Dogs also have diseases for which there are no cures. Vaccinations are the only way to prevent infection and save lives. What has long been taken for granted in humans is just as important for our dogs. Vaccinations are therefore of great importance in the fight against diseases .
For a vaccination to work properly, it must be carried out in good time. Even puppies have to endure this procedure.
What vaccinations are necessary for dogs?
Which and how many vaccinations your puppy really needs is not so easy to answer. In general, dogs in Germany do not have to be vaccinated. Instead, there are recommended vaccinations and vaccinations that are administered as needed. You should have your dog vaccinated against the following diseases as early as puppy age:
- Hepatitis contagiosa canis
These diseases are often transmitted by wild animals and are highly contagious. In many cases, they lead to the death of the dog. That is why the Permanent Vaccination Committee for Veterinary Medicine ( StIKo Vet ) of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut recommends starting basic immunization as early as puppy age.
The vaccine ensures that the dog’s immune system comes into contact with a weakened pathogen. The immune system remembers the pathogen. After that, your dog is protected against the disease.
When and how often does a puppy need to be vaccinated?
Your veterinarian will usually start vaccinating from the eighth week of life. Before that, the puppies are still protected by the mother’s antibodies. Vaccination would be ineffective.
After that, puppies ingest less and less antibodies through breast milk. Because it is almost impossible to get the exact correct vaccination time, puppies are vaccinated several times.
Your puppy must be healthy and active at the time of vaccination. Therefore, your veterinarian will examine the puppy before vaccination.
A booster shot against leptospirosis and rabies follows in the 15th month.
- The vaccination against leptospirosis and leishmaniasis should then be refreshed annually .
- The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut recommends vaccination every three years against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis contagiosa canis (HCC) .
- And your dog should be vaccinated against rabies every two to three years .
In the case of rabies, the so-called antibody titer of 0.5 IU / ml is particularly important. This unit indicates how many antibodies can be detected in one milliliter of blood.
In order to determine the exact need for vaccination later, your veterinarian could have the antibody titers determined using a blood count.
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Germany has been officially free from fox rabies since autumn 2008. Nevertheless, the rabies vaccination is one of the most important immunizations for the dog. Anger disease or rabies has always been one of the most feared virus infections.
Rabies runs in four phases.
- It starts with symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
- Later the animal becomes aggressive for no reason, shows signs of paralysis, is restless and suffers from convulsions. The reason for this is the virus that works its way into the central nervous system via the spinal cord.
- The unmistakable sign of rabies infection is hypersensitivity to light and noise as well as unusual reactions to water.
- The final stage is the coma and a respiratory paralysis that leads to death.
Rabies is notifiable in Germany. If there is a suspicion that a dog has rabies, he should not be treated. Every infected animal must be killed immediately, even without the owner’s consent. This applies even if the dog even had contact with an infected animal.
However, if the dog is proven to have been vaccinated against rabies, there is no danger. Therefore, correct entry in the vaccination card is particularly important. The puppy should receive the first vaccination from the twelfth week of life. This is followed by another vaccination after one month. With the third vaccination, which takes place after 15 months, the basic vaccination is complete.
Distemper is one of the oldest known diseases in dogs and is very dangerous. Thanks to the vaccine, dogs rarely become infected today.Distemper is transmitted through contact with infected animals or their excretions.
The virus can attack different parts of the body. Depending on the situation, various signs of illness develop. It can lead to gastrointestinal problems as well as respiratory problems such as coughing . Epileptic seizures or paralysis are just as possible as horny skin on the nose or balls of the feet.
Distemper also causes general weakness and usually ends in death. If a dog survives the distemper infection, the animals usually retain the so-called distemper tick, a lifelong health hazard. Because puppies are particularly at risk, vaccination begins at the age of eight weeks. The immunization is then repeated again after four weeks and then at the age of 16 weeks.
Parvovirus or dog disease is mainly transmitted through the feces of infected animals. It does not cause symptoms in every dog. If a dog is infected, severe vomiting and diarrhea as well as high fever can occur . If the disease is recognized quickly, the prognosis is quite good.
