Dog Health Care, Dog Vaccinations, Canine Distemper, Leptospirosis, Canine Parvovirus.

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Dog Vaccinations

There are several different ways a dog's body protects itself from disease. When puppies are born, they become temporarily protected from disease by nursing from their mother. The first milk she produces, called colostrum, contains maternal antibodies that protect the pup during the first weeks of life. Dogs can also acquire what is called natural, or active, immunity if they become ill with-and survive-a particular infectious disease. The antibodies formed from natural exposure usually last for life.

Vaccination provides what is known as acquired immunity. A vaccine is a substance that, when injected, provides immunity against infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and other organisms. It does this by challenging the body with modified disease organisms, provoking the immune system to form antibodies against those particular organisms. Vaccinations don't necessarily provide lifelong immunity and must be repeated at certain intervals.

The decision to vaccinate a dog against a particular disease depends partly on the dog's age, breed, and potential exposure to the disease. It also has a lot to do with the distribution and virulence of the particular disease. Certain canine diseases are widely distributed, highly contagious among dogs, and serious or sometimes even fatal. Once a dog has acquired them, no treatment other than supportive therapy can help.

Most vaccines only work if given before exposure to the disease. Below is a list of canine diseases for which vaccines are available.

The first five viruses are usually combined into a 5-in-l vaccine, abbreviated DHLP-P:

  • Canine Distemper
  • Leptospirosis
  • Adenovirus Type 1 or 2
  • Parainfluenza
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (for canine cough, also known as kennel cough)
  • Borreliosis (Lyme disease)
  • Canine Coronavirus
  • Rabies

These vaccines are available separately or in combination. We generally use the DHLP-P distemper vaccine and "split-out" (give individually) the other vaccines.