Melanie asked, "My doggies are 3 yrs old. I'm curious - they're up to date on shots as far as I recall. Do they have to have a certain shot yearly? Rabies?"
Melanie, Here is an article by us that describes the different vaccinations & when they should be given to your pet.
Canine Vaccinations: What, When, Why
Proper inoculation of vaccines for our canine companions is very important to help lower their risk to serious infectious diseases. There are many vaccines available and different protocols among veterinary clinics. However, there are a group of core vaccinations that should be given to every dog. These core vaccinations are Rabies and DAP (distemper virus, adenovirus, & parvovirus). The other vaccines that we strongly recommend, which are non-core vaccines are the Bordetella & Leptospirosis vaccines.
Rabies virus is a serious viral disease seen in mammals that adversely affects the central nervous system, leading to death. It is a zoonotic disease that’s typically transmitted through bites from infected animals. Once the symptoms have appeared, rabies is nearly always fatal. Death usually occurs less than a week after the onset of signs. Luckily, due to vaccinating dogs regularly, rabies in dogs is uncommon.
Puppies should receive their rabies vaccination at 4 months of age (16 weeks), one year later, and every three years thereafter.
Legally, all dogs must be vaccinated for rabies and this can only be done so by a licensed veterinarian.
Distemper virus, parvovirus, & adenovirus are all serious & potentially fatal diseases. The DAP vaccine, which protects against these viruses is especially important for puppies & juvenile dogs because their immune system is not fully developed yet. We treat MANY puppies/dogs that suffer from parvovirus each year. This is a very fast acting illness that causes severe morbidity & a fair amount of mortality. It is also a costly illness to treat. With proper inoculations with the DAP vaccine, all these diseases are 100% preventable.
For the DAP vaccine, it is extremely important that all puppies are initially vaccinated between 6-8 weeks of age, then every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. If the bitch's vaccine status is unknown OR she was not current on this vaccine, then the vaccine could be given as early as 4 weeks of age & may be valid to give up to 20 weeks of age. One year later, the dog must receive a DAP booster. After this one year booster, the DAP vaccine can be given every 3 years.
Be aware that skipping any of the puppy DAP vaccine series greatly increases your dog’s risk of contracting these diseases. Another risk is self vaccinating. When a licensed veterinarian gives this vaccine, not only are you ensuring that it was given and handled properly, but if the dog contracts one of these diseases, the cost of treatment is covered by the pharmaceutical company. When you get your vaccines from a feed store and give it yourself, there are no guarantees.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a spirochete bacteria. It is another deadly, serious infectious and contagious disease that can be easily prevented through vaccination. This disease is zoonotic, meaning it can be spread to humans, and is a health risk to humans as well. The bacteria causes major organ damage to the liver and kidneys. It is spread through the urine or contaminated water of infected wild and domestic animals. We live in a county that has wildlife and bodies of water everywhere, including gated Hidden Valley Lake. So, even our little dog companions, like chihuahas and yorkies are at risk. EVERY breed of dog is at risk. Treatment is through specific antibiotics and aggressive supportive therapy. Even with early detection and treatment, lasting organ damage and death are common.
The vaccination protocol includes a vaccine between ages 10-12 weeks, followed by a booster at 14-16 weeks. After that it needs to be given annually.
Bordetella is a respiratory disease that is very contagious between dogs. It is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation & disease of the upper airways & lower airways. This vaccine is commonly given to dogs that need to be boarded or groomed. But, even if your dog does neither of those things, the disease is easily transmitted at dog parks, the beach, or anywhere there are other dogs present.
There is a great oral form of this vaccine that is given annually. If your dog is frequently groomed or boarding & at risk, it may even be given every 6 months.
For more information on these vaccinations OR on other non-core vaccinations like Lyme & Rattlesnake, get in touch with your Veterinarian.
Brie Duff, DVM
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