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- How my dog stays healthy – Vaccinations for the dog - Part 2/33 - Tips for dog's health
How my dog stays healthy – Vaccinations for the dog - Part 2/33 - Tips for dog's health
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How my dog stays healthy – Vaccinations for the dog - Part 2/33
Serious infectious diseases, such as distemper and rabies, have become rare for dogs. This we owe to the vaccinations that activate the defense mechanisms of the dog, prevents disease and spreading the disease to other animals. Every dog owner has questions like: "Why at all do I have to vaccinate? - What vaccinations for dogs are available? - When, how often and against what should my dog be vaccinated? - What are the risks of dog vaccinations?" These questions I will answer in this article.
You can safely say that some vaccinations are absolutely necessary. Vaccination is an effective method to prevent infectious diseases, and the widespread. For the dog many vaccines are available that will fight various infectious agents. But the question is, how often should the dog be vaccinated. In the past, the vets have vaccinated or revaccinated too often against pathogens, in which the dogs were not necessary have to be vaccinated due to their husbandry or travel habits because they had no contact with certain pathogens. According to current scientific status a full primary vaccination for all the pups in the first two years of life against for the animal relevant pathogens is definitely necessary.
What vaccinations for dogs are available?
The vaccinations are divided into core- and non-core components. The core-components are compulsory vaccinations in which each dog must be protected because these pathogens threaten the pet owners or would cause life-threatening diseases of the dog itself, such as the parvovirus or distemper.
According to the Vaccination Committee Vet. (Germany), this includes vaccinations against the following diseases (July, 2013)
- HCC (hepatitis contagiosa Canis)
The non-core components are not equivalent for all dogs. The protection against these pathogens is only important if the dogs could actually come in contact with these pathogens and have an increased risk of infection.
According to the Vaccination Committee Vet. (Germany), this includes vaccinations against the following diseases (Effective July, 2013)
- Kennel cough (Bordatella bronchiseptica)
- Canine herpes virus infection ("puppy dying")
- Canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV)
- Dermatophytosis, Microsporum, Trychophytie (fungal infections)
- Lyme disease
When, how often and against what should my dog be vaccinated?
As mentioned at the beginning, the vets have revaccinated too often in the past and partially still today. Also they have vaccinated against pathogens, in which the dogs were/are not necessary to be vaccinated because they had/have no contact with certain pathogens.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association WSAVA has published a new guideline in May 2013 for the vaccination of puppies. ( Guideline WSAVA ).
Main messages of the new guideline of the WSAVA
The guideline recommends for all puppies the core vaccinations against distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. In countries where canine rabies is endemic, the dog should also be vaccinated against rabies. In the European Union, the rabies vaccination when traveling with the dog in other EU countries is legally bound.
The vaccinations for puppies against distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus, which should be given between 14-16 weeks of age, will provide immunity for 98% of vaccinated puppies for many years and probably for lifetime. Furthermore, the association recommends a booster twelve months after the last vaccination. Here, the booster will ensure immunity for dogs that may not have adequately responded to the puppy vaccinations.
It is strongly recommended to give as few shots as necessary to avoid unnecessary load on the body of the dog. For the three core vaccines distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus we should vaccinate against no more frequently than every three years, but it is not a must. An immune dog against these three diseases will not receive any additional immunity with a booster. The WSAVA supports the use of titre testing in which with a small blood sample the antibodies and thus the immunity of the dog can be detected. If there is an immunity a booster vaccination is unnecessary and superfluous.
Leptospirosis is, unlike in Germany, seen from the WSAVA as a non-core vaccination and should be restricted to use in geographical regions where a real risk of infection has been established or for dogs whose lifestyle places them a significant risk. The first puppy vaccination should be given between 12-16 weeks of age, with a second dose 3-4 weeks later. Leptospirosis vaccination usually provides protection for a maximum of 12-18 months so that the Association recommends an annual booster.
Recommended vaccinations according to the Guideline for the vaccination of small animals of the Vaccination Committee Vet. (Germany) (July, 2013)
- 8. week of life: HCC (hepatitis), parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis
- 12. week of life: HCC (hepatitis), parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, rabies
- 16. week of life: HCC (hepatitis), parvovirus, distemper, rabies
- 15. month of life: HCC (hepatitis), parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, rabies
Annual booster: Recommended for geographical regions where a real risk of infection has been established or for dogs that are exposed to the risk of infection because of their living conditions.
HCC, parvovirus, distemper
Recommended booster: Maximum each three years but is not a must. Can be determined by the titre testing.
Since the change of rabies Regulation of 20 December 2005 in Germany, the repeat vaccinations listed in the package inserts are valid. Here one should give rabies vaccines approved for the use of three years and not those that are approved for a year or two. A valid rabies vaccination is required for cross border travel with the dog. But also provides protection and can be useful because of residual risk that the dog may come in contact with rabies-infected import dogs.
Non-core vaccine recommendations
All non-core vaccines should in principle only be made when there is increased risk of infection. Here, an annual interview and a check-up with the vet by creating an individual vaccination schedule is the best way. In this case the vet considers the existing risk of infection of the animal.
What are the risks of dog vaccinations?
Basically, the risks of vaccination are low and are well tolerated by most dogs. But there is no completely risk-free vaccine, so side effects can occur. So that complications are minimized, the dog in vaccination should be healthy. The vet checks the body temperature and asks for existing diseases or disorders of the dog. After vaccination swelling and pain at the injection site may occur. Some side effects are only temporary and normal reaction of organism, which generally subside quickly. These include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, etc.
More serious are allergic reactions to vaccines, which appear rarely. The symptoms here are such as shortness of breath, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling of head, etc.
In very rare cases, an allergic reaction to vaccination can even lead to death if the dog is not treated immediately. Also very rarely are autoimmune diseases, such as thrombocytopenia.
According to the latest scientific knowledge it is recommended to vaccinate your dog with the core-vaccines in puppy age. The revaccination for HCC, distemper, parvovirus should be maximum refreshed every three years when necessary determined by a titre testing. For rabies it should be given the vaccines approved for the use of three years and not those that are approved for a year or two. Leptospirosis occurs at an annual revaccination if there is a real risk of infection.
The non-core vaccines should in principle only be made when there is increased risk of infection.
This can be set with the vet you trust in an annual interview.
In the next part of this article series I will address the issue of "diarrhea". Until then, keep it puggy!
---> Ticks in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 6/33 - Tips for dog's health
---> Worms in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 5/33 - Tips for dog's health
--> Fever and cough in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 4/33 - Tips for dog's health
--> Diarrhea in dogs - How my dog stays healthy - Tips for dog's health - Part 3/33
---> Overview - How my dog stays healthy - Part 1/33 - Tips for dog's health