One of the benefits of living in this day and age, is that humans and animals do not have to suffer under many of the same diseases which could have been fatal just a century or two ago.  Having access to medication and vaccinations significantly improves our quality of life, and allows for years of strength and healthy living for both people and their pets. Dogs and cats are required to get a number of vaccinations at the beginning of their lives, as well as at different intervals throughout, depending on the circumstances.   According to the American Animal Hospital Association, these vaccinations can be categorized by two different kinds: core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

Core Vaccines are necessary shots required for every dog to be deemed healthy.  They are generally given within the first 6 months to a year of the puppy’s life.

One of the most important core vaccines is Rabies. This vaccine is first given at 12 weeks old, then at 12 months old, and every 3 years after.  The rabies vaccination has almost completely removed rabies from domestic animals, creating a safer environment for humans, livestock and pets in North America since dogs and cats have been vaccinated. If only Old Yeller had been so lucky!

DA22P  (CDV, CAV-2, CPV-2) are immunization vaccinations that fights adenovirus-2, paravovirus, parainfluenza (all of which could take a dog’s life), and well as distemper.  Distemper is a virus that attacks the neurological and immune systems of canines, and is known to be fatal. Puppies are required to receive this shot every 3-4 weeks from the time they are six weeks old, until they are about 16 weeks old.

Non-core vaccinations are often required when specific situations arise, if  an environment demands extra protection, or if a dog has an encounter with something that could threaten his health.  These kind of shots could include anything from Bordetella (protecting against the epidemic kennel cough), canine influenza vaccine which protects dogs from the flu, shots to help ward off Lyme’s disease, which is transmitted through certain ticks, and shots protecting dogs from Leptospirosis which can come from contaminated water.  There are also shots to help protect dogs from rattlesnake venom, if they live in an area near these snakes.  If you have any questions about what kind of medical attention your dog needs, or what shots he should be up to date on, it would be best to consult with your local vet.