Does My Dog Need These Vaccinations?

There are several vaccinations that all dogs need. The rabies vaccination is legally required, and there are a core group of additional vaccinations, including distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus that almost all veterinarians recommend for almost all dogs. The rest of the available vaccinations are non-core vaccinations, which means that your dog may or may not need them. How can you decide whether a particular non-core vaccination is right for your dog? Take a look at two of the non-core vaccinations to find out whether they're right for your pet.

Lyme Disease Vaccine

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that causes symptoms like fevers, lameness, swelling or stiffness of the joints, loss of appetite, and lethargy. It can also cause kidney failure and various cardiac and neurological symptoms. Both humans and dogs can develop Lyme disease, but your dog can't pass the disease to you, or vice-versa. Humans and dogs both need to be bitten by a tick carrying the disease to develop Lyme disease.

Whether or not your dog needs the Lyme disease vaccination depends largely on where you live. Ticks that carry Lyme disease are more prevalent in some areas of the country than in others. If you live in a region where Lyme disease-carrying ticks are common and your dog frequently spends time outdoors, your veterinarian will probably recommend that they receive the Lyme disease vaccination. It's important to remember that your dog still needs tick-prevention treatment even if they are vaccinated for Lyme disease. The vaccine may not be 100% effective on all dogs, and there are other tick-borne diseases that you can't vaccinate for, as well.

Bordetella Disease Vaccine

Bordetella disease may be better known to you by the name of "kennel cough". A primary characteristic of the disease is a persistent hacking cough that may sound like choking or vomiting. Although Bordetella disease is usually easily treated with antibiotics in healthy dogs, older dogs or dogs that have other health problems could suffer more serious symptoms and may not respond as well to treatment.

Bordetella is most common in dogs that are in environments that put stress on their immune systems. Kennels are one common example—and kennel conditions do make it easier for the bacteria that causes Bordetella disease to spread—but dogs that participate in dog shows or dog sporting events or that visit groomers regularly are also at greater risk for the disease and should be vaccinated for it. Many kennels and groomers require dogs to have Bordetella vaccinations to enter the facility.

Your dog's lifestyle is important in determining which vaccinations are right for them, so make sure to discuss your dog's lifestyle and habits with your veterinarian. Contact a veterinary hospital like Columbine Animal Hospital & Emergency Clinic to learn more.