By Deb Haines
What Exactly Are Vaccines?
Vaccines help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don’t actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If a dog is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.
How Important Are Vaccines to the Health of My Dog?
Bottom line-vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog. That said, not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every disease. It is very important to discuss with your veterinarian a vaccination protocol that is right for your dog. Factors that should be examined include: age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. Most vets highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs.
This link will provide you with complete details on vaccinations and proper age, when to vaccinate again… https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/WSAVA-Vaccination-Guidelines-2015.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1NcyaHq2MVCW2EWL9ZlvKSZJ7J7r-6ZoG48X-sF_IQ7dO43sIaidKp_G8
Are There Any Risks Associated with Vaccines?
Immunizations mildly stimulate an animal’s immune system in order to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This stimulation can create mild symptoms, ranging from soreness at the injection site to fever and allergic reactions. Another less common side effect is the development of immune mediated disease following vaccination.
That said, it is important to realize that vaccines have saved countless lives, and play a vital role in the battle against canine infectious disease. Additionally, rabies vaccinations have saved the lives of countless dogs-and many humans as well.
What Symptoms Should I Look For?
Most dogs show no ill effect from vaccination. Vaccine reactions may be minor and short-lived or require immediate care from a veterinarian. Clinical signs include:
- Loss of appetite
- Facial swelling and/or hives
- Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
- Difficulty breathing
It is best to schedule your dog’s appointment so that you can monitor him for any side effects following administration of the vaccine.
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