We’re continuing our posts on vaccinating your dog. In our previous post we discussed recommended vaccines for puppies. In this post we’ll review the recommended vaccines for adult dogs.
Vaccines are helpful because they can help lessen the effects of future infections by stimulating the body’s protective immune response to a particular pathogen. A dog who has been vaccinated might experience less severe symptoms or may not get sick at all when exposed to a harmful bacteria or virus. It is best to vaccinate your pets against highly contagious and deadly diseases.
The first visit when a puppy is considered an adult is usually around 15 months or when the first rabies booster is due (12 months following the initial booster). The following is a list of vaccinations that Dr. Cash recommends for adult dogs in Oklahoma. Recommended vaccinations may vary by area and by your pets risk of exposure. We’ve included the vaccine timing and some information on each disease to help you understand how vaccines can help your pet.
Rabies Vaccine | Every 3 Years
The state of Oklahoma Health Department accepts the 3 year rabies vaccine. Rabies is almost always transmitted as the result of an infected animal biting a non-infected animal. Animals most likely to transmit the disease include skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and bats. The virus has a relatively long incubation period between two weeks and several months depending on the animal. Rabies travels slowly towards the brain. There is an extremely low chance of survival after contracting the disease but vaccination has proven to be highly effective in preventing rabies infections.
Bordatella Vaccine | Every 6 – 12 Months
How often this vaccine should be given depends on how often your pet is around other dogs and if your pet has a tendency to break with the disease. Some dogs are very sensitive to boardetella while others are not affected. Bordatella is a bacteria that affects the respiratory system and causes symptoms similar to a cold. It is usually not serious but can be very annoying (a loud honking cough with or without fever) and linger for a couple of weeks. It spreads quickly through the air with 75% of un-vaccinated dogs usually get sick or have clinical signs when exposed. The vaccine can be given as an injection or nose/mouth drops instead of an injection. Bordatella makes up the second part of the “Kennel Cough Complex.”
Leptospirosis Vaccine | Annual Boosters
After the initial two doses, which are usually started at 12 weeks, Annual boosters with the 4 strain vaccine (Lepto-4) are recommended unless your pet is allergic to the vaccine. Mild allergic reactions usually present as facial swelling &/or hives within 6 hours of vaccinating. Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria that can be spread through soil, water, and the urine of infected animals. Common carriers other than dogs include raccoons, possums, rodents, and skunks. Leptospira spread through the bloodstream causing fever and joint pain and then settle and reproduce in the kidneys. Ultimately, kidney failure and or/liver failure can result.
Heartworm Test | Every 12 – 24 Months
A heartworm test usually requires a small sample of blood and test results are typically available before the end of the visit. Relatively easy to prevent but difficult to treat, heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread between hosts through mosquito bites. Once the larvae deposited in the dog mature into adult heartworms they lodge in the animals heart and lungs where they can do permanent damage. Keep your dog on monthly heartworm prevention medication all year long. There are several options available.
Deworming | Every 2 Years or more often if needed
Dogs can easily pick up parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms while investigating the outdoors, trash, poop, or other dogs. During an exam a fecal sample may be taken and reviewed under a microscope to determine what type of parasite is infecting the dog. Deworming treatments can be administered by injection or by mouth.
Physical Exam | Every Year
An annual physical exam is probably the most important part of the yearly visit for your pet so issues can be addressed early. For example, finding and treating a mild ear infection before it turns into a major problem. Catching and addressing a heart murmur so you will be aware of what signs need to be treated. Especially with the heart, early treatment can improve both your pet’s quality of life and length of life.