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Dog Vaccinations 101: Common Canine Diseases, Recommended Vaccinations

Your dog is part of your family. Are you ensuring his health and safety through puppy shots and dog vaccinations? Continue reading for a better understanding of common canine disease risks, recommended vaccinations and vaccine administration tips to help protect your pup!

Common Canine Diseases

Of all animal diseases, rabies is the most feared. The rabies virus attacks the brain and is most always fatal. Pets are exposed to rabies through the saliva of infected animals, commonly bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks. As a zoonotic disease, rabies presents grave risk to not only your pets but also you and your family, as the disease can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies disease is preventable through vaccinations. Watch for symptoms, such as seizures, paralysis, aggression and lack of coordination.

Distemper is the leading cause of infectious disease death in dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. There is no cure for this highly contagious viral disease, thus vaccination is critical. It affects the respiratory and nervous system. Primary vaccination should begin at 6 to 8 weeks old, as dogs often contract the disease at an early age.

Transmitted by exposure to contaminated feces, this contagious viral disease can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting in dogs of all ages. The disease is especially deadly in puppies.

Coronavirus is highly contagious and can weaken dogs by causing severe diarrhea and vomiting. The disease is sometimes confused with parvovirus. The two diseases may occur simultaneously, in which case symptoms are more severe.

This viral respiratory disease is often responsible for kennel cough in dogs. Infection can be severe in young puppies. Parainfluenza protection is often included in distemper-parvo vaccines. Should your dog contract Parainfluenza, look to an antibiotic treatment to help speed recovery.

Hepatitis (Adenovirus)
Found in feces and saliva, this virus causes fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Canine Adenovirus Type 1 infection causes infectious hepatitis and may lead to severe kidney damage. Type 2 can be a complicating factor in kennel cough. Vaccines are available that protect against both types of adenovirus.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease carried by wildlife. A dog can contract the disease from infected animals or by drinking contaminated water, putting them at risk for developing kidney and liver disease. Yearly vaccination limits your dog's chances of acquiring the disease.

Transmitted by nasal secretions, Bordetella causes coughing and sneezing. Frequently involved in kennel cough complex, this bacterial infection may occur simultaneously with distemper, adenovirus type 2 infection, parainfluenza and other respiratory infections.

Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is an infection caused by a tick-transmitted bacteria. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, muscle stiffness, depression and lack of appetite. In more severe cases, lameness occurs as a result of severe musculoskeletal or arthritic type joint pain. Learn more about Lyme Disease in this article.

Giardia in dogs, cats and humans is caused by the waterborne parasite, Giardia lamblia. The parasite is found in untreated water sources, like puddles, ponds and creeks. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, weight loss, fever, dehydration and nausea.

Suggested Puppy Shots, Dog Vaccinations and TimingĀ 

Vaccinate Against These Disease Risks Risk-based Diseases
6 to 8 weeks DHPP (Distemper, Adenovirus [Hepatitis], Parainfluenza and Parvovirus) Bordetella, Canine Influenza
10 to 12 weeks DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease
12 to 24 weeks Rabies, DHPP or DHLPP (also includes Leptospirosis) N/A
14 to 16 weeks DHPP or DHLPP Coronavirus, Lyme Disease, Leptospirosis
12 to 16 months Rabies, DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease, Canine Influenza
Every one to two years DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease, Canine Influenza
Every one to three years Rabies (as required by law) N/A

Vaccine Administration Tips

With background on how to administer dog vaccinations, administration can be simple! Tune into the video at the top of this page, and tips below, for a quick guide on how to vaccinate dogs.

Dog Vaccination 101

To administer a vaccine subcutaneously: Simply pick up the skin, insert the needle, draw back on the plunger (aspirate), and inject. If blood appears, it means the tip of the needle is in a vessel. Just withdraw the needle and select another site. If air is drawn in freely, the tip of the needle is not under the skin; simply reposition the needle and aspirate again.

To administer a vaccine intramuscularly: Some vaccines must be given intramuscularly (IM). The best site to administer a vaccine intramuscularly is in the muscle of the rear leg, between the hip and knee. Aspirate as with the subcutaneous injection.

Mixing two-part vaccines: Some vaccines require mixing. They come in two vials, one containing the liquid portion and the other containing the dried portion. To mix two-part vaccines, first draw the liquid portion into the syringe. Inject the liquid into the dried portion and mix until dissolved. Then, draw the mixture back into the syringe.

Help your pet enjoy a healthy, happy life. Find trusted vaccines and more on our website and in our catalog for his ultimate protection.

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