Must Know Vaccinations & Prevention For Your Dog
(Provided by DVM Patricia Mahoney, Full Circle Veterinary Care)
Vaccinations for dogs are important . Here you will learn the must know topics about dog vaccinations and prevention. Rabies is a legal issue as well as a health concern, not only for the animal, but for public health, and the rabies vaccination should be routine. Other routine vaccinations depend on the animal’s lifestyle and exposure to diseases. You need to sit down with your veterinarian and make a good plan for your pet. Puppies require a series of vaccinations, which should be boostered when they turn a year old. Puppies are vaccinated at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks.
Once your animal is an adult, if you are uncomfortable with your dog having a lot of vaccines, testers are available where you can do a blood test so you can see if your dog needs a vaccine or not.
Distemper is a highly contagious, often fatal virus which affects respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. It is typically spread through air born infection. Vaccination is the effective control.
Parvo is also a highly contagious virus, spread by infected bodily secretion which damages the gastrointestinal tract and occasionally areas like the heart muscle. Vaccination is also the way to avoid this disease. Once a dog gets parvo, it will need to be under the care of a veterinarian, being treated in the hospital as it is life threatening.
In addition to your dog being well vaccinated, make sure the mother was well vaccinated. When I first started my clinic in a small town, I saw parvo all the time, as there weren’t a lot of vaccinations in the area. In my first year, I saw twenty cases, but now that more dogs are vaccinated, I see only one or two a year. All of the things puppies are routinely vaccinated for being important. A basic distemper shot includes distemper, parvo, hepatitis and parainfluenza as well as a rabies shot. This is a core vaccine wherever you live. There are other vaccines, which depend where you live. If you are in Texas, you need leptosporisis and bordetalla shots; that’s just part of being a Texan. There are many other specific shots that are important depending on where you live.
If your puppy is sick, it needs to be seen. One minute it could be fine and the next minute it can become gravely ill.
Parasites transmit diseases, and can transmit to humans. Heartworm disease is in all 50 states, so it is a routine prevention. It is affordable to prevent, but expensive to treat. What products you use and what age you start, is geographical location dependant.
When a dog eats its fecal matter, which is called coprathagia, it is thought to be a remnant from wolf behavior. In the wild, a young wolf needs to eat the stool of an older wolf to learn what is edible in their environment and it is thought that dogs have some residual of that behavior. A dog will do it while young and usually outgrows it. It is preventable by not giving your dog access to it; picking up the fecal right after the dog has been taken out. If there is a continuous problem, there is a medication made to prevent this activity if it becomes a habit.
When your dog is sick and needs a pill, you can often hide the pill in something they like to eat. There are some animals that will pick through things, so using peanut butter or something that is sticky, makes it harder to pick through. There are also pill treats which help hide the pill. You may need to learn to give a pill, as an animal may not be eating if it is unwell and you need to be able give a pill without them eating. To do this, place one hand over the muzzle, put the pill between thumb and forefinger and insert it into the mouth; you may need to rub the back of the dog’s throat to help it swallow. If your animal isn’t used to having your hand in its mouth and the dog isn’t feeling well to begin with, be aware it may be more apt to bite where it hadn’t before.
Now that you are in the know about your dog’s vaccinations and prevention be sure to bring up the topics we have covered with your local veterinarian. By keeping an open dialogue with your vet about your dogs vaccination and prevention care, it will help ensure everyone is on the same page.