The Basics of Canine Vaccination

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As of the year 2004, there are no more canine-specific cases of rabies in the US. In the 130 years since the rabies vaccine was first invented, a lot of other vaccines were developed to

prevent diseases like parovirus

, distemper, parainfluenza, canine hepatitis, Lyme disease, kennel cough, canine influenza and leptospirosis.

How does vaccination affect the immune system of a dog?

Regarding the oft-mentioned claim that vaccines can affect the immune system of a dog adversely, it has to be said that it can occur but is rare and has to do with the genetics of the dog more than anything else. For instance, researchers have discovered a condition in dogs that can cause their immune system to attack its RBCs and it has been related to vaccination, although with an incidence rate of one in a million.Some specific breeds, like dachshunds and weimeraners, have developed an autoimmune condition as a response to vaccination, but they are very rare and are linked to specific genetic defects. Moreover, they would be caused due to infection by the particular disease anyway.

Vaccination frequency

One of the major claims of anti-vaxxers is that dogs are injected with shots way too frequently. Although it may have merit, it is entirely dependant on the dog. Small dogs are likelier to

exhibit allergies to certain vaccinations

and older dogs with a low exposure risk might not need vaccination any longer.It is crucial to keep in mind that there are two kinds of canine vaccines – core and non-core. The former are for diseases which are common, severe and easily transmitted. Moreover, there are conditions in which the vaccines have been demonstrated to be effective and safe. For canines, core vaccinations include parovirus, distemper, rabies, and hepatitis.Non-core vaccinations protect dogs against organisms which can cause mild diseases – these usually clear up by themselves – and are nor easily transmitted or widespread. These vaccines might have some risks or might not be as effective as you would expect it to be. Therefore, they are used under specific circumstances and are not categorically recommended for all kinds of dogs.

Talk to the vet

All these concerns should be discussed with the vet, although most of the vets will recommend core vaccinations at regular intervals. The major reason for this is the fact that it is impossible to figure out the immunity level to a particular disease in a dog. One dog might develop lifetime immunity with just a single shot, while another might develop complete immunity without the help of boosters. There is no way to tell the difference. Remember that prevention is always better than a cure.In conclusion, vaccination benefits considerably outweigh the risks and most of the canine diseases have been eliminated. However, it won't remain that way if your dogs don't stay vaccinated.

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