A Complete Guide to Dog Vaccinations and Shots
We often come across people asking when do they need to start taking their pups to the vet, or why are there worms in their pups’ poop or vomit. Here’s a complete guide to dog vaccinations and shots to help owners know what they are and when they should be given.
Which Vaccinations Do Puppies Need?
Going to the vet repeatedly over several months for vaccinations, and then for boosters or titers throughout your dog’s life, may seem like an inconvenience, but the diseases that vaccinations will shield our pets from are dangerous, potentially deadly, and, thankfully, largely preventable.
Not every vaccine is required but each one is just as important in preventing diseases. Here is an overview of the diseases that vaccinations will help your pet to avoid.
This highly communicable bacterium causes severe fits of coughing, whooping, vomiting, and, in rare cases, seizures and death. It is the primary cause of kennel cough. There are injectable and nasal spray vaccines available.
A serious and contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and nervous systems of dogs, raccoons, skunks, and other animals, distemper spreads through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing) from an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment. It causes discharges from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and, often, death. This disease used to be known as “hardpad” because it causes the footpad to thicken and harden.
There is no cure for distemper. Treatment consists of supportive care and efforts to prevent secondary infections, control symptoms of vomiting, seizures and more. If the animal survives the symptoms it is hoped that the dog’s immune system will have a chance to fight it off. Infected dogs can shed the virus for months.
Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and the eyes of the affected dog. This disease of the liver is caused by a virus that is unrelated to the human form of hepatitis. Symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can overcome the mild form of the disease, but the severe form can kill. There is no cure, but doctors can treat the symptoms.
One of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough (see above).
This is a virus that usually affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, though it can also cause respiratory infections. Signs include most GI symptoms, including loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doctors can keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable, and help alleviate nausea, but there is no drug that kills coronaviruses.
When your puppy is around 12-to-16 weeks, talk to your vet about starting her on a heartworm preventative. Though there is no vaccine for this condition, it is preventable with regular medication. The name is descriptive—these worms lodge in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (that send blood to the lungs), though they can travel through the rest of the body and sometimes invade the liver and kidneys. The worms can grow to 14 inches long (ick!) and, if clumped together, block and injure organs. A new infection often causes no symptoms, though dogs in later stages of the disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite or have difficulty breathing. Infected dogs may tire after mild exercise. Unlike most of the diseases listed here, which are passed by urine, feces, and other body fluids, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Therefore, diagnosis is made via a blood test and not a fecal exam. The FDA has more information about heartworm.
Also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough results from inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, or other infections, such as Bordetella and canine parainfluenza, and often involves multiple infections simultaneously. Usually, the disease is mild, causing bouts of harsh, dry coughing; sometimes it’s severe enough to spur retching and gagging, along with a loss of appetite. In rare cases it can be deadly. It is easily spread between dogs kept close together, which is why it passes quickly through kennels. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, except in severe, chronic cases. Cough suppressants can make a dog more comfortable.
Unlike most diseases on this list, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria, and some dogs may show no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis can be found worldwide in soil and water. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be spread from animals to people. When symptoms do appear, they can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, kidney failure (with or without liver failure). Antibiotics are effective, and the sooner they are given, the better.
Unlike the famous “bull’s-eye” rash that people exposed to Lyme disease often spot, no such telltale symptom occurs in dogs. Lyme disease (or borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Transmitted via ticks, an infected dog often starts limping, his lymph nodes swell, his temperature rises, and he stops eating. The disease can affect his heart, kidney, and joints, among other things, or lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. If diagnosed quickly, a course of antibiotics is extremely helpful, though relapses can occur months or even years later.
Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the most risk to contract it. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates the loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea. Extreme dehydration can come on rapidly and kill a dog within 48-to-72 hours, so prompt veterinary attention is crucial. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling the secondary symptoms can keep him going until his immune system beats the illness.
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Treatment within hours of infection is essential, otherwise, death is highly likely.
When Should I Vaccinate My Puppy?
According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), puppies should be vaccinated every two to four weeks between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks with the final puppy vaccines given no earlier than 16 weeks of age. All puppies should receive the core vaccines of canine distemper, adenovirus 2, canine parvovirus, parainfluenzavirus, and rabies virus.
“During this critical time, maternal antibody from the mother can interfere with a long-term immune response, so the idea is to keep boosting until the pet’s immune system is capable of creating its own long-term protection,” says Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, San Diego veterinarian and author of All Dogs Go to Kevin.
Other vaccines that are considered to be non-core or optional—for example Bordetella, Lyme disease, and Leptospirosis—should be administered based on what you decide with your vet. Important factors include your dog’s lifestyle, breed risk factors, and where you live.
Kennel cough is good for breeds that have flat faces, who are more at risk for serious infections like pneumonia and also for dogs who have a lot of contact with other dogs. “Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection carried in the urine of mammals that dogs contract if they come in contact with standing water that an infected animal has peed in. That, along with Lyme disease, is a vaccination that’s good for dogs who might spend a lot of time outdoors.”
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
Here is a generally accepted guideline of the puppy vaccination schedule.
Here are the rates as of May 2018 from Fil-Chinese Group of Animal Clinics.
Cost of prevention is lower than cost of treatment
|5 in 1||Php 350|
|Heartworm||Php 550||Administered monthly (HeartGard*) or annually when puppy reaches 1 year (ProHeart 12)|
|Heartworm Test||Php 550||Every 6 months|
|ProHeart 12||Php 1800||Computed based on dog weight|
|Deworm||Php 500||Computed based on dog weight|
*HeartGard can be purchased in pet shops, check out Pet Passion in Diosdado Macapagal Blvd.What Else You Need To Know Post-VaccineMostly, puppies – after being vaccinated – will carry on as if nothing happened. However, some may exhibit one or two of the following signs:
- Some pain or discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site.
- Mild fever
- Decreased appetite and reduced activity / reduced desire to play.
- Respiratory signs such as sneezing, coughing and a runny or snotty nose may be observed 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine such as Kennel Cough vaccine
If any of the above signs persist for more than a few days, consult your veterinarian.In rare cases, dogs will exhibit an anaphylactic or allergic reaction minutes to hours after receiving a shot. Signs include:
- Persistent vomiting and diarrhea
- Sudden development of itchiness, hives or rashes
- Swelling of the face and/or muzzle
- Severe coughing, wheezing, or other respiratory distress
It is important to note that dogs should not be groomed or bathed 7 days after receiving vaccination. It is also imperative that they avoid getting stressed by excessive playing. Massage the injected area to avoid clumps.