First-Time Dog Owner: What You Need to Know About Dog Vacinations

Posted on: 25 September 2017

If you have recently purchased a puppy, at some point you will need to visit a vet to have the dog vaccinated. If this is your first dog, you may be worried or confused about dog vaccinations. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about vaccinations.

How does a dog vaccination work?

The vaccinations which are given to dogs are very similar to those which are given to humans. The vaccination will typically be injected into the dog's bloodstream. The vaccination consists of a type of pathogen. These pathogens do not present a danger to your dog, but they will activate your dog's immune system. As the immune system fights the vaccination, the dog's body will learn how to combat the virus, so it builds up an immunity to the threat of future infection.

What are the different types of vaccination?

There are 3 forms of vaccination:

Killed vaccines

Killed vaccines consist of a virus which has been made inactive, which means that there is zero chance that they can pose a threat to your dog. However, because they are completely inactive and cannot replicate themselves, they do not produce a high degree of immune system stimulation. In order to further stimulate your pet's immune system, adjuvants may be added to the vaccination, which will trigger an inflammatory response that will increase the number of white blood cells produced. However, even with this modification, killed vaccines will tend only to offer temporary immunity to a virus.

Live vaccines

Live vaccines contain live pathogens. Because of this, they can reproduce once they enter your dog's bloodstream. This produces an increased immune response and produces long-lasting immunity against the virus. However, these live pathogens have been attenuated in order to reduce their virulence, which means that they do not pose a threat to the health of your dog. Because of the increased immunity offered by live vaccines, they are now the preferred treatment, rather than killed vaccinations. However, very occasionally, a live vaccination can mutate while in your pet's body, which may result in it developing the illness you are trying to protect it from.

Recombinant vaccines

Recombinant vaccines are the latest development in animal health care. The vaccinations are made using cells taken from your pet. These cells are then modified so that they contain some of the DNA from the virus. These cells are then reintroduced into your dog's body. There, they stimulate the immune response without any risk to your dog's health. They also offer an extended length of immunity.

If you would like to find out more about dog vaccinations, you should contact your vet today.