Just like for us humans, vaccinations for dogs which are required by law, serve to prevent major infectious diseases. That is why it is necessary to be well informed in order to protect your pet’s health.
Why should you vaccinate your dog?
Vaccines are very important because they stimulate the animal’s body’s defences against specific diseases, thus causing antibodies to act. In the first period of life, puppies are protected from infectious diseases by colostrum, contained in the mother’s milk. However, this barrier only lasts for about three months. From the fourth month onwards, antibodies decrease considerably. It is therefore essential to have already received the first doses within 6-8 weeks.
Compulsory dog vaccinations
The only mandatory vaccination for dogs is the rabies vaccine, and it is only required for those travelling abroad but is strongly recommended for all our four-legged friends. It is a virus that can also be transmitted to humans through bites or contact of a wound with saliva or urine from infected animals. It causes severe symptoms that put the nervous system at risk.
There are also ‘core’ vaccines that are very important for the dog’s health, but not compulsory by law. Here are the diseases for which it is recommended to vaccinate your dog:
• Canine distemper virus (CDV): this is a very contagious disease that causes severe respiratory, gastro-enteric and neurological symptoms, especially for young animals. It is transmitted through direct contact with an animal that already has the infection and carries an 80% mortality rate. Unfortunately, in most cases treatment is useless because the disease has a long incubation period. Consequently, by the time the presence of the infection is detected, it is already too late.
• Parvovirosis: causes severe gastro-enteritis in the infected animal and in its most severe forms also gastrointestinal bleeding and septic shock. It is also very risky for other animals because faeces, saliva, urine or even contaminated clothing or fur can easily carry the virus.
• Adenovirus: causes hepatitis or laryngotracheitis and is transmitted by direct contact, through the animal’s saliva, faeces or urine.
• Parainfluenza: this is a respiratory tract infection. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with infected dogs, their bowls and kennels, as well as through coughing and sneezing.
• Leptospirosis: is a bacterium that causes severe liver and kidney damage and is transmitted by direct contact with urine or blood that is contaminated. Just as importantly, it can also be transmitted to humans.
The latter is the most common and at the same time the most serious canine disease that also poses a considerable danger to humans.
Possible side effects of dog vaccinations
Dogs usually accept vaccines well and do not present severe symptoms. However, it is important that the animal is healthy and has reached the appropriate age to receive the vaccination. However, there are possible consequences that may last two to three days at most. Here are the most well-known symptoms:
• Inoculation site swelling
• Poor appetite
If these symptoms continue beyond the above-mentioned time, it is necessary to proceed by contacting the veterinarian in order to ensure that the side effects are within the normal range.
The only vaccine that is required by law is the rabies vaccine. However, it is always important to consult your specialist to find out, depending on breed, age and other factors, which other vaccines are highly recommended for your dog.