As a dog owner, you know the importance of keeping your canine friend’s vaccines up to date. Vaccines play a crucial role in protecting your dog from various infectious diseases that can pose serious health risks. Our Kauai Veterinary Clinic team wants you to be informed about your furry pal’s health care. Follow this guide to essential canine vaccines.
Core versus noncore canine vaccines
Vaccines are classified as core or noncore. Core vaccines are those recommended for all puppies and dogs, and noncore vaccines are those recommended based on your dog’s lifestyle and disease risk.
Factors, such as your geographic location, your dog’s exposure to other dogs, your traveling habits with your canine friend, your dog’s contact with wilderness or bodies of water, and their overall health, contribute to determining which noncore vaccines they should receive. Our team will devise an appropriate vaccine plan based on your dog’s individual needs.
Core canine vaccines
Veterinarians recommend core vaccines for all dogs, no matter where a dog lives or their lifestyle. Vaccines that are recommended for all puppies and dogs include:
- Rabies — Rabies is a virus that causes fatal neurologic disease and is most commonly transmitted through an infected animal’s bite. After infection, signs can take 10 days to one year or longer to manifest depending on the infection site, bite severity, and virus amount transmitted through the bite. Signs may start as a change in temperament and progress to severe aggression, or more commonly, progressive paralysis. No cure is available for rabies, and the disease is transmissible to people, which is why the rabies vaccine is required by law in Hawaii.
- Parvovirus — Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted through an infected dog’s feces. Susceptible canines become infected after ingesting the virus through direct contact with infected feces or contaminated objects. Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at increased risk. Once a dog is infected, the virus targets the lymph nodes, invading a form of white blood cells (i.e., lymphocytes), which carry the pathogen to the bone marrow and intestinal lining. Signs typically manifest about three to seven days after exposure and include severe vomiting and diarrhea, depression, and fever. Treatment is mostly supportive, but a new monoclonal antibody treatment is now available to help treat affected dogs. However, vaccination is still the best way to protect your furry pal.
- Distemper — Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and central nervous systems. Transmission occurs through contact with an infected dog and can also be spread short distances by coughing and sneezing. Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at an increased risk for developing distemper. Signs typically occur about 10 to 14 days after exposure and include diarrhea, vomiting, thick ocular and nasal discharge, cough, and in severe cases, incoordination, head tilt, seizures, and paralysis. Treatment focuses on supportive care because no cure is available.
- Adenovirus-2 — Adenovirus-2 (i.e., infectious canine hepatitis) is transmitted through an infected animal’s urine, nasal discharge, and ocular secretions. Signs typically develop in two to five days after infection and include decreased appetite, depression, fever, nasal discharge, and cough. Severely affected young puppies may also exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling of the head and neck. Some dogs also develop cloudy corneas one to two weeks after infection. Treatment focuses on supportive care because no cure is available.
- Parainfluenza — Parainfluenza is administered in a combination vaccine with distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus-2. Transmission occurs through contact with an infected dog, their body secretions, or contaminated objects. Signs typically occur between two to eight days after exposure and include coughing, low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Some dogs recover from parainfluenza without treatment, but when treatment is necessary, it typically involves supportive care.
Noncore canine vaccines
Our Kauai Veterinary Clinic team recommends your dog’s noncore vaccines based on their lifestyle. Noncore vaccines our team may recommend for your canine friend include:
- Bordetella — Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial agent that causes kennel cough. The disease is spread through aerosol droplets, direct contact, or contact with contaminated objects. Signs include a loud, honking cough, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, and low-grade fever. Dogs who are boarded or spend time at doggy daycares or dog parks have a high bordetella risk. Treatment involves antibiotics and supportive care.
- Leptospirosis — Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is transmitted when a dog drinks or comes in contact with an infected animal’s urine, or eats an infected animal carcass. Signs include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, stiffness, increased thirst and urination, and yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes (i.e., jaundice). In some cases, the disease can progress to kidney or liver failure. Treatment involves antibiotics and supportive care.
- Canine influenza — Canine influenza is a virus spread through aerosol droplets, direct contact, and by coming in contact with contaminated objects. Signs include cough, nasal discharge, and fever. Treatment involves supportive care because no cure is available.
Keeping your dog’s vaccines up to date is an essential part of their health care plan. Contact our Kauai Veterinary Clinic team to schedule your canine friend’s wellness checkup and vaccine appointment.