Spring’s warmer weather condition signals the time for more outside experiences, specifically for dogs who tend to be curious while outdoors. It likewise indicates a time when owners must begin considering safeguarding their dogs from outside risks by immunizing them.
Dr. Lori Teller, a scientific associate teacher at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says there are vaccines that dogs need despite going outside.
Protecting Against Deadly Disease
These consist of vaccines versus parvovirus — a viral illness that triggers throwing up, bloody diarrhea, and the shedding of the digestive system lining — and distemper — a viral illness that can cause conditions that impact the nerve system and in some cases even death.
“Parvovirus and distemper can be vaccinated against with one vaccine that also includes protection against canine adenovirus, which is a cause of hepatitis in dogs,” Teller said. “When parvovirus is caught early enough, veterinarians can potentially save the dog’s life, but it can be challenging and expensive to treat. This is definitely an instance where an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
Teller explained that vaccinations versus parvovirus, distemper and adenovirus must at first be provided by vets when puppies are 6-8 weeks old, followed by boosters up until they are 16-20 weeks old. For animals embraced as grownups, Teller suggests owners visit their vets as quickly as possible so that their dog can get any missing out on vaccinations.
Additionally, dogs must be immunized versus rabies, which is mandated by law, and get preventives to safeguard versus illness spread out by fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
“Rabies is almost always fatal, and dogs can contract it from wildlife, such as bats, raccoons, skunks and coyotes,” Teller said. “Also, keep your pets on year-round preventives that kill fleas and ticks and prevent the development of heartworm disease. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, so have your pet tested for heartworms every 12 months.”
There likewise are activity-dependent illness that owners must think about immunizing their dogs versus this spring.
For family pets who spend whenever outside, Teller encourages owners to immunize them versus leptospirosis, a bacterial illness that can cause liver and kidney failure.
“Leptospira is a bacteria that is spread in the urine of mice, rats, raccoons, deer and many other animals that inhabit urban, suburban and rural areas,” Teller said. “The bacteria can live a long time in dirt, as well as in lakes and ponds, so dogs across Texas, whether those that live in the middle of a city or that wander open fields, are susceptible to the disease.”
Teller likewise suggests specific vaccinations for dogs who take a trip with their owners.
“Owners traveling with their dogs to areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease are common may want to vaccinate against this disease,” Teller said. “Also, owners who take their dogs to areas where rattlesnakes are common should talk to their veterinarian about the rattlesnake vaccine, which can lessen the impacts of rattlesnake venom and may lead to a better chance of recovery.”
Teller explained that vaccines for Lyme illness and rattlesnake venom are at first provided as a series followed by yearly boosters.
If owners put their furry buddies in doggy daycare or go to dog parks, Teller recommends immunizing their dogs versus parainfluenza and the germs Bordetella, which are leading reasons for kennel cough, a typical breathing infection that is hardly ever deadly however often makes dogs ill.
“It’s a good idea for dogs to be vaccinated against kennel cough if they go to areas where dogs congregate,” Teller said. “Kennel cough vaccinations should ideally be given a week before the dog will board or visit a dog park and then repeated yearly.”
Finally, Teller suggests owners talk about with their vet their dog’s requirement for an influenza vaccine provided the current break outs of canine influenza, a breathing infection, around Texas and the rest of the nation.
See Your Dog’s Veterinarian
Ultimately, Teller motivates owners to discuss their family pet’s age, existing health status, and way of life with their vet to identify what vaccinations a family pet requires, as immunizing family pets properly can safeguard both family pets and their owners.
“Some of the diseases that we vaccinate our pets against are diseases that are also contagious to humans, such as rabies and leptospirosis,” Teller said. “So by protecting our pets, we are also protecting public health.”
Before you and your dog go on your next experience, ensure to visit your vet to identify the very best vaccinations for your family pet. Protecting your furry friend from health problem can keep both of you healthy and prepared for the next spring activity.
Pet Talk is a service of the School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be seen online at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for future subjects might be directed to email@example.com.