Does Your Small Dog Really Need to be Vaccinated

Vaccines can help prevent many illnesses that affect pets. Additionally, they help prevent the spread of deadly and highly contagious diseases.

Some pet owners, however, choose not to vaccinate their dogs because the vaccines themselves can cause unwanted side effects and may not be effective against the disease they are intended to treat. 

BENEFITS OF VACCINATING YOUR DOG

  1. Protects your dog from highly contagious and deadly diseases.
  2. Most vaccines are effective at preventing the disease they are intended for.
  3. Most boarding kennels and pet day cares will require your dog to be vaccinated.
  4. The Law requires some vaccinations, such as Rabies.

There are two types of vaccines for your dog: Core Vaccines involving diseases that are easily transferred or fatal AND Non-core vaccines that are needed only if the dog is at risk for the disease.

 

CORE VACCINES

Rabies

A fatal and incurable disease, the rabies virus attacks the nervous system of dogs that have been exposed to the saliva of an infected animal through an open wound or bite. It is one of the few viruses that can be spread to humans from animals. All dogs should be vaccinated beginning at 12 weeks of age and followed by annual booster vaccinations. Every pet owner is required BY LAW to have your pet vaccinated annually against rabies.

Distemper

Canine distemper is a serious, often fatal viral infection. Dogs can become infected when they come into direct contact with a sick dog or with an environment contaminated by that dog. All dogs should be vaccinated against distemper beginning at 6 weeks of age with a series of vaccinations.

Risks of Vaccinating Your Dog:

  1. The distemper vaccine has been strongly linked to joint disease and arthritis.
  2. Post Vaccinal Encephalitis is a recognized complication of the vaccine.
  3. The vaccine can cause persistent skin problems and allergies. 

Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral infection, and can cause serious or even fatal disease in unvaccinated dogs, particularly puppies. All dogs should be vaccinated beginning at 6 weeks of age and receive a minimum of three doses between 6 and 16 weeks of age.

Risks of Vaccinating your dog:

  1. The vaccine has been known to create the disease it was intended to prevent.
  2. Risk of Vaccine Induced Autoimmune Disease (VIAD) is greater than the risk of Parvo.
  3. The Parvo vaccine has been linked to heart disease.

Adenovirus (infectious Hepatitus)
Adenovirus is a life-threatening virus that causes canine hepatitis, which results in swelling and cell damage in the liver. It can result in hemorrhage and death. This virus can be contracted through feces and urine of infected dogs. All dogs should be vaccinated beginning at 6 weeks of age and receive a minimum of three doses between 6 and 16 weeks of age.

Risks of Vaccinating your dog:

  1. Risk of VAID is greater than the risk of Adenovirus.
  2. The Adenovirus vaccine can cause renal failure.

 

NON-CORE VACCINES 

Bordetella (Kennel Cough)

The bacteria Bordetella is another cause common cause of kennel cough in dogs. Like parainfluenza, it is highly contagious and can be spread through the air. Vaccination is generally recommended for dogs who will be boarded frequently, attend doggy day care, or visit dog parks on a regular basis.

Risks of Vaccinating your dog:

  1. The vaccine has been known to create the disease it was intended to prevent.
  2. Risk of VAiD is greater than the risk of bordatella.
  3. The bordetella vaccine can cause pneumonia. 

Corona virus

Coronavirus is a disease that affects the intestinal tract. It usually doesn’t last too long, but it does cause numerous side effects and complications. It is contracted through contact with feces and saliva.

Risks of Vaccinating your dog:

  1. The Corona virus is very rare.
  2. The risk of VAID is greater than the risk of the disease and the vaccine carries a higher risk than most other vaccines. 

Leptospirosis

Leptospira is a life-threatening bacterial infection. Disease outbreaks are usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, including rats, cattle, pigs, horses, and deer. If your dog is frequently around these types of animals, he should be vaccinated.

Risk of Vaccinating your dog:

  1. Vaccines do not protect against all species of this bacteria and protection only lasts 6 months.
  2. Every Lepto vaccine contains an aluminum adjuvant, which causes cancer.
  3. The risk of AID is greater than the risk of Lepto and the Lepto vaccine carries a higher risk than most other vaccines.
  4. The Vaccine can cause adverse reactions in toy dog breeds. 

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is spread through a tick bite. Symptoms don’t always appear for all dogs with Lyme disease although some will show swollen lymph nodes or lameness. Untreated Lyme disease can cause extreme inflammation in your dog’s nervous system, heart and kidneys and potentially lead to death. The Lyme disease vaccination is usually only give to dogs in areas where Lyme disease is a concern

Risks to vaccinating your dog:

  1. Vaccine provides immunity for less than a year.
  2. Vaccine can cause renal failure.

Parainfluenza

Parainfluenza is a virus that is one cause of upper respiratory infections commonly known as “kennel cough” in dogs. It is highly contagious and can be spread through the air, causing coughing and sneezing in infected dogs.

Risks to vaccinating your dog:

  1. The disease, if contracted, is typically mild.
  2. The vaccine is not always effective in preventing the disease.

Despite the side effects of many vaccines, every dog should be vaccinated at the very least against the 4 core diseases of rabies, distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus which are easily transferred and can be fatal to your small breed dog.

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