Our experts at Ample Nutrition have written several articles about core vaccinations. Your dog has probably already had the canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV-2), and rabies, right? It is an area that most pet owners stay up-to-date with. What about lifestyle or optional vaccines? Is your dog protected against kennel cough, canine influenza, Lyme disease, or leptospirosis? You might be surprised to find out your dog is susceptible to these diseases depending on age, risk, health, lifestyle and geographic location. Several of these diseases involved can be self-limiting and respond readily to treatment. Others can have more serious consequences.
Your puppy generally gets the rabies shot between three and four months old and then a booster is required one year later. Rabies should then be administered every 3 years using a vaccine approved for 3-year administration. Puppies receive the Canine Distemper, Parvo and Adenovirus vaccines between six and eight weeks and then every month thereafter for up to three or four times. Lifestyle or non-core vaccines are administered a bit differently based on a dog’s age, risk, health and exposure to infectious disease carriers.
Lifestyle-Based Vaccine Calculator
The AAHA has developed a Lifestyle-Based Vaccine Calculator (https://www.aaha.org/guidelines/canine_vaccination_guidelines/vaccine_calculator.aspx) to help dog owners determine what lifestyle or optional vaccines, if any, should be given. Vaccinating a pet is a medical procedure with risks and benefits. There are times when a vaccine may not be advised. For example, it would be unsafe to vaccinate if your dog is sick, pregnant, older, has an underlying medical condition (cancer, endocrine disorders, allergies) or a weakened immune system (auto-immune diseases). Toy breeds or smaller dogs can have adverse reactions to particular vaccines too.
Nobody loves or cares about your dog as much as you do. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian who will take the time to do a risk assessment and design an individualized vaccination protocol based on your dog's lifestyle, health, and risk of exposure.