Sticking to disease - the importance of immunizations
Symbol survived parvo with hart's
Vaccinations have become commonplace for dogs as they can
effectively prevent potentially life threatening diseases like
parvovirus, distemper and rabies. Not only can vaccinating
protect your pet's health but they can also keep humans healthy as
well since some canine illnesses can be transferred to
Why do vaccinations exist?
Vaccines help prepare the body's immune system to fight the
invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain
antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the
immune system but don't actually cause disease. When the
vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly
stimulated. If a dog is ever exposed to the actual disease,
the immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off or
at least reduce the severity of the disease.
What are core vaccines?
Core vaccines are defined as those which all dogs should
receive. These vaccines protect dogs from severe,
life-threatening diseases which have global distribution.
Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of
exposure, severity of disease and transmissibility to humans.
Canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are
What are non-core vaccines?
Non-core vaccines are those that are required by only those dogs
whose geographical location, local environment or lifestyle places
them at risk of contracting specific infections. Bordatella
bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria are
What are the risks associated with vaccines?
Immunizations mildly stimulate the dog's immune system in order
to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This
stimulation can create mild symptoms, ranging from soreness at the
injection site to fever and allergic reactions.
Common side effects of immunizations can include, fever,
sluggishness, loss of appetite, facial swelling, hives, vomiting,
diarrhea and pain/redness/swelling around the injection site.
Less common effects of immunizations can include lameness,
collapse, difficulty breathing and seizures.
If you are concerned at all with the potential side effects of
vaccinations, please talk to your veterinarian about what is best
for your dog. The decision about vaccinations will be based
on a number of factors including the lifestyle and age of your dog,
overall health and the potential to be exposed to disease.
For some dogs, a titer test can be done to measure the amount of
antibodies for various diseases in your dog. These tests can
help determine the frequency with which to administer
While any medical procedure, including the administration of
vaccinations carry a degree of risk, the risk is generally much
greater if a dog is not vaccinated at all. Vaccinating your
dog has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help
him/her live a long and healthy life and therefore a pillar of
responsible dog ownership.