Having your puppy vaccinated in the first year of their life is very important – but how often should they have the injections? And are they completely safe? To help put your mind at ease, and sort fact from fiction when it comes to protecting your pet’s health, we’ve busted a few common immunisation myths.
MYTH: Once I’ve had my puppy vaccinated they’re immune for life.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It’s important to have your pet vaccinated every year to maintain their immunity against disease. So, for the rest of their life, your puppy will need annual boosters against illnesses such as:
- Canine distemper virus, a virus with no known cure.
- Infectious canine hepatitis, which usually affects dogs less than two years old.
- Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread via infected urine or contaminated water.
- Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease that’s especially severe in puppies.
- Canine parainfluenza, which is a cause of ‘kennel cough’.
MYTH: Vaccinations make my pet feel poorly.
These days, this is extremely unlikely. All canine vaccines are a modified form of the disease that they protect against, and adverse reactions are rare.
MYTH: My puppy is never in contact with other pets, so they won’t need to be vaccinated.
Many of the diseases we vaccinate against aren’t spread directly from pet to pet, meaning your puppy could still catch an illness from something as simple as venturing outside! For example, canine parvovirus can be caught off pavements or in parks, while canine leptospirosis is contracted by drinking from ponds or puddles which rats may have contaminated.
MYTH: Pets are given boosters too often.
Your vet will never prescribe vaccinations unnecessarily. Instead, they’ll get to know your pet and will assess them and their needs on an individual basis, in order to determine the precise vaccines to be given. They’ll also determine the correct intervals between vaccines according to your pet’s age, their potential exposure to diseases, and the type of vaccine. (For example, the period between rabies vaccinations may vary according to the law within different countries.)
MYTH: I missed giving my pet a booster last year, but I can just give them one this year instead.
This depends on the injection that’s been missed but, if more than 15 months passes between boosters, it’s likely that your vet will recommend restarting your pet’s vaccination programme from the beginning.