Vaccines that are considered essential for every dog are called core vaccines, while those that are given according to potential risk of specific diseases for individuals dogs are known as non-core vaccines.
Veterinarians will administer core dog vaccinations on a schedule which corresponds to a dog's age and vaccination history. Many of the core vaccines are administered when a dog reaches sixteen weeks old, with booster shots scheduled according to the individual vaccine. Adult dogs that have never received vaccinations will also receive initial shots followed by subsequent booster shots.
Diseases that require core vaccinations in dogs
This is a disease that affects the gastrointestinal system, and which is nearly always fatal if not treated. It is very contagious, and is spread through infected fecal matter in water, food bowls, and on shoes.
Because parvovirus is especially deadly in puppies and older dogs, puppies are often given their first vaccination at six weeks to two months of age, followed by booster shots until they reach four months old. This is followed by another booster shot after one year.
This disease attacks the central nervous system, and once contracted will usually result in death or permanent damage to the nervous system. Canine distemper is also contagious, and is spread through exposure to urine, feces, or nasal discharges from infected dogs; or from contaminated objects.
The series of vaccines and boosters for canine distemper generally follow those for parvovirus. However, the booster shot administered after one year is followed by subsequent booster shots every three years through the life of a dog.
This is a disease of the central nervous system that usually results in death. It is spread by the bite of an infected animal, and can also infect humans if they are bitten by an infected dog or other rabid animal.
Rabies vaccinations are generally administered at four months of age, but may be administered earlier. A booster shot is required either one or three years after the initial vaccination, depending on the original vaccine.
This upper respiratory infection is also contagious, spread through exposure to the feces, urine, or saliva of an infected dog. Serious infections can result in liver failure, eye problems, breathing issues, or possibly even death.
The vaccination schedule for canine hepatitis is similar to those for parvovirus and canine distemper, so they are often administered together as a single vaccination shot. The vaccine for dog flu, although not a core vaccine, may also be added to the triple core shot for additional protection where dog flu is prevalent. If you have questions about your dog's vaccinations, visit Basking Ridge Animal Hospital.