A vaccine is a product which protects against a specific disease. A vaccination is the act of introducing the vaccine into the body. This will provide immunity to the disease.
The process whereby your dog becomes immune to a disease is called immunization.
For some diseases one vaccination is enough, for others, your puppy will need boosters throughout his life.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Many diseases are spread by germs. When these germs enter your body, they start to reproduce and will make you sick. Your immune system recognizes the germs as invaders and starts to produce antibodies to fight them. Often the antibodies can’t work fast enough to prevent you becoming sick but will help you get well.
Once these antibodies have been produced, they will help protect you from a second infection from the same disease.
Vaccines help your body develop immunity before you are exposed to the disease. When you are vaccinated, your body reacts in the same way as it would if it was invaded by germs – it produces antibodies.
A vaccine contains the same germs (in a weakened or dead form) as the disease itself. The antibodies destroy these weakened germs in the same way as they would the disease germs. It is almost like a practice run. This process gives you immunity from future attacks.
The vaccination process works just as well for your dog as it does for you.
pupypy Vaccination Schedule
6 – 8 weeks
Distemper, measles, parainfluenza
10 – 12 weeks
DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
12 – 24 weeks
14 – 16 weeks
Coronavirus, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis
12 – 16 months
Coronavirus, Leptotspirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 – 2 years
Coronavirus, Leptotspirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 – 3 years
Rabies (as required by law)
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What Diseases Do Your Need To Vaccinate Your Dog Against?
There are a number of serious diseases which you need to protect your dog from.
This bacterium is common and easily spread. It is the primary cause of kennel cough. the vaccine is injectible and nasal sprays are also available.
This serious disease attacks the nervous and gastrointestinal system of dogs and some other animals. It is spread through the sneezing or coughing of an infected animal. It can also be spread from shared feeding or water bowls.
There is no cure for this disease. If your dog becomes infected, the treatment is supportive care while your dog struggles to fight it off. It is often fatal.
Canine hepatitis is basically a disease of the liver, but it also affects the kidneys spleen, lungs and eyes of the infected dog. It is caused by a virus.
Dogs often overcome the mild form of the disease but the severe form can be fatal. There is no cure.
There is no vaccine for heartworm. However, it can be prevented with regular medication. This treatment should start when your puppy is around 12 to 16 weeks old.
The worms lodge in the dogs heart and they can travel through the rest of the body and sometimes invade the liver and kidneys. They can grow to over a foot long and if they clump together they can block organs. After infection, symptoms may take some time to appear. These include lethargy, loss of appetite and difficulty breathing.
It is spread by mosquitoes.
Corona Virus is a disease which affects the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Corona Virus can not be killed by any drug.
Canine Parainfluenza is one of the viruses which contribute to kennel cough.
Usually the infection is mild. But on rare occasions it is fatal. It is caused by inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by a number of viruses and bacteria including Canine Parainfluenza and Bordetella Bronchiseptica. It is easily spread between dogs.
The main symptom is harsh dry coughing. It can be cured by antibiotics, but these are not normally necessary. Cough suppressants can help your dog cope.
Leptospirosis can be spread from your dog to you. It is caused by a widespread bacteria which lives in soil and water. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stiffness, jaundice and muscle pain. It can lead to kidney and liver failure.
Antibiotics will work to cure the disease. They should be given sooner rather than later.
Lyme disease is spread by ticks. The disease affects the heart, kidney and joints. It can lead to neurological disorders if left untreated.
Early diagnosis is important and, although relapses and occur months later, antibiotics are important.
Related Article: How do I Know If My Dog Has Ticks?
Parvovirus can affect all dogs but puppies under 4 months old and unvaccinated dogs are at most risk.
It is a virus which attacks the gastrointestinal system and the symptoms include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever and loss of appetite. Dehydration can kill a dog rapidly - often within 48 to 72 hours. If you suspect your dog has this disease, get him to a vet as soon as possible.
There is no cure. The best you can do is control the secondary symptoms and keep him hydrated, giving his immune system a chance to fight off the illness.
Rabies is a disease of the central nervous system. It can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected (rabid) animal. Treatment should be sought urgently, otherwise death is highly likely.
In most states, rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory.
Discuss an appropriate vaccination schedule with your vet.