks, followed by boosters.
What: A bacteria that affects the kidney and liver.
When: A series, beginning at eight weeks of age, followed by boosters, which can be given in combination with other vaccines.
An adult booster vaccine must be administrated 12 months after the final booster puppy vaccine.
Non- core vaccines and not recommended vaccines usually target diseases that are at risk in an epidemiological region. These diseases can affect some individuals and hence it is required the proper immunisation against them. This vaccination schedule is annual.
Dog vaccinations, like worming and flea treatment, are a crucial part of making sure your dog stays happy and healthy.
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