Should You Vaccinate Your Dog?
The Pros and Cons of Dog Vaccinations
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As with all medical interventions, at some stage people will dispute the safety of a program. This is the same
with animal vaccinations.
You may ask if it is safe to vaccinate your dog.
If you don’t think it is you need to be aware of the possible consequences for your dog should he contract the
disease he could have been vaccinated against.
What are vaccinations?
Vaccinations are medicines injected into your dog which stimulate the immune system to fight a certain disease.
When the vaccine enters your dog’s body, antibodies will sense it as alien and destroy it. This works to
protect the dog against the ‘real’ disease because the antibodies can now recognize the invader and work rapidly to
kill it, should it occur again.
There is some concern that by giving dogs vaccinations you are going to make them sick. Vaccinations these days
are less intense and very few dogs get sick from them.
Reactions to vaccinations do occur in some dogs. Reactions may be in the form of slight fever and pain. Some
dogs experience vomiting, swollen face or hives. This can be counteracted by giving your dog an antihistamine just
before his vaccination shot. Small and young dogs tend to react more than bigger breeds. If your dog
had a reaction to a previous vaccination, ensure you tell your veterinarian before his next vaccination is due.
The recommended vaccination schedule is as follows:
6 - 8 weeks: First puppy vaccination of DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus,
Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza) plus Corona
11 - 12 weeks: Second puppy shot (DHLPP) + Corona
15 - 16 weeks: Third puppy shot (DHLPP) + Corona
One year: Rabies (over three months in New York); repeat every three years
Annually: DHLPP, Heartworm test and Bordetella (if required)
There is a theory of puppies being overloaded with combination vaccines. However this is not
accepted by most veterinarians.
Some people think it wise to inject each different vaccine every few days, rather than all at
once. This does not work due to the dog’s body using a blocking effect from the first vaccine, not allowing
it to respond to any further vaccines given in a close time period.
Vaccinations are thought to be dangerous by some groups and to make an informed decision, you
should study all the literature both for and against vaccination.
If you consider the vaccination risks are small compared to the risk of your dog contracting rabies or
distemper or the parvovirus, then you should follow a vaccination program for your dog.