Vaccinations for dogs

Vaccinations for dogs

Prevention is better than cure - this is also true for infectious diseases. There are effective vaccinations against the most dangerous agents to protect dogs even when they are still puppies.

These vaccinations work like a practice run: the immune system is familiarised with the dangerous agents in a safe version and, in an emergency situation, can react quicker and more thoroughly. Ideally, a disease such as canine distemper can then no longer break out. It takes approximately 1 to 2 weeks following vaccination for the immunisation to take effect, however.

Vaccinating your dog at an early stage

As an owner you should ensure that your pet receives good basic immunisation at an early stage. This means that the vet gives two or more vaccinations at intervals of approximately four weeks. This helps to develop a strong immunological memory which reliably recognises infectious agents even after a long time, and makes them harmless.

It is important that when the vaccination is given, the immune system is as unimpaired as possible. A dog should therefore be dewormed one week before the first vaccination as puppies frequently suffer with intestinal parasites e.g. roundworms, and a strong infestation of worms reduces the efficacy of the vaccination. Deworming your dog in advance of later vaccinations is also recommended. If the dog is vaccinated before the dog is 8 weeks old, the maternal antibodies can weaken the effect of the vaccination. In such a case, the injection should then be repeated after 8 weeks.

Intervals between vaccinations

Good basic immunisation generally lasts for a few years. Many vets meanwhile vaccinate at longer intervals and according to need, rather than offering annual booster vaccinations. This depends not only on the basic immunisation but also on age and the behaviour of the animal. An exception here is the annual rabies vaccination which is mandatory for trips abroad and protects the animal from treatment by the official local vet should a case of rabies occur in the area where you are travelling.