A better question would be: What are vaccines?
If you look up the definition of vaccines, on Wikipedia, it states that, “a vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease”. In other words….
You get protection from a certain disease without having to get that disease. Neat, huh?
So are dog vaccinations a con? We’d say a resounding no!
Dog vaccinations work in the exact same way. They offer protection from severe and potentially fatal diseases. There is, of course, a certain time period to work with, to ensure all-round protection for your puppy or dog.
Are Dog Vaccines Really Necessary?
Do you want your dog to live a long and happy and healthy life?
I am assuming you do. See where I am going with this?
Vaccines will aid your dog’s immune system to be better equipped with fighting and defending your pooch from any disease-causing microbes.
Vaccines push the immune system into action by making it recognize the antigens present in the body. So, if the real thing does happen sometime in the future, the immune system knows exactly what it is supposed to do to get rid of it.
Vaccines shorten the time it takes for an immune system to produce an antibody that can fight off the disease, enabling quicker recovery if infected, and reduce the effect of the disease altogether. Sounds all too familiar at this point in 2021, am I right?
The Different Types Of Dog Vaccinations
a beginner friendly guide
Core. And non-core vaccines exist.
Core vaccines, as can be assumed by the name, are vaccines your pup or dog must absolutely get. These are determined based on a universal risk factor, the impact of the disease, risk of transferrance to other dogs or animals, including but not limited to homo sapiens.
Few core vaccines are:
• Canine Parvovirus
• Canine Distemper
Few Non-core vaccines are:
• Canine Influenza (dog flu)
• Lyme vaccine
Every place has their own rules and regulations for vaccines. Some vaccines might be provided early to the pups, on a regular interval, whereas the same vaccine might be essential for an adult dog at a later stage in life.
Rabies vaccine, for instance, does not expire for about 3 or so years in fully-grown dogs. A puppy, on the other hand, would start his rabies vaccine course at 12 weeks, get the next shot at 1 year of age, and then at 4 years.
Are Dog Vaccines Optional?
Of course, there is always a choice. Not every canine 100% NEEDS a vaccine for every dog disease out there. Vaccines are generally good for their overall health and wellbeing but are not a ride or die situation.
As with anything and everything, a lot of factors come into play when administering vaccines:
• Medical history
• Travel habits
Are There Any Side Effects Of Dog Vaccines?
There are pros and cons to most everything in life you can think of. The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks.
Problematic reactions in your canine best friend are quite rare. Nonetheless, any new medication may or may not trigger any side effects. It is best to vaccinate your pooch when you can be present to keep an eye out for them.
If your dog does experience any reaction to vaccinations, symptoms may include:
• Loss of appetite
• Facial or paw swelling and/or hives
• Pain or swelling around the injection site
• Collapse, difficulty breathing, and seizures (anaphylactic shock)
It would be ok if you would just ignore the milder of these symptoms listed. But, vomiting and lethargy, the more severe symptoms, should NOT be ignored. Take your dog to the vet at once.
How Are Vaccines Administered?
Some can just be given right into the nose (such as in the case of kennel cough) and gone into the system that route. A huge majority of vaccines, however, require injection subcutaneously (under the skin), or intramuscularly (inside the muscles). Injecting vaccines produces a stronger response from the immune system.
When Do Dog Vaccines Work?
in just a few short hours of getting a jab, the immune system is already stimulated. It does take about a fortnight for your dog to be reasonably protected. Time period will vary for younger pups.
It might be safe to make your pup or dog stay away from other dogs or pups who may or may not be vaccinated. At least until the vaccination course is all done.
Does Size Matter?
Doses are not meant to be varied among the different breeds or sizes. It is not necessary that a less amount of the same vaccine must be administered to a dog of a less prominent stature. Nope. All sizes are considered equal.
There are no conclusive proofs that can arguably convince us of the fact that smaller dogs react negatively to some vaccines due to high dosage per body weight.
Can Vaccines Fail?
For a whole host of reasons, yes, vaccine failure is an actual thing. Here are some potential reasons:
This is the kind of immunity that is passed from the mother to the pup. If she had strong vaccination, either artificial or acquired over the course of her life. This immunity passes on to the pups via milk and can cause newer pups to not respond well to a vaccine. It does fade with time, roughly 12 weeks.
Incomplete Immune Response
Every dog has a different system. The way one dog’s immune system reacts could cause the vaccine to be effective for a couple of years, on the other hand, there could be a different dog, same breed, similar weight and height, which would hold on to the vaccine for a much shorter amount of time.
Time fades everything. Unless you keep getting your dogs booster shots and with some natural exposure to infections, immunity will steadily decline with age, and cease to exist altogether in older dogs.
(Hits close to home now in 2021…)
Mutated strains of the same microorganism can evolve over time, rendering the previous vaccine ineffective or only partially effective.
The list can keep going. These are not the only factors when it comes to vaccination failure. Remind yourself of the fact that no vaccine is 100% effective all the time.
Some vaccines may only work to reduce the severity of the disease, if contracted, they are not responsible to prevent the disease in all cases.
Do contact your vet if you see anything unusual with your dog after having gotten them a vaccine.
Are dog vaccinations a con? There’s always going to be anti-vaxxers in the world, but given the volume of pet owners and animals in the world and the majority being in favour of vaccinating their pooch, plus the strong scientific evidence in support of vaccinations in general, is it even worth the risk of not erring on the side of caution and having your dog vaccinated?