Most people are aware that dogs should be vaccinated for rabies and other diseases. The big question is how often should a dog be vaccinated and what happens if a dog is not vaccinated? The answer to the frequency of dog vaccines is a lot more complicated than you might think, especially when you adopt a dog from a rescue shelter without a known history. There are still steps you can take to make sure everyone is safe and happy

Why Are Vaccines Important for Dogs?

Vaccines are important for dogs for a few reasons. That’s because, first, they protect your dog from diseases that can cause serious illness or even death. Secondly, they help to prevent the spread of disease to other dogs or to humans. Thirdly, dog vaccines are very important in helping your dog stay healthy. 

If your dog is sick, they will need to be treated with some kind of medication and often you can’t vaccinate at the same time. Unfortunately, this puts your dog at even greater risk of catching one of the deadly diseases. Essentially, their immune system is down. Instead, make sure you’re up to date with vaccinations and you limit the chances of an untimely death. The horrors of distemper or parvovirus are terrifying for any dog owner. 

The Downsides of Over Vaccinating

Vaccines are an important part of your dog’s health. Basically, they are meant to protect your dog against a variety of diseases and protect your dog from becoming sick. However, it is important to not over vaccinate your dog. Over vaccinating a dog can also lead to a variety of health problems. These include, for example: 

1. A weakened immune system 

2. Collapsed trachea 

3. Allergic reactions 

4. Distemper 

5. Paralysis 

6. Respiratory disease 

7. Liver disease 

8. Cancer 

9. Diarrhea 

10. Weight loss 

11. Dehydration 

12. Skin and coat problems 

13. Pneumonia 

14. Allergic reactions 

15. Anal sac disease 

16. Hyperthyroidism 

17. Lowered fertility 

18. Lowered life expectancy 

19. Lowered quality of life 

20. Dehydration 

21. Overheating 

22. Hypothyroidism 

23. Death

If you want to avoid such terrifying side effects, the answer isn’t to stop vaccinations. Instead, like most things in life, the answer is to find the balance. Vaccinations have saved millions of dogs’ lives but let’s not over vaccinate either. That’s why we have something called a titer test. 

Many dog owners know about the titer test for rabies as this is a requirement for travelling. Nevertheless, did you know that titer tests exist for other diseases also?

dog vaccines

Using a Titer Test to Manage your Dog’s Vaccine Frequency 

A titer test is a blood test that measures the level of antibodies a dog has in their system. These tests are usually ordered by your vet, and the results are sent to the vet to be read, although you can also do some yourself at home. So, if your dog is not up-to-date on their vaccinations, a titer test will be administered to determine the level of antibodies your dog has.

The best part of a titer test is that you can avoid over vaccinating your dog. Currently, you need to do yearly dog vaccines for parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis. However, this product from Biogal is one of the only ones that tests for all three diseases so that you can space out your dog’s vaccinations. In fact, most studies show that dogs can be immune for up to 4 years. 

Final Thoughts on Dog Vaccines 

So how do you know what dog vaccines to do? The first thing you should do is to have your own veterinarian check your dog over, just to make sure that he is in good health. This is to help to ensure that your dog is up-to-date and that he is not carrying any diseases. 

Next, you should look into what vaccinations your dog needs. A good way to do this is to use a titer test to first check the level of antibodies your dog already has. In general, these tests are typically done every year to make sure that your dog is not vulnerable to any diseases. Depending on any gaps, you can then follow up with the appropriate dog vaccine. Everyone is then safe and happy. 

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