Vet Blog

Your Complete Guide to Dog Vaccinations

November 03, 2020

Just as we, humans, receive vaccinations when we are born and at particular points throughout our lives, our pets also need dog vaccinations to strengthen the immune system, prepare it for fighting off infectious diseases, and to prevent certain infections altogether.

If you have a dog or any other kind of pet, you know the importance of vaccinations. By helping to prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and also from animals to people, they protect not only your canine companion but you as well. Read on for a full guide to the dog vaccinations in La Porte, TX that your pet needs.

Core Dog Vaccinations

The core dog vaccinations are as follows:

  • canine parvovirus ("parvo")
  • canine distemper
  • canine hepatitis
  • rabies

Canine Parvovirus is a very contagious disease that can cause death within forty-eight to seventy-two hours after initial clinical symptoms occur. While all dogs can be affected by this dangerous viral infection, unvaccinated canines and puppies under four months of age are most vulnerable. Some major symptoms include fever or hypothermia, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bloating, and lethargy.

Canine Distemper is caused by a virus that targets dogs' and puppies' respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. This disease is also very common in wildlife and can closely resemble rabies. Symptoms include pus-like discharge from the eyes, fever, nasal congestion, coughing, lethargy, vomiting, muscle twitches, seizures, partial or complete paralysis, etc. While the disease may not always be fatal, it can leave permanent damage to the nervous system.

Canine hepatitis is a liver infection in dogs that is spread by the urine, fecal matter, saliva, blood, and nasal discharge of affected dogs. Even though sometimes dogs can recover spontaneously, severe cases can lead to bleeding disorders and death. Loss of appetite, depression, fever, and coughing are among the symptoms of this disease.

Rabies is a fatal disease attacking the nervous system. It can easily be contracted by both animals and people. It is most often transmitted by a bite from an infected animal, but it can sometimes be contracted when the saliva of an infected animal comes in contact with an open cut on the skin. Symptoms include aggressive or unusually affectionate behavior, fearfulness, depression, self-mutilation, difficulty swallowing, seizures, paralysis, etc.

Getting these dog vaccinations is vital to your dog's health. Periodic rabies shots are legally required by most states, but the time frames vary depending on your state and the age of your dog. Rabies can be very scary for both you and your dog. If you suspect that your dog may have been bitten by an infected animal, you should take an immediate trip to the animal hospital or to the emergency vet. This is necessary even if your dog has had his or her vaccination rounds. Dogs who have bitten a human and are suspected to have rabies are usually put under observation for a period of ten days.

Lifestyle Dog Vaccinations

The core vaccinations above are absolutely vital, but there are optional vaccinations as well. Lifestyle dog vaccinations in La Porte, TX include:

  • canine influenza or dog flu
  • Lyme vaccine
  • leptospirosis
  • Bordetella
  • canine enteric coronavirus
  • canine adenovirus 2
  • canine parainfluenza
  • heartworm disease
  • intestinal worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, etc.)

While these dog vaccinations are considered to be nonessential and not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every possible disease out there, they are important for the overall health and wellness of your pup. Things like your dog's age, environment, lifestyle, travel habits, and medical history should be considered and discussed with your veterinarian to determine what is best for your dog.

The Importance of Dog Vaccinations

Without dog vaccinations, diseases like rabies and distemper that are common in wildlife can easily infect unvaccinated pets, as we already know. Vaccinations are crucial if you want to ensure a healthy and happy life for your dog. As mentioned above, states and localities often have statutes and ordinances in place with certain requirements when it comes to vaccinating your dog or other household pets.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), veterinarian experts are in agreement that the widespread use of vaccinations has prevented disease and death in millions of animals within the last century.

Do Dog Vaccinations Come With Side Effects?

While there may be minimal risks associated with vaccinations, particularly if your dog has an ongoing medical condition, the majority of dogs respond well to getting vaccinated and rarely display any side effects. Short-term side effects can be relatively common, even though they are most often nonexistent.

Minimal side effects can include temporarily decreased activity, decreased appetite, sneezing, light coughing, runny nose, mild fever, or swelling at the injection site. Discussing available options with your dog's veterinarian and weighing out all possibilities is very important when it comes to necessary vaccinations. While serious reactions to vaccinations are rare, they can occur. Symptoms like severe coughing; itchy and irritated skin; vomiting and diarrhea; swelling around the eyes, neck, and face; difficulty breathing; and collapse or seizures are signs of adverse reactions. If your dog starts to experience any of these after being vaccinated, you should take him or her to your veterinarian or to the emergency vet immediately.

Keep in mind that while most dog vaccinations are extremely effective in preventing future diseases when your pet is on a vaccination schedule, it is of utmost importance to follow it closely in order to avoid any gaps in protection. Needless to say, the same goes for following through with the series of vaccination shots that are received during the initial stages of a puppy's life. Incomplete puppy vaccination series can leave your pet unprotected and susceptible to infections.

Call Bay-Porte Animal Hospital at (281) 471-6834 to start your pet on the right track with dog vaccinations in La Porte, TX!