To stay healthy, your dog requires regular vaccination. Use this schedule to learn more about how vaccines work, what kind of vaccines are best for your dog, when your dog should be vaccinated, and how often.
Immunity: A Body’s Memory of Past Infections
Your pet has an immune system designed to seek out germs and eliminate them from the body. Once the immune system successfully destroys an invading germ, it creates antibodies that ‘remember’ what the germ ‘looks like’. This antibody memory is called immunity and means that the immune system can identify and kill the germ more quickly and effectively if it ever infects the pet again.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines work by tricking the body into believing it is infected with a germ. You can explore this topic more extensively on the AAHA website, but for now, here is a brief description of each.
Attenuated Vaccines: These vaccines contain a weakened version of the germ that’s too feeble to cause illness, but strong enough to cause an immune response.
Inactivated or Killed Virus Vaccines: As the name implies, these vaccines contain a killed version of the germ. They also contain an adjuvant, a chemical added to keep the killed germ intact longer in the body and to increase the body’s response to it. Unfortunately, some research shows that adjuvants may be responsible for aggressive cancers in cats. For this reason, Brookfield does not use adjuvanted-vaccines when protecting cats against disease.
Recombinant Vaccines: These vaccines pair the antigenic portion of the germ (the part of the germ to which the immune system responds strongest) with a live virus that is of no threat to the animal. At Brookfield, we use recombinant feline vaccines because they do not contain adjuvants.
Toxoid Vaccines: These vaccines contain analogues of whatever toxin you are trying to protect the pet against. A vaccine against rattlesnake venom is an example of a toxoid vaccine. The vaccine contains enough of the rattlesnake toxin to create an immune response, but not so much as to endanger the health of the animal.
Therapeutic Biologics: Unlike the other vaccines listed, therapeutic biologics help treat illness, not cure it. Popular ones contain chemicals and/or antibodies that bind to harmful antigens and reduce or eliminate their effect on the pet’s body. An example of a therapeutic biologic is the ‘vaccine’, canine atopic dermatitis immunotherapeutic, which binds to the chemical that causes itchiness in dogs.
Why Does My Puppy Need So Many Vaccines?
Puppies require a series of vaccines, spaced three weeks apart, from the age of 6 to 12 weeks because the immunity passed onto puppies through colostrum (mother’s milk) roadblocks some of the effectiveness of the initial doses. As immunity from the mother wains, the consecutive series of vaccines works to stimulate the offspring’s immune system so that the pet has a consistent level of protection throughout its initial weeks of life. Once the series is finished, the puppy possesses enough immunity to guard against disease for a full year. Thereafter, vaccines are re-administered as needed, throughout the pet’s life, to boost immunity.
There is so much great information about vaccines already written, that we’ll just provide a brief overview of all the vaccines we recommend and then offer you this link to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) where you can learn more details. The American Animal Hospital Association is the veterinary industry’s standard of excellence and Brookfield is proud to be in the elite 15% of U.S. veterinary practices that are accredited by this globally-respected organization.
Rabies is a fatal illness that can infect many mammals including humans. It is contracted by physical contact with the body fluids of infected animals. Vaccination against rabies is required by law.
Distemper or DA2PPV
At Brookfield, our distemper vaccine is actually a combination vaccine (abbreviated DA2PPV) that protects against four virulent, serious diseases. The vaccine includes protection against Distemper, Adenovirus virus type 2 (a virus related to the virus that causes hepatitis), Parainfluenza, and Parvo. Use the hyperlinks to find out more about each.
We have written a lot of material on the prevalence of Lyme disease in our area and the importance of vaccination. The vaccine that we use, the Zoetis Vanguard, is considered to be one of the safest and most effective vaccines against Lyme disease on the market.
Kennel Cough or Bordetella
Kennel Cough is a generic term used to describe infection by one or both upper respiratory germs, the Bordetella bacterium and the Parainfluenza virus. Since protection against Parainfluenza is already covered by our distemper combination vaccine, we only need to vaccine your dog against Bordetella.
Canine influenza outbreaks occur consistently throughout the U.S (Use this link to see a current map of outbreaks in the U.S.). Canine Influenza is highly infectious and sometimes fatal.
Leptospirosis is another zoonotic disease (a disease that can be contracted by humans). Leptospirosis is known to be transmitted through the urine of infected animals and is highly communicable. Roughly 5% of animals that contract Leptospirosis die. Any pet that frequents areas where there are rats, mice, raccoons, possums, skunks and other similar wildlife are at risk of exposure to Leptospira, the bacteria that causes the disease.
Brookfield’s Puppy Vaccine Schedule
For those of you with new puppies, we’ve included an outline of what vaccines your pet will receive in the first 8 to 17 weeks of his or her life. But keep in mind that every vaccine series is customized to the needs of your puppy based on age, lifestyle, size, breed, and history of previous vaccines. In cases where the dog is very small, we may separate the vaccine series further so that we don’t over tax your pet’s immune system. Any questions? Just call us up or use the ‘contact us’ form to shoot us an email. We’ll be happy to help you!
- 8-9 weeks: DA2PP 1*, Bordetella 1, Leptospirosis 1, Lyme 1
- 12-13 weeks: DA2PP 2, Bordetella 2 ,Leptospirosis 2, Lyme 2, Canine Influenza 1, Rabies
- 16-17 weeks: DA2PP 3, Canine Influenza 2
*Vaccines have to be administered in a series for your young pet to acquire immunity. Numbers after the vaccine indicate which of series is being administered. In the case of the DA2PP vaccine (Distemper vaccine), your puppy needs at least three injections between 8 and 17 weeks for the vaccine to be effective.
Is it Safe To Vaccinate My Dog?
Yes. Vaccines are incredibly effective at stopping the most common and severe disease in dogs. In some cases, dogs experience self-limiting pain or mild inflammation at the injection site. Both are caused by your dog’s immune system reacting to the vaccine and are signs that the vaccine is working. In very rare cases, dogs can have more serious reactions to a vaccine, but these patients typically react within minutes of receiving the injection and can be treated while they are at our office.