Just like people, dogs are constantly exposed to, and threatened by, viruses, bacteria, fungi, foreign proteins, diseases, and more... and, just like your immune system, your dog's immune system is the natural defense against all these threats.
A healthy immune system has two components, (1)discrimination, which distinguishes your pet’s own normal organisms from dangerous invaders, and (2)recognition, which detects foreign organisms through the lymph nodes.
Once a foreign body is recognized a natural reactions begins, warding off the threat. This takes time, however, and first-time invaders sometimes produce illness. Severity depends on exposure and seriousness of the foreign agent. If first-time invaders are destroyed, the body builds immunity and later invasions of the same agent are blocked more rapidly with little or no illness.
Many infectious diseases act more quickly than the immune system’s defenses. The result can be swift, serious and often fatal. Vaccination is critical to immunize your pet before it is exposed to infectious threats.
Vaccination works on the principle that the immune system responds much faster when it detects an invader that it has already faced and beaten. Thus, for each major disease covered the vaccine introduces just enough antigen, or foreign agent, to trigger an immune response. Because the antigen dosage is low, modified or killed, it cannot cause the disease.
The reason you need to vaccinate is because most infectious diseases incubate faster than a vaccine can produce antibodies. Thus, vaccinating an animal shortly before, during or after it is exposed to an infectious disease offers no protection. You need to expose the puppy to a low dose of the antigen, to build it's immune system, before it's exposed to the disease. This is especially true when immunity is being established for the first time, as in puppies. Thereafter, booster shots produce faster immune response in adult dogs.
At Shepherd Country Kennels we use Spectra vaccines made by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., and sold by Durvet, to immunize all of our puppies and adult dogs. Over the years we've found them to be very reliable and economical.
If you'd rather save money by vaccinating your puppies yourself, as opposed to going to a veterinarian, you can buy spectra vaccines at Tractor Supply, or almost any farm supply or feed store, and even some Veterinarians.
To find a store near you that carries Spectra vaccines, you can use Durvet's website at durvet.com/product-category/dog/vaccines-dog
Spectra vaccines protect against all types of diseases that your puppy or adult dog might be exposed to. Here are some of the most common diseases and which vaccine to use...
And of course you need to know when and how often to vaccinate your puppy, so here's a vaccination schedule according to your puppy's age...
Remember, vaccination is powerless after onset of an infectious disease. The principle of vaccination is to create immunity before your pet is exposed. So, whether you choose to do it yourself, or take your puppy to a veterinarian, make sure you start your puppy's vaccination schedule at 6 weeks of age, and continue until your puppy is 15 weeks old. And be sure to give your adult dogs their annual booster shots. They'll thank you with their love and loyalty for many years to come.