Pros and Cons of Vaccinations for Your Dog

Vaccinations are very important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases in animals. However, vaccines are not without their limitations and there are failures. In some cases the reactions or side effects can be worse than the disease they are being used to prevent!

Luckily there are vaccines to help prevent many illness that affect your dog. It has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. There are different vaccines for different diseases, and different types and combinations of vaccines.

Here are answers to some most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:

What exactly are Vaccines?

They help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. If your dog is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize it, fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

How Important Are Vaccines?

Vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog. However, not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every disease. While most veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs, factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

What Are Core Vaccines?

Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease and transmissibility to humans. They include canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies.

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dogs risk exposure.

What Vaccines Should My Puppy Get?

They must be vaccinated against rabies. They should also receive a series of vaccinations with a combination that protects against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis.

Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?

Each state has it’s own laws regarding the rabies vaccine. It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date canine rabies.

How Often Should My Adult Dog Be Vaccinated?

Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule. It depends on several factors:

  • Type of vaccine
  • Dog’s age
  • Medical History
  • Environment and Lifestyle

Some vaccines are required annually, others every 3 years or longer.

When Should My Puppy be Vaccinated?

Starting at 6-8 weeks of age a puppy should start receiving a series of vaccinations. If the mother has a healthy immune system, a puppy will most likely have antibodies from the mother’s milk while nursing. At 16 weeks the final dose should be administered.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaccines?

There is a small chance of side effects with any medical procedure. You must discuss your dog’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

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Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Autoimmune hemoltyic anemia
  • Local reactions
  • Systemic reactions
  • Nervous system problems
  • Reproductive problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Post vaccination sarcomas
  • Respiratory disease
  • Virus shedding
  • Maternal antibody interference
  • Certain drug therapies
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Stress

It is best to contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine.