Sharing a home with a dog tends to be a package deal with a lot of love and responsibilities. If you do your due diligence as a pet parent, you know that food, toys, grooming, training, and veterinary care all play a part in their proper care. You also know that annual exams are needed to make sure your pet stays healthy with proper vaccinations and dental care, and to catch underlying diseases before they progress. What you may not know are the regulations and reasons for each vaccination that your veterinarian recommends. Vaccination protocols are typically split into core and noncore; this edition of “Pet Talk” is dedicated to informing you about everything you need to know about core canine vaccinations!
One of the most well-known viruses, rabies presents a serious threat to both humans and dogs alike. The rabies virus is transmitted through high levels of saliva, and typically is the result of a bite from an infected animal. There is no treatment, so once the disease has manifested it means almost certain death. Vaccination booster times vary with city ordinances, so you will want to talk to your veterinarian for a recommended schedule. In Grand Forks, city ordinances have recently been updated so that pet owners can be current on their rabies vaccines for up to 3 years, depending on the vaccine used. We recommend a 3-year vaccine through our practice, but pet owners must also keep in mind that it is extremely important to not go even a day over 3 years without a booster in order to stay current.
Distemper can spread rapidly through unvaccinated dogs of all ages in close quarters. Distemper can cause skin, brain, eye, and intestinal issues, and can be deadly. Even if a dog survives distemper, they may have permanent damage to their vision and nervous system, as well as their teeth.
Canine hepatitis is a highly contagious disease that is passed through items contaminated by urine and causes sore throat, coughing, and eventually kidney and liver failure. The onset of symptoms is extremely rapid and in some cases, death can result only two hours after initial symptoms begin.
Parvovirus is a serious disease and dogs under 6 months of age are more susceptible to the virus, but it can affect adult dogs as well. Symptoms include severe vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, dark or bloody feces, and fever. This disease is difficult to treat without veterinary intervention, and if not treated or if the dog is severely infected, the mortality rate is very high. It also has lasting effects, as the disease can live on items and places that it touches for up to two years and can only be removed with bleach.
Parainfluenza is highly contagious and symptoms can include dry cough, fever, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, sneezing, pneumonia, reduced appetite, and lethargy, as well as runny and inflamed eyes. Most dogs will recover on their own if infected, but veterinary care is still needed since the disease is extremely contagious. The vaccine does not prevent the spread of the disease, but it will limit the severity of the infection.
These are the core vaccines that we recommend every dog owner to stay on top of, not just for the protection and health of your furry friend, but to prevent the spread of these dangerous diseases. For more information on the vaccination protocol that we follow, visit this link. Stay tuned to “Pet Talk” later this month for our noncore edition to learn about more recommended vaccines based on your unique lifestyle, or for more information contact us at 701.757.3500.