A quick note on vaccinations.
Did you know there are over 10 vaccinations available for dogs?
Which ones are important to your dog?
As holistic veterinarians, we are concerned with over-vaccination. We will not recommend unneccesary or ineffective vaccines for your dog. It is our opinion that veterinarians have been over-vaccinating pets for years. There are, however, good medical reasons to vaccinate with certain core vaccines. Before vaccination, we will be glad to discuss any issues or concerns and will also tailor a vaccination program specific to your dog's lifestyle. In most cases, vaccination titers are available in lieu of vaccination.
Some of the more common canine vaccinations are described below:
Rabies is a disease nearly everyone has heard of. It is contracted when an animal is bitten by another animal that has been infected and Rabies is always fatal. Rabies vaccinations are required in all states for dogs. In every case, a pet will need to be put down if it has been infected with rabies. Almost all cases of Rabies in California involved infected bats.
This is still a very prevalent viral disease and is often fatal. Pets of all ages are susceptible to the virus but young puppies are the most severely affected. The virus is passed by direct pet to pet contact, contaminated bodily discharges, and/or contaminated food and water. It is extremely contagious, often resulting in severe upper respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological signs. Most dogs will die if infected and those that do not die become severely debilitated and seldom recover 100%. Vaccinations have proved to be effective, so it is critical to have your puppy vaccinated against this disease.
Adenovirus Type 2/Parainfluenza
These viruses lead to an infection of the liver and also of the respiratory tract. They are very contagious, and are often given in combination with the distemper vaccination.
Bordetella is a bacteria that can cause "kennel cough". Recent evidence suggest that people can get Bordetella from their pets. There are bacterins available to help prevent it. Dogs can get Bordetella from other dogs during walks around the block, at the beach, at the groomers, or at a bording facility. If your dog never leaves your home and never encounters other dogs, you probably do not need this vaccination. There is a new oral Bordetella bacterin that provides one year of immunity.
This disease brings on symptoms of fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and depression and it could lead to chronic kidney or liver disease. This disease is very severe, can infect people, and is passed from wildlife to dogs. If your dog has any potential contact with wildlife, this vaccination should be given yearly. There have been documented cases in North San Diego County. Depending on where you live and your dog's lifestyle, this vaccination might not be necessary.
This disease is more commonly referred to as “parvo” and is one of the leading causes of viral infections in dogs. It is highly contagious and transmitted by direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces. There are cardiac and intestinal forms of the disease, both of which are fatal in most cases when left untreated. The vaccination is highly recommended and is given in a series of shots starting when the puppy is about 8 weeks old.
The virus that causes canine influenza is H3N8. It was first recognized in Florida at a Greyhound racetrack in 2004. It has now spread to 39 states (including California). Recently a huge outbreak of H3N2 was reported in Southern California. Canine influenza is very contagious and spreads rapidly. It causes severe illness and, in some individual cases, dogs have died because of it. There is a vaccination to protect dogs that go to day care centers, boarding facilities, and grooming facilities where other dogs are housed and come into close contact.
Did you know there is a vaccination to help dogs deal with bites from rattlesnakes? If your pet is bitten unexpectedly and has been previously vaccinated, this could be the difference between life and death. Any pet bitten by a rattlesnake is still considered a veterinary emergency and owners should seek veterinary assistance ASAP.