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Bentley & Friends: vaccines for your pets

It is important to keep your pets up to date on their vaccines and be informed by your veterinarian about any new vaccines coming available to combat new disease.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Vaccine news has been dominating the headlines, and we thought now was as good a time as ever to bring to light the various vaccines available for your dog to combat all sorts of ailments and threats. 

Modern medicine has made leaps in the fight against diseases that were once very impactful to the human race. 

Meanwhile, veterinary medicine has been right along for the ride, developing dozens of vaccines to protect your animals from what would otherwise be serious threats to their overall health and wellbeing. 

“Here is COVID as an example; diseases come often so we are always on the brink of having a new and emerging disease process, for instance, parvovirus that everybody knows about didn’t exist in the 70s," said Dr. Denette Cooke of the Cooke Veterinary Medical Center. "That only came about in the early 80s. A lot of people think it’s been around for a while, but it hasn’t - it was a brand new disease and it killed a lot of dogs."

It is so important to keep your animals up to date on their vaccines and be informed by your veterinarian about any new vaccines coming available to combat new diseases.  

Cooke said timing was important, when it comes to these shots.

“Vaccines for dogs and cats - it's not usually how many we give them, it's when we start them and when we stop them. So, it’s a timed event," Cooke said.

Administering vaccines too early will not be effective, since young animals have immature immune systems and their mother’s antibodies are still present. 

“There’s the core vaccines which are absolute, everybody gets those, and we have those in dogs and in cats," Cooke explained. "For dogs that would be what we call canine distemper, parvovirus, so adenovirus two."

Also included in the core vaccines is the shot against rabies, which is critical for all pets to receive.  

“The non-core vaccines would be more risk-factor related, so if your animal is rarely exposed to certain environments or certain other animals, the groomer, boarding or doggy daycare then there is going to be a different set of vaccines based on their lifestyle.” 

You may have heard of some of these before.

“Other non-core vaccines for dogs would be Bordetella, which is for kennel cough, canine influenza which a lot of boarding facilities require - it’s still extremely rare but the boarding facilities are being proactive, they don’t want to have an outbreak on their watch," Cooke said.

Another vaccine growing in popularity is the Lyme vaccine. 

Cooke said this should be administered if you are from (or travel frequently to) New England, however, it is also becoming more common in our area. This will offer your dog protection from the tick-borne infection.

You should always talk to your personal veterinarian to figure out the best course of vaccines suitable for your pets and your lifestyle.