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Which Vaccines Do My Adult Dog Need & Why?

One of the first things you need to do when you get a new puppy is to schedule an appointment with the vet to make sure your dog gets all the necessary vaccination shots to be as protected from diseases as possible. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we take preventive care very seriously. When you come to our full-service clinic located in the heart of East Nashville for your pup’s first shots, we will talk about each vaccine and why they are needed before they are administered. Our patients’ owners often ask us about the necessity of every vaccination shot throughout their dogs’ lives. Of course, most local and state laws require that dogs be given rabies shots annually, but not every vaccination is needed every year of your dog’s life. We would like to tell you which vaccinations your dog needs and why.

Core Vaccines

The most important of the two general groupings of vaccines, core vaccinations protect dogs from widely distributed transmittable diseases, according to the Pet Health Network. Because it can also be easily transmitted to humans, rabies vaccinations are required every year under local and state regulations. The other core vaccines will give your puppy a lifetime immunity that protects him from canine diseases including distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus.

Non-Core Vaccines

This grouping of vaccines are non core because they prevent the canine diseases that are not as widespread and easily contracted as others may be. However, since they do not provide long-term immunity, non-core vaccinations should be given annually. 5 Points Animal Hospital will make recommendations for your dog to be vaccinated based on a risk assessment that looks at the levels of local and regional incidence of each disease. These diseases include Lyme disease, leptospirosis, canine cough complex, and canine influenza. Because of the abundance of ticks in the Nashville area, we typically do recommend your dog to get a Lyme disease vaccine shot each year. Since your dog also has a possibility of encountering wildlife at a park or greenway, we do suggest an annual leptospirosis vaccination as well. If you travel a lot and board your dog when you are away, we recommend getting him vaccinated against canine cough complex since this disease can be common in those environments. As for the canine influenza vaccination, we will take a look at the risk assessment for this disease before making a recommendation.

5 Points Animal Hospital also provides a full range of vaccination services for cats, along with diagnostics, surgeries and dental care for all pets. Contact us today to schedule a wellness appointment to make sure your dog is healthy and up to date on all necessary vaccinations.

What Is the Difference Between Core and Non-Core Vaccinations?

Your pet’s vaccinations are a critical part of his/her preventative health care program. Rather than vaccinating every pet, every year, against every disease, we now seek to minimize the number of vaccines given – while at the same time ensuring that each pet is adequately protected against disease. This has led to the concept of assigning pet vaccinations into one of two basic groups: core and non-core. To date, these vaccinations have prevented millions of pets from unnecessary suffering and/or death.

Pet Vaccinations - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

What Are Core Vaccinations?

Core vaccines are recommended for all pets with an unknown vaccination history, as they protect against diseases that infect dogs or cats of all life stages and lifestyles. The diseases involved have high rates of infection, pose a threat to the pet’s life, and/or are a danger to human health; in general, vaccination results in relatively good protection from the disease(s). These core vaccines include:

  • Rabies for cats and dogs—a fatal viral disease that can infect most species of mammals. It is recommended for both pets due to its potential to infect humans and because it is a fatal disease for which there is no cure
  • Dogs: Canine distemper—a highly contagious, potentially fatal viral disease that can affect the respiratory and nervous systems; Leptospirosis—a bacterial disease that is contracted through contact with contaminated urine and can cause liver and kidney failure. Can also be transmitted to people; Canine parvovirus—a highly contagious, potentially fatal gastrointestinal disease; and Adenovirus (hepatitis)—a viral disease that can affect multiple organ systems including the liver and kidneys and can be fatal
  • Cats: Herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and calicivirus—AKA respiratory virus vaccine. Highly contagious respiratory diseases spread through secretions and are also air-borne; and Panleukopenia (feline distemper)—a highly contagious viral disease that causes gastrointestinal illness and can be fatal

From puppies and kittens to our geriatric pets, preventive medicine keeps them healthy and prolongs their lives.

What Are Non-Core Vaccinations?

Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines that should be considered in light of the exposure risk of the animal (i.e., based on geographic distribution and the pet’s lifestyle). Several of the diseases involved are often self-limiting or respond readily to treatment. Non-core vaccines include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica for cats and dogs—AKA tracheobronchitis. A highly contagious respiratory disease that causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi
  • Dogs: Canine parainfluenza virus—a highly contagious respiratory virus and is one of the most common pathogens of infectious tracheobronchitis; Canine influenza virus (CIV)—a highly contagious virus known to cause kennel cough; and Leptospira spp—a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. Without treatment, can lead to kidney damage, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death
  • Cats: Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)—the most common cause of cancer in cats. May cause various blood disorders and may lead to a state of immune deficiency that hinders the cat’s ability to protect itself against other infections; Feline immunodeficiency virus—a complex retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency disease; Virulent feline calicivirus (FCV)—a highly variable virus with many different manifestations, including highly virulent, fairly benign, and all points in between; and Chlamydia felis—primarily causes ocular infections and conjunctivitis

Vaccination with these vaccines is generally less effective in protecting against disease than vaccination with the core vaccines.

Modern vaccines are very safe, but they’re not 100% risk-free. Allergic reactions, autoimmune diseases, and other adverse reactions—though rare—can be caused by vaccines. Wise pet owners look for a veterinarian who will tailor their vaccine protocols to each individual patient’s needs to minimize the risk of vaccination. Wise consumers like individual vaccine protocols because avoiding unnecessary vaccination helps reduce the overall cost of preventive care. Please contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for all your pet health care needs.

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5 Points Animal Hospital | 1103 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 | Click to Call Us Now