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Dogs benefit from a yearly wellness exam. Many problems can be found on a routine exam and it provides a chance to ask the vet any questions that you may have about health concerns, nutrition, or behavior.
As part of the annual wellness exam, your dog will receive a full physical exam, have a fecal sample checked for internal parasites and have blood drawn to test for heartworm, Ehrlichia and lyme disease.
There are several vaccinations, depending on lifestyle, that your dog will receive. Vaccines that protect against the viruses, such as distemper, parvo and rabies, are three year vaccines. Vaccines that protect against bacteria, such as kennel cough and lepto, are one year vaccines. A complete vaccination schedule can be seen here:
Canine vaccines are commonly referred to by acronyms and it may get confusing to interpret exactly what your dog is being given. Below is a list of vaccines offered for your dog. Combination vaccines are administered every three years for dogs older then three years old.
- Rabies - this is a vaccine that is good for three years against the virus that causes rabies. Rabies can affect all warm-blooded animals, as well as humans. Rabies attacks the brain and is always fatal. Vaccination is the key to controlling this deadly disease. The rabies vaccine is required by law in Michigan and is required before licensing your dog in Kent County.
- Canine Distemper - this is a three year combination vaccine (DHPP). This virus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia and seizures, and can ultimately be fatal. Even if a dog should recover from this serious disease, neurological damage is permanent.
- Infectious Canine Hepatitis - this is part of the three year combination vaccine (DHPP). This disease is caused by Canine Adenovirus Type 1. Hepatitis can cause severe liver and kidney damage in the dog. Infection can also lead to a permanent corneal condition called "Blue Eye".
- Canine Parvovirus - this is another part of the three year combination vaccine (DHPP) and is also called just "Parvo". This is a very contagious virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration, toxemia and death. Young puppies are particularly susceptible to this disease.
- Canine Parainfluenza - this is another part of the three year combination