The Whys and Whens of Dog Vaccinations

When it comes to taking care of your dogs, vaccinations are a vital part of the routine.  They protect your dogs from diseases that pose a potential threat to their health at a point in time when they are most susceptible, but they also serve as a form of insurance against the need for potentially costly treatment later in it's life.  Even dogs that don't come into regular contact with other animals need protection.  Many virus particles are transmitted through the air or you could be bringing some home on your shoes.

The vaccines work by stimulating the animal's immunity and improving the body's natural defence systems.  Various types of antibodies and sensitised cells are stimulated which ward off the specific cause of the disease and help resist that particular infection.

There are four diseases most commonly vaccinated for in dogs:-

Timing is a very important factor in insuring that your dog is fully protected against preventable disease.  At birth, a puppy may receive a degree of immunity from it's mothers natural antibodies.  These fade quickly and the young animal must produce it's own to be properly protected.  Because of the uncertainty of exactly when the mother's antibodies decline, it is recommended that the breeder vaccinate the puppies at 6 weeks and that they are vaccinated again at 12 - 14 weeks and again at  16 - 18 weeks, by which time their own antibodies have started producing.  After that  the immunity tends to decrease, so a yearly booster may be needed to maintain protection levels, especially for Canine Cough.  

Check with your vet for the best vaccination protocol for your dog.


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