Vaccines are an essential tool in keeping your Dachshund healthy, but a few do carry some risk of allergic reaction. Knowing which are vital and which are optional can help improve your odds of doing good without doing harm.
Rabies vaccine is among the most important for your Dachshund, as it is for any dog. While the disease is much less common today, the consequences of getting it are still so drastic – often fatal – that most vets still recommend it.
Rabies vaccinations are typically given every year to puppies and every two to three years thereafter. Most states require the vaccination and determine a specific schedule. That is being re-evaluated as research now shows that immunization lasts three years or more. See your vet for specific guidelines, but also seek a second or even third opinion and decide accordingly.
Serious side effects from the shot are rare, but may include swelling, hives, fever or lethargy, along with decreased appetite.
– Canine Distemper
Distemper shots used to be routine. Today they are still common, but schedules have lengthened. Contemporary research shows that puppies given a series of shots will develop antibodies that last several years. First shots should be given at roughly eight weeks. As with any vaccine, the schedule can vary from one part of the country to another, since prevalence and the associated risks of the disease vary geographically. See your vet.
A vaccine to protect against the parvovirus is often combined with that for distemper, though it can be given separately. Keep in mind that ‘combo’ shots represent a slightly greater risk of allergic reaction. Combinations also make determining the cause of any problem more difficult.
In some dogs, the immune system goes into ‘hyperdrive’ and produces facial swelling, redness of the gums and other symptoms. If a problem occurs, it typically happens within an hour or less, so stay near your vet’s office after any vaccination. Observe your dog carefully. Have Bendryl on hand and call your vet at the first sign of a reaction.
This shot helps protect against infectious canine hepatitis. Here again, the disease is not common and the shot carries a small risk of allergic reaction. But the disease is serious enough that owners will want to discuss the subject carefully with their veterinarian and seek a second opinion before deciding. Kidney infections are possible following the vaccination, since modified live virus is used.
Shots to immunize against the leptospira bacteria used to be routine, and in many areas still are. But this is another vaccine that may cause a reaction and offers only short-lived protection against the disease. Since the disease itself is rare, this vaccine is considered ‘non-core’ by many vets today.
The Bordatella organism causes a fairly common condition popularly known as ‘kennel cough’. The name comes from the fact that the organism can be airborne and can spread when dogs are housed close together. It is not a serious disease, but does require treatment when it arises.
If your Dachshund does not come into contact with strange dogs this vaccine is probably unnecessary. Exceptions are when you intend to go on vacation and kennel your Doxie, or in areas where the disease has gone unchecked.
Vaccines are a low-risk, outstanding way to protect your Dachshund against a wide array of diseases. But ‘low risk’ does not mean ‘no risk’ and what was once a routine habit has become a more thoughtful exercise, thanks to improved research.
Paranoia about vaccines is unfounded. After all, the risk of disease is not zero, either. But careful consideration of the benefits and risks will help maximize your dog’s health.