Updated: Jan 22
Are you over-vaccinating your dogs?
So you’ve brought home a new pup. As the first thing any responsible pet parent would do, you take them to the vet for a check. More often than not, you’re immediately instructed to vaccinate the dog - and so you do. You don’t think about it much.
After all, humans also get vaccinated as kids right? But do we get vaccinated every year to prevent the same disease?
More often than not, we don’t even know the names of the vaccines given to your dogs or what their functions are.
It’s time to change that and think a little harder before putting anything inside your dog’s body that can not be taken out again! It is a minor medical procedure that has both benefits and risks. And by all means Vaccines are invented for the purpose of saving lives. So, let's understand them a little better.
How does a vaccine work?
Let’s understand what a vaccine is.
A vaccine is a biological preparation that is meant to give you active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease.
It works by training the immune system to recognize and fight these viruses or bacteria.
So how does the body know what to fight?
The vaccine introduces the antigen molecules(A substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies) of the pathogen(A microorganism that causes disease) so that the immune system can safely recognize it and make antibodies to fight them. This activity also helps the immune system remember this pathogen for the future through a process called “cell memory”.
That way, if that particular pathogen got into the body again, the immune system would immediately attack it and stop it from making the body sick.
Right! So we know that vaccines, when administered to a healthy body, at the right time, and in the right doses, can produce an immune response that will then be saved in our cell memories, which then will help us in the future when we come across that pathogen again.
Core vaccines vs non-core/optional vaccines
As the names suggest, core vaccines are those that medical experts believe SHOULD be given to pets.
According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, core vaccines have been selected to be given to pets based on the risk of exposure, the severity of disease(usually life-threatening), or transmissibility to humans.
Canine Parvovirus - Attacks the digestive system
Distemper - Attacks the nervous system
Canine Hepatitis - Attacks the lining of blood vessels, kidneys, liver, lungs
Rabies - Attacks the brain and the spinal cord.