There are times when our dogs need vaccinations as well as pills or injections to keep them at their healthy best. But what happens after they receive this puppy vaccinations?
Your dog has received all his necessary puppy vaccinations. Then a year or so later, you receive a reminder from your veterinary clinic to book an appointment for your dog to receive booster shots. If you question if these revaccinations do more harm than good, you’re not alone. Just like in children, the topic of revaccinating pets has sparked debate. Allergic reactions to booster shots have occurred in pets, as in people. They can cause swelling at the point of injection as well as diarrhea or vomiting and other symptoms.
In response, the American Animal Hospital Association revamped vaccination guidelines after research suggests that core vaccines provide more than a year of immunity. However, the rabies vaccine, often given every three years, is mandatory by law.
What’s your alternative to booster shots? The titer test. This blood-drawn test measures the concentration of disease-fighting antibodies in the blood, an indicator of the protective immunity status for your dog. Discuss this option with your veterinarian. (For rabies, some states won’t allow this test instead of the vaccine. See rabies challengefund.com for information on research into rabies vaccinations frequency concerns.)
The bottom line: Discuss your dog’s lifestyle, age and health with your veterinarian as well as the pros and cons of each of these vaccines. Simply skipping booster shots without weighing all the options with your veterinarian can put your dog at undue risk for preventable diseases like parvovirus, distemper and adenovirus.
Not sure which puppy vaccines to get? Certainly discuss your dog’s health, travel and activities with your veterinarian. But to assist you even more, the American Animal Hospital Association created a nifty program called the lifestyle-based vaccine calculator. Just go to this link: aaha.org/guidelines/canine_vaccination_guidelines/vaccine_calculator.aspx, and respond to a series of questions about your dog’s age and lifestyle habits.
Thumbnail: Photography ©Evgeny Sofrygin | Getty Images.
Editor’s note: This article appeared in Puppies, a special issue from Dogster magazine. Look for Puppies on a newsstand near you!
Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach™, is a pet behavior consultant, master certified pet first aid instructor, author and host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. Learn more at ardenmoore.com.