However, there are always severe courses or complications such as heart problems. Puppies are particularly affected. Puppy myocarditis primarily affects animals between the ages of three and twelve weeks. They often die without any typical signs.
This problem is now avoided by immunizing breeding dogs. For this, the puppies are vaccinated for the first time in the eighth week of life. Then again after four weeks and at the age of 16 weeks.
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Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. This disease is a zoonosis. This means that it can be transmitted from dog to human. For this reason, it is subject to notification. The dog is infected via wild animals and their urine. Depending on the type of pathogen, the disease develops differently. Generally, however, general fatigue, fever and loss of appetite are observed.
Leptospirosis can severely damage the kidneys if the course is severe. Bloody urine occurs until kidney failure. Leptospirosis is also very dangerous, especially for puppies. Puppies are vaccinated for the first time at eight weeks. This is followed by vaccination in the twelfth week and again after 15 months.
Hepatitis contagiosa canis
Hepatitis is a contagious inflammation of the liver that is transmitted through body secretions or excretions from infected dogs. It can be very different. And not every dog shows symptoms.
If symptoms occur, they are expressed in fever, vomiting, diarrhea and apathy. There can be water retention in the body. The liver and spleen are enlarged and bleeding on the skin or mucous membranes is possible. Diagnosis is often very difficult. In young dogs, the disease is usually fatal within a few hours. In adult dogs, the inflammation of the liver can become chronic and severely damage the organ.
Hepatitis is vaccinated for the first time in the eighth week of life. Then again after four weeks and then at the age of 16 weeks.
Vaccinations that are given as needed
In contrast to these life-threatening diseases, which are very easily communicable, vaccinations against Lyme disease and kennel cough are considered to be vaccinations of choice. This means that the vet will only vaccinate them if necessary.
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Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks. In order for the pathogen to be successfully transmitted, the tick must remain on the dog for several hours. Therefore, on the tick prevention page , I recommend that you remove ticks within 24 hours.
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is not easy. The reason for this is a very long incubation period and symptoms, which can also be observed in many other diseases. Signs of the disease are often not associated with a tick bite because it was long ago.
Vaccination against Lyme disease is not absolutely necessary because dogs cannot spread the disease any further. In addition, tick protection products such as collars and spot-on preparations offer good prevention.
Vaccination against kennel cough is only recommended if many dogs live together in a confined space. This is the case in dog boarding houses or animal shelters.
Does your dog meet many other dogs regularly at exhibitions and events? Then you should seriously consider vaccination against kennel cough.
Kennel cough is spread by droplet infection. Usually it heals completely after a few days. Kennel cough can be dangerous for young animals and puppies.
What vaccinations does a dog need?
If you want to travel abroad with your dog , many vaccinations are mandatory. Make sure that all vaccinations are entered correctly in the vaccination card. It is easy to argue about the meaning of vaccinations. Because in Germany nobody can force you to have your dog vaccinated. You just have to agree with your conscience.
That is why dog owners keep discussing whether vaccinations are necessary at all. Some dog owners even see it as a conspiracy of the pharmaceutical industry and veterinarians. After all, both parties earn a lot from recommended vaccinations.
As you can see, I can’t get much out of this argument. Hepatitis contagiosa canis is now considered extremely rare because a large number of dogs are vaccinated against it.
Rabies has not been eradicated for no reason. If we dog owners get as tired as many parents now, this deadly disease will come back. In fact, some animals tolerate vaccination much worse than others. There may be intolerance or immune deficiency. Therefore, the vaccine against Lyme disease is still controversial.
Just ask your veterinarian. Find out in good time about the individual illnesses. Weigh the benefits and risks for yourself and your dog. Always keep in mind that serious and easily communicable diseases such as rabies or distemper can cause great suffering for your dog.
Personally, if in doubt, I’d rather get vaccinated too much. With leptospirosis, you even accept your own illness.