Vet 101 – Understanding Vaccinations

Your new puppy’s immune system is highly susceptible to illness but you can protect your pup from serious diseases and painful illnesses with a series of vaccinations.

These are the recommended vaccinations for your pet, to help your new best friend stay healthy for life:

Rabies Vaccine
Rabies affects the neurological system and is transmitted by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies is on the increase in many areas and because it is transferable from animals to humans, vaccinated pets are considered a barrier to infection of people by rabid wildlife. Most communities require annual rabies vaccines for all pets, but some are now allowing three-year vaccines.

Combination Vaccine
Combination vaccines may include vaccines against canine distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and/or coronavirus. If the vaccine contains the five, it is called a five-in-one shot. Add the sixth or seventh, and it is may be referred to as a six-in-one or seven-in-one shot. Generally, puppies need at least three five-in-one shots spaced at two to four week intervals. Depending upon how old the puppy is when it first receives the vaccine, he may receive as little as two vaccines or as many as five over the course of his first six months of life. After the puppy series is completed, you should continue vaccinating your adult dog, typically once a year, though vaccination frequency is currently undergoing scrutiny by the veterinary community.

The five-in-one shot protects your puppy from:

Distemper, which affects the respiratory, digestive, and neurological systems. As it works through the body, distemper can cause pneumonia, paralysis, intestinal abnormalities, and death.

Parvovirus or parvo, which attacks the gastrointestinal system of a puppy, causing excessive bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and death. It spreads through contact with an infected dog, especially via infected feces.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that results in respiratory congestion, kidney problems, kidney failure, and liver problems.

Parainfluenza, a highly transmittable respiratory disease, which is also a predecessor to kennel cough.

Adenovirus, which affects the kidneys and respiratory system. Spread through body fluids of infected dogs, adenovirus is highly contagious.

Coronavirus, a virus that acts much like parvo, in that it attacks the gastrointestinal system. It produces vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy, which can lead to blood loss, dehydration, and death.

Bordatella (Kennel Cough) Vaccine
Dogs get kennel cough, a respiratory illness, from close contact with an already-infected dog. As a precaution, many veterinarians recommended that dogs get a bordatella vaccine once or twice a year, especially if the dog spends time in a dog park or in a grooming and boarding facility. Many kennels require evidence of bordatella vaccination before accepting dogs as boarders.

Lyme Disease Vaccine
Spread by infected ticks, Lyme disease affects joints and causes orthopedic problems. The vaccine is generally given to twice to puppies that are at high risk for coming in contact with ticks. Adult dogs are then vaccinated yearly.

by Rachelle Boatright