Dog Vaccinations: Doing Shots


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Vaccinations play an important part in the preventive healthcare of your pet. There are nasty doggie diseases out there, and for some of these, vaccination is your pooch’s only real protection, as there may be no cure once the disease is contracted. After initial vaccination, many types require a schedule of follow-up shots, or boosters, to maintain a safe level of immunity.

Here are a few of the most common distressing, even fatal illnesses you can prevent with some timely injections:

Canine parvovirus:

This is a viral disease which is highly contagious and can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. Puppies are especially at risk, and if contracted, parvovirus can kill a pup in just two to three days after the onset of symptoms.


This disease is NO JOKE! It is caused by a virus that attacks the brain, and it is always FATAL. That means, once symptoms are displayed, there’s no cure, so that ounce of prevention is all you’ve got! It is spread to animals and humans by bites from infected animals. Vaccination against rabies is required for dogs by law.

Canine distemper:

Along with parvovirus, canine distemper is the leading killer of puppies. It is a highly contagious viral disease spread through direct or indirect contact with nose and eye discharge of infected dogs. Symptoms resemble a bad cold progressing to vomiting and diarrhea, and muscle twitching and seizures.

Lyme Disease:

Also called Borreliosis, this bacterial infection is primarily spread by carrier tick bites. A dog with Lyme disease will display symptoms like fever, lethargy, depression, muscle stiffness and lack of appetite. The infection can lead to lameness due to severe muscle and/or joint pain.

Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, and Bordetella:

This “complex” of viral and bacterial infections is responsible for “kennel cough” in dogs. Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough and runny nose and eyes.

So, it’s pretty clear, given what’s out there, that vaccinations to prevent certain illnesses are a good thing. Be sure to discuss with your vet the rationale behind your dog’s vaccination schedule and follow his or her recommendations based on your dog, his health, and his environment.

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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