Protect Your Dog from Serious Diseases with Vaccines

Vaccinations: A Vital Part of Prevention

Vaccines are designed to prevent disease, rather than treat a disease. A vaccine trains the body’s immune system so that it is prepared to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms that it has not come into contact with before.

Vaccines contain antigens, which are substances that look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don’t actually cause disease. When the vaccine containing the antigen is introduced into the body, it stimulates the immune system. The pet’s immune system is now prepared, if and when it is exposed to the real disease. This preparation allows the immune system to either recognize and fight the disease off or reduce the disease’s severity.

There are different vaccines for different diseases and different types and combinations of vaccines. Consult with your veterinarian for a vaccination protocol that’s customized for your pet. Age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle are some factors that need to be considered. Most veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines. These are vital to all pets because of exposure risk, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans.


Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans.

Core canine vaccines include:

  • Canine Parvovirus (CPV or parvo) – a  viral disease affecting the intestines; it is transmitted through sniffing or eating infected feces or direct contact with an infected dog
  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) – an airborne viral disease affecting the lungs, brain and intestines transmitted through sneezing or coughing by an infected dog or wild animal. The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment.
  • Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) – infectious hepatitis – this viral liver disease istransmitted  directly from dog to dog through infected respiratory secretions or by contact with contaminated feces or urine.
  • Rabies – a fatal viral disease transmittedthrough direct contact (such as, through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva from an infected animal. People usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid

The rabies vaccine is a single dose given when the puppy is at least 12 weeks old. Rabies vaccinations are required by law in most parts of the United States. Booster vaccines generally are given to adult dogs every 1-3 years, depending on vaccine type and the dog’s risk factors.


Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk. Your veterinarian will consider the animal’s age, environment, lifestyle and overall health.

Non-core vaccines include those for the following diseases:

  • Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) is commonly known as “kennel cough” and also “infectious tracheobronchitis” – is caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. This bacterial infection affects the upper respiratory system.
  • Borreliosis (also known asLyme disease) is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to dogs and humans by the bite of infected ticks.
  • Leptospirosisis an infectious disease that causes serious illness in dogs, other animals, and people. The disease is caused by bacteria called leptospires that live in water or warm, wet soil.
  • Canine Influenza – Canine Virus-H3N8 (CIV or dog flu); Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2 (CIV or dog flu). These infections share similar symptoms, including fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and nasal discharge.


Vaccines significantly increase a dog’s likelihood of living a normal, healthy life. So, for proper protection, please follow your veterinarian’s advice and don’t miss scheduled vaccinations and boosters.

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