Understanding annual dog vaccinations
By Beth Crosby
Pet owners know dogs need annual vaccinations. But the human caregivers don’t always know about the viruses that core and non-core vaccinations prevent. (A future blog post will discuss annual feline shots.)
Core and non-core vaccines
Core vaccines are recommended for every puppy and dog. These shots fight rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and canine hepatitis. Today we will learn about rabies and distemper.
Non-core vaccinations might be recommended, depending on the dog’s lifestyle. For example, if the dog lives outdoors or is frequently boarded, additional vaccines are recommended. (This will be another blog post to look for.)
Most owners know what rabies is but might not know the dangers of the other preventable, serious, and sometimes deadly, viruses that vaccines prevent. You might appreciate the following review on rabies.
Rabies affects the central nervous system of humans and warm-blooded animals. The virus is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans or vice versa. Wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes carry the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Rabies is transmitted through saliva. (Most of you know that foaming at the mouth is only one symptom.) Animal bites or scratches where saliva is introduced into muscle and nerve ending-rich tissues.
Symptoms of the fatal disease can take from weeks to months to manifest, depending on where the bite or scratch is and how long the virus takes to travel up the spinal cord to the brain.
According to World Health Organization, dogs contribute up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans. Throughout the world, children under 15 account for 40% of humans who are bit.
The vaccination cannot cause rabies. (www.vaccines.gov/diseases/rabies/)
Distemper is a highly contagious and serious viral illness. No cure is available, but with immediate, aggressive treatment, an animal might survive. The strain of the virus and the strength of the dog’s immune system are factors in the dog withstanding the virus. Brain and nerve damage, such as seizures and paralysis usually result but might show up until later in life.
Veterinarians have no cure, so they treat the symptoms.
Canine distemper affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as the membranes of the eyeball and eye lid. The virus initially attacks a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes. It continues to increase for about a week before attacking the respiratory, urogenital (organs relating to urine and genital organs), gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Death can result two to five weeks after initial infection.
The virus spreads through the air and by direct (urine, blood, saliva, sneezing, coughing, sharing food and water bowls) or indirect (utensils, bedding) contact with an infected animal.
Affected wild life species include raccoons, wolves, foxes, coyotes, skunks, and ferrets. In addition to wild animals and infected dogs directly or indirectly transmitting the virus, unvaccinated mother dogs can infect their puppies.
Initial major symptoms of canine distemper are fever of 103.5 or greater, reddened eyes, and watery discharge from nose and eyes. Typical symptoms of a sick dog include lethargy, persistent coughing, vomiting, or diarrhea. Then distemper strikes other systems of the dog’s body. The nervous system is at risk, and as the brain and spinal cord are affected, the dog can have seizures, paralysis, and attacks of hysteria.
Certain strains of canine distemper can cause abnormal enlargement or thickening of the dog’s pads.
If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately isolate the dog to protect other pets and have your veterinarian diagnose and treat the virus.
At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. We are trained to look for symptoms of illness or changes in a pet’s behavior. We must be extremely careful that we do not spread illness from one pet to the other, so we require all pets to be vaccinated annually. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits during the fall and holidays.
pets.webmd.com/pet-vaccines-schedules-cats-dogs – This link provides a useful chart of core and non-core vaccines.
Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved.?If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv.