Keeping your dog healthy is one of the primary responsibilities of owning a pet. These five common vaccinations are part of helping your dog lead a healthy life.
Parvovirus vaccine. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals classifies parvovirus as a "highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness." Because the virus attacks a dog's intestinal tract, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. The axiom "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" holds true for parvovirus. Keeping your dog up to date on its vaccinations should provide the ounce of prevention it needs. The parvovirus vaccine is usually administered as part of a 5-in-1 vaccination as a puppy. Possible side effects of the vaccination include chronic inflammation.
Rabies vaccine. When most people think vaccines, they think rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals. If your dog catches rabies — usually spread by wild animals — the fatality rate is nearly 100 percent. Your dog should receive its first rabies vaccination at 3 to 6 months of age and get a booster shot every one to three years. Many municipalities and some states require all dogs to be vaccinated for rabies. If your dog were to bite someone, it would be quarantined until you provide proof of updated vaccines. In rare cases, the rabies vaccine will cause vomiting and facial swelling. If this happens, contact your vet immediately.
Canine distemper vaccine. Distemper is a disease that attacks a dog's nervous system, usually causing death. Because the most common victim of distemper is puppies, this vaccine is usually administered as soon as the dog is weaned and before it's placed in a home. Post-vaccination encephalitis has occurred in some cases when the distemper vaccine has been administered at the same time as a parvovirus vaccine.
Canine hepatitis vaccine. Hepatitis is a viral disease that affects the liver. The hepatitis vaccine, normally given in conjunction with the distemper vaccine, has almost completely eliminated hepatitis in dogs.
Parainfluenza vaccine. Although not one of the core vaccines, the parainfluenza vaccine is usually included with the distemper vaccine and has been shown to reduce, but not eliminate, kennel cough. The vaccine is injected and protects the dog from parainfluenza, although it does not eliminate its presence in nasal drip.
For specific information in your community, contact your vet.