Labrador Vaccination Schedule: What You Should Know About This Important Topic?
The most common question I get asked is “How often does my Labrador need vaccines?”
There are many reasons why some dogs don’t need vaccinations or only one. Some breeds have very high rates of certain diseases while others don’t. Dogs with genetic disorders such as hip dysplasia (a condition where the hips are not properly developed) or other conditions may never require vaccinations. Other breeds that have low vaccination rates include those which are prone to skin infections, blood borne viruses, parasites and bacteria.
Most dogs will need at least one vaccine before they reach their first birthday. These vaccines include the following:
Dogs over 6 months old should receive a booster shot every two years.
Puppies under six months old should receive a booster shot every three years.
Vaccinations are usually given between four weeks and seven days after birth. Puppy vaccinations should be given at 8 weeks of age if possible. If your veterinarian recommends giving puppies too early, then wait until they are at least eight weeks old before vaccinating them again.
Vaccinations usually require two to four weeks before they become effective.
If you’re not sure when your pet’s last vaccination was, it’s best to give another shot rather than risking giving one too few or one too many.
If you’re unsure of the rules and regulations concerning your pet in terms of vaccinations, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian about the specific rules set in place in your area.
Don’t medicate your pet for at least 24 hours before or after a vaccine is administered. Doing so can compromise the effectiveness of the shot.
It’s best to avoid exercising your pet vigorously before and after vaccinations. Strenuous exercise can cause an adverse reaction in some animals.
Should You Get Your Dog Vaccinated Every Year?
Many vets recommend that you get your dog vaccinated every year against several potentially fatal diseases. Others believe that a “prime” vaccine, given only once every three to five years, is sufficient.
The “prime” vaccine protects your dog from several diseases. The actual composition of the vaccine varies from year to year and is dependent upon which diseases are most prevalent.
Some vets think it’s better to alternate from a “prime” vaccine one year to boost the dog’s immunity, and a regular vaccination the next. This is especially important if your dog goes to a kennel or dog park on a regular basis where he may be exposed to diseases.
If you go with the “prime” vaccine, your dog will require another vaccination given three to five weeks after the first one. This is because the “prime” vaccine takes slightly longer to become effective due to needing to build up your dog’s immunity.
If you go with the regular vaccination, it is usually effective within two to three weeks of being given.
Some of the diseases that are targeted by common vaccines are:
Canine Adenovirus Type 2 (also known as “hepatitis” or ” hepatitis virus”)
Vaccine (also known as “hepatitis” or ” virus” Canine Parvovirus
Adenovirus Type 1 (also known as ” respiratory disease “)
Canine Coronavirus (also known as “canine cough”)
Parainfluenza (also known as “Kennel Cough”
Rabies (if your area requires it)
Most vets recommend a “distemper” vaccine for puppies, which is often combined with other common diseases. Other vaccines are given later on depending on your dog’s needs and the prevalence of certain diseases in your area.
What Is The Best Way To Give My Dog A Shot?
There are several different types of needles used for animal vaccinations. Most vets use a hypodermic needle, which is very thin and resembles a large sewing needle (but it’s sharper!).
Some vets use a larger syringe and a thicker needle, which injects the vaccine under the skin. There are also jet injection systems (often used for rabies vaccinations), where a high pressure stream injects the vaccine into the animal.
Regardless of which method is used, try to remain calm and distract your dog with a toy or treat. The vet will clean the injection area and insert the needle. You may feel a slight sting as the needle goes in, but most dogs don’t seem to mind the procedure.
Does My Dog Need To Be Restrained During The Vaccination?
Most vets will want your dog to remain still during vaccination so that he doesn’t move at a critical time and get jabbed with a slightly off angle, causing the needle to go in at a strange angle.
Some vets will want your dog to remain very still during the entire process, and may even ask you to pin your dog down or sit on his back to hold him still.
If this is the case, obey their every command!
What If My Dog Has A Allergy To The Vaccine?
It’s possible that your dog may have an adverse reaction to one or more of the vaccine ingredients. If your dog starts having a severe allergic reaction, call the veterinarian immediately!
If you have a small dog, you may be able to bring him to the vet in your car. Otherwise, ensure that someone else is with you so that they can drive while you attend to your pet.
What If My Dog Develops A Skin Reaction To The Vaccination?
Some dogs may develop an itchy red rash at the injection site within several hours of being vaccinated. Some dogs may have a mild skin irritation, while others will have a strong allergic reaction and develop hives all over their body.
These reactions aren’t usually serious and can usually be alleviated by applying a thick layer of hydrocortisone or anti-itch cream to the affected area.
Most vets will give you a prescription for a high-strength steroid cream that can be applied to your dog’s skin in the event of an allergic reaction. If the reaction is strong or persists, you may need to take your dog back to the vet for additional treatment.
If you’re unsure of how to apply the steroid cream or if your dog’s skin condition doesn’t seem to be improving, seek immediate veterinary help.
What If My Dog Eats Some Of The Vaccine?
If your dog ingests some of the vaccine, he may experience some very minor stomach upset. This may include diarrhea or vomiting, and in rare cases, a little blood in the vomit or stool.
These reactions aren’t usually serious and should resolve on their own within a day or so. Offer your dog a little extra water and keep an eye on him for the next twelve hours.
If the symptoms worsen, seek immediate veterinary help.
What Else Should I Know?
If this is the first time your dog has been vaccinated, your veterinarian may want to see him at least two more times. The second vaccination should take place one to two months after the first, and the third should take place three to four months after the first (but not before the second).
These follow-up visits help your veterinarian assess your dog’s health and ensure that he is building up a strong immunity to the various diseases that he has been vaccinated for.
Furthermore, these visits also give your veterinarian the opportunity to screen your dog for other possible conditions, such as heartworm and diabetes.
Also, be aware that your dog’s vaccination protection doesn’t last forever. Most vaccinations are effective for one to three years, though in some cases they may only be effective for one year.
Your veterinarian will advise you on how long your dog’s protection will last, and when he’ll need to receive his next set of vaccinations.
Finally, if your dog receives his vaccinations on a yearly basis, most veterinarians will recommend that he then be re-vaccinated on a three-yearly basis. So, for example, if your veterinarian advises you to bring your dog in for his re-vaccinations at three year intervals, he’ll need to be vaccinated every three years until he is seven, after which time he’ll need to receive his vaccinations every five years.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The influence of religion and gender on physician and nurse HPV immunization recommendations in Newfoundland and Labrador (VG Law – 2016 – research.library.mun.ca)
- Your Labrador Retriever Puppy Month by Month: Everything You Need to Know at Each Stage of Development (T Albert, D Eldredge, D Ironside, B Ironside – 2016 – books.google.com)
- Hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers at national hospital in Tanzania: how much, who and why? (D Aaron, TJ Nagu, J Rwegasha, E Komba – BMC infectious diseases, 2017 – Springer)
- Hepatitis B immunization strategies: timing is everything (CO Mackie, JA Buxton, S Tadwalkar, DM Patrick – Cmaj, 2009 – Can Med Assoc)
- Flu Vaccination for Healthcare Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador (R Kean, S Bornstein, M MacKenzie – 2013 – research.library.mun.ca)