Understanding Vaccines part 1: Canine Vaccines

  • Canine Vaccines – Understanding Which Vaccines Your Dog Needs

    Understanding what vaccines your dog needs is important to their overall health and wellbeing. While some canine vaccines are mandatory, there are a few that are not and we’re here to help you understand not only their importance, but which vaccines your dog is being given and why.

    “Core” Vaccines:  

    • Rabies – Puppies will generally receive their first rabies vaccine at 14-16 weeks. They will need a 1 year booster, and then they can receive a 3 year vaccine after they have had the first 2 in the series. Rabies vaccines are usually mandatory (unless your pet has a prior health condition or due to their age – both of which will need to be decided after an exam by the Dr. in order to waive the vaccine). Learn more about rabies here.
    • Distemper – Puppies can receive the distemper vaccine at six weeks old and then every three to four weeks until 16 weeks old. Immunity may last for three years or more. While we do recommend keeping current on this vaccine, we also offer titers (a blood test) to check the level of antibodies in your pet’s blood. Ask your vet at your next appointment to see if vaccination or titers are a better option for your dog.
    • Bordetella (Kennel Cough) – This is an annual vaccine that can be given 3 different ways – injectable, oral or intranasal. The route of the vaccine will be decided by your vet depending on your dog’s health and why they may need the vaccine. Generally, dogs who receive this vaccine are frequenting the groomer, boarding facility or dog park and require the vaccine in order to safely be around other dogs as it protects against the spread of kennel cough.

    “Secondary” Vaccines:

    • Lyme Disease – The Lyme vaccine is given annually and is highly recommended in our area given the amount of ticks we have. We also recommend keeping your dog on flea & tick preventatives throughout the year as well. We offer a few different options for flea & tick prevention. Most commonly used are the oral chews called Bravecto (given every 12 weeks) or Nexgard (given every 4 weeks). Learn more about Lyme disease here.
    • Lepto – The lepto vaccine is also given annually to protect against the leptospirosis virus. We highly recommend keeping this vaccine up to date when living in this area. If your dog likes to frequent wooded areas, or if they are a farm or hunting dog, they can catch this virus through standing water and from the excrements of squirrels, and other animals.
    • Influenza–  Influenza is an annual vaccine that is usually required by boarding facilities. This vaccine comes in two strains – H3N8 or H3N2 and can be given separately or as 1 (known as the Bivalent vaccine). Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, day care facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection. Learn more about influenza here.

    To sum things up, canine vaccines are just as important for our pets as they are for us! We are open and taking appointments to get your pet up to date on their shots, and to discuss your options. Just give us a call or click here to reach out. Please also feel free to contact us if you have any questions or even just want to see what your pet is due for. We are operating indoors again as well as curbside, and you can check out our current COVID procedures here.

Our Certifications

AAHA: The Animal Hospital of Sussex County is a certified hospital in the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). To achieve this distinction, our hospital has passed regular comprehensive inspections of our facilities, medical equipment, veterinary practice methods and management. If you are traveling or relocating anywhere, finding an AAHA hospital will ensure the best medical care for your pet. The AAHA is recognized as the world’s leading association of small animal practitioners.

AAFP: We are also a cat friendly practice, certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. This means that the Animal Hospital of Sussex County is specifically set up to decrease stress and provide a more calming environment for your cat. Our staff has also been trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding cat behavior in order to increase the quality of care for your cat.

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