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Vaccinations: What is Really Needed and How Often?

Written by: Renee Moen
| Published on April 30, 2014

There is much debate on the necessity and regularity of dog vaccines. Some of the critics state that children stop receiving vaccines at a certain point, their immune systems take over. Shouldn’t it be the same for dogs?  ASPCA, PetMD, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and UC Davis offered valuable information concerning what shots were needed to maintain well being, what vaccinations were optional and what aren’t needed at all.

Core Vaccines

  • Parvovirus is a near fatal, highly contagious virus that attacks white blood cells, intestinal tract, and the heart. The lucky few who survive the parvovirus will have life-long congenital issues.
  • Canine distemper destroys a dogs respiratory and central nervous systems and well as the gastrointestinal tract. Canine distemper may be fatal if not treated early and aggressively.
  • Canine Hepatitis is a virus that begins as a cold and progresses into the kidneys and liver. It is most certainly fatal if not caught in the early stages.
  • Rabies, a virus that causes the brain to swell, is also near fatal if not treated quickly and aggressively.

The above mentioned viruses are part of the core group of vaccinations the ASPCA urges all dog owners to utilize for the well being of all domestic canines; the parvovirus, canine distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies. Puppies go through a series of shots while their immune systems are still fragile, to guard against disease. Owners of adult dogs should discuss with their vet a vaccination schedule that works with the dog’s age, health, history, and lifestyle.

Non-Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are optional depending on a dog’s lifestyle, age and location. Bordetella is a respiratory condition most often associated with kennel cough. Most doggy daycares and kennels will not accept a dog unless proof of updated Bordetella and parainfluenza vaccines are provided.

Leptospira is another non-core vaccine. Leptospira is a bacterial infection that settles in a dogs kidneys. If caught early enough it is treatable. Leptospira is regional, depending on a dogs location and or travel tendencies he may or may not need this.

Unnecessary Vaccines

According to UC Davis school of Veterinary medicine, the canine rattlesnake vaccine is completely unnecessary. Even if the dog is frequently around rattlesnakes, there is insufficient evidence of the effectiveness of this vaccine.

Canine Enteric Coronavirus (CCV) is a highly contagious but essentially mild disease that affects dogs on a global scale. Unless combined with the parvovirus it is rarely fatal. Vaccination against CCV is highly unnecessary.

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