Vaccines are an important part of preventative health care for our pets. Dogs are commonly vaccinated against some or all the following diseases. Core vaccines should be given to all dogs, whereas non-core vaccines are given where indicated by your dog's lifestyle or the geographic area in which you live. Vaccinations have proven to be effective over many years of use and I think it’s important to prevent diseases, but keep in mind that each pet is unique and it’s best to determine with your vet the best course of action, Your veterinarian will ask you questions about your dog’s lifestyle, environment, and travel to help tailor the perfect vaccination plan for him/her. AAHA’s Lifestyle-Based Vaccine Calculator uses factors such as whether your dog visits dog parks, groomers, competes in dog shows, swims in freshwater lakes/ ocean, or lives on converted farmland to help you and your veterinarian develop your dog’s individualized vaccination plan.
With the exceptions of legal requirements for rabies or vaccination requirements for kennels or travel, many veterinarians recommend vaccinating adult pets, as per The American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines. It should be noted that an annual (yearly) examination is necessary to make sure your pet remains in optimal health.
There are “core” and “noncore” vaccines. Vaccinations are designated as either core, meaning they are recommended for every dog, or noncore, which means they are recommended for dogs at risk for contracting a specific disease. However, your veterinarian may reclassify a “noncore” vaccine as “core” depending on your dog’s age, lifestyle, and where you live—for instance, in a region like New England where Lyme disease is prevalent, that vaccine may be considered “core.”
List of Core Dog Vaccines
• Rabies - A fatal viral disease that attacks the nervous system and that is contagious to humans.
• Distemper - A viral disease that is often fatal, affecting the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, and often the nervous system.
• Hepatitis / Adenovirus - Vaccination against adenovirus type 2 protects against both adenovirus types 1 and 2. Adenovirus type 1 causes infectious canine hepatitis, a viral disease that affects the liver and other organ systems, causing serious illness which is sometimes fatal. Adenovirus type 2 causes a respiratory illness and may be involved in the development of a kennel cough.
• Parvovirus - A viral disease that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, and which can be fatal.
• Parainfluenza - A viral disease affecting the respiratory system; may be involved in the development of a kennel cough.
List of Non-Core Dog Vaccines
• Bordetella - A bacterial infection that can cause or contribute to a kennel cough.
• Leptospirosis - A bacterial disease that affects several systems including the kidneys and liver; can be fatal. Only a risk in certain geographic locations so not used routinely for every dog. Your vet can help you decide if your dog should have this vaccination.
• Canine Influenza H3N8 - The canine H3N8 virus, also called Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), is a relatively new influenza virus in dogs. It causes flu-like symptoms in dogs and is very contagious when dogs are in close contact (i.e. kennel). Due to the contagiousness of this virus, some kennels, grooming salons, and similar businesses are now requiring this vaccination to prevent an outbreak. Aside from those situations, the decision to vaccinate your dog (or not) should be discussed with your veterinarian.
What Are the Letters in Combination Vaccines?
Viruses for which dogs are routinely vaccinated are often combined into a single shot as a combination vaccine (except the rabies vaccine, which is given separately). There are several different types of combinations vaccines available, and the individual components vary; they usually contain the core group of vaccines or the core with one or two other vaccines. Combination vaccines are often just called distemper or distemper/parvo vaccines, though there are more components than these. Each component is typically represented by an initial. What do all the initials mean?
• D = Distemper
• H or A2 = Adenovirus type 2; also protects against Hepatitis (caused by Adenovirus type 1)
• P = Parainfluenza (sometimes Pi)
• PV = Parvovirus (sometimes simply abbreviated as P)
• L = Leptospirosis
• C = Coronavirus
For example, your dog's certificate might state that along with her rabies vaccine, she received a DA2PPV vaccine. This means she was vaccinated for distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), parvovirus, and parainfluenza viruses.
Other common abbreviations for combination vaccines include DHPPV and DHLPPV, among others.
5 reasons to vaccinate your pet
1. Vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses.
2. Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented.
3. Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and from animals to people.
4. Diseases prevalent in wildlife, such as rabies and distemper, can infect unvaccinated pets.
5. In many areas, local or state ordinances require certain vaccinations of household pets
Do vaccinations have side effects?
It is common for pets to experience some or all the following mild side effects after receiving a vaccine, usually starting within hours of the vaccination. If these side effects last for more than a day or two, or cause your pet significant discomfort, it is important for you to contact us immediately.
• Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
• Mild fever
• Decreased appetite and activity
• Sneezing, mild coughing, "snotty nose" or other respiratory signs may occur 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine
More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these signs develop:
• Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
• Itchy skin that may seem bumpy ("hives")
• Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
• Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
• A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination. It should start to disappear within a couple weeks. If it persists more than three weeks, or seems to be getting larger, you should contact us immediately.