Preventative care for our pets is a very important step in keeping them healthy and maximizing our time with them. Vaccines are one of the most important steps in keeping them healthy. During the first few months of their lives, it is even more important since they are so much more susceptible to contracting an infectious disease. During your pets life, they will require annual vaccinations, some are required by law while others are more dependent on your lifestyle. The core vaccines recommended for dogs are:

  • Rabies- A potentially fatal contagious disease for animals which can be passed on to humans. Due to the seriousness of Rabies, the law requires this vaccine for all dogs and cats. In the state of Maryland, this vaccine is required for all puppies, another dose 1 year later, and then every 3 years for the life of the dog. 
  • Canine distemper/adenovirus/parvovirus: (aka “DAP” vaccine or “distemper”)- These are very dangerous diseases for dogs, especially puppies so they should receive a vaccine multiple times to build up an immunity to it. As your dog matures, Your veterinarian can test to see if your dog’s immune system has enough antibodies to protect them without further vaccinations.

These other vaccines are important to consider based on you and your dog’s lifestyle. They will also be required annually for the most effective protection:

  • Lyme disease- This disease can be contracted when your dog (or you) are bitten by an infected tick and in Maryland, we have the Deer tick (aka Black Legged tick) which is a common carrier. 
  • Bordetella & parainfluenza- These two diseases are often the culprit for a dog to contract tracheobronchitis or kennel cough. If your dog spends a lot of time around other dogs, such as at dog parks, groomers, boarding kennels, etc, you may want to consider this vaccine. 
  • Leptospirosis- This bacterial organism infects dogs when they come into contact with urine from infected animals such as raccoons, rats, possums, skunks, and even cattle. It can also be spread to humans. 
  • Canine influenza- Although not a major threat to most animals, there have been recent outbreaks, however, they do seem to be limited and under control. If your pets travel often or are boarded frequently, you should consider this vaccination as well. 

Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss with you which vaccines they feel your dog should include in their annual wellness and vaccinations if you are unsure. We want to help you protect your dog from any possible diseases to ensure you both have a happy and healthy life together. To make your annual wellness appointment with your Ellicott City, MD veterinarian, give us a call today at (410) 465-6218.