As a conscientious pet owner you watch what you feed your dog. You also see to it the little friend gets the right amount of exercise and attention from you. Vaccinations are all a part of being an owner. There are some guidelines, however, you need to be aware of to be sure the medications are done properly.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has been issuing canine vaccine guidelines since 2003 to help owners better care for their pets. Core vaccines (canine parvovirus, distemper virus, and adenovirus) need to be done every 3 years. Non-core vaccines are recommended based on exposure due to the location of the animal and its lifestyle. These include canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV), canine influenza virus, and distemper-measles. Other vaccinations such as Lyme disease prevention can be influenced by the outbreaks in the area. This does not include the rabies vaccination, however, and this shot ought to be an annual event for your dog.
Doctors have their own protocols based on guidelines and their individual experiences with the given disease. A typical time line inherent in a given protocol would be the following:
Distemper, Parvovirus, MLV (at least twice), Rabies
Distemper, Parvovirus and MLV and Rabies
Vaccine antibody titers for distemper and parvovirus would be given every three years and rabies vaccination will be administered as required by the state law. It is obvious the first year of a dog’s life is a critical time for the vaccination. Puppies are at serious risk for any of the common canine diseases. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is fairly much in agreement with the guidelines and recommend to all veterinarians a basic vaccine program be instituted for all of their canine patients.
Some veterinarians criticize the guidelines because the immunizations for distemper and parvovirus offer protection for up to 5 years. Adenovirus will grant immunity for as much as 7 years. The critics are concerned that there may be too much vaccination being done. There is even a suspicion the vaccine makers are trying to push their product on to the dog-owning public. This hesitancy taken to the furthest degree is similar to the vaccination scare among parents who fear child vaccines will cause autism. The result has been some veterinarians deciding not to give the full vaccine dosage, claiming it is not necessary to do especially for those dogs who are smaller breeds. The arguments go back and forth regarding the need and/or safety involved. One concern correctly registered is that rabies shot might not be administered properly.
The overall health of the animal is what is most important in all of this. Smaller breeds may or may not need the dosage of the larger dogs, but not having the vaccines done at all can be dangerous. In the case of rabies, an owner’s refusal would be against the law. Vaccine antibody titers have been advocated by some as a means of determining if a particular dog needs a given vaccine, outside of the mandatory rabies shots.
Veterinarians have their office protocols and these should be examined by the pet owners. The protocols can be a legitimate topic of discussion. A pet owner also needs to ask a few questions about the veterinarian’s opinion regarding the guidelines. The questions are more a consumer’s right to know than anything else. Frankly, it is better to talk to the doctor than to rely on half stories and half-truths which may circulate on the Internet or YouTube. Rumor is no substitute for information from an experience practitioner in the field.
Protecting the dog against disease is something you want to do instinctively. Your furry little friend can’t tell you when he or she is sick. You are relied to do the needful to protect its health. Vaccinations properly scheduled are an important part of the protection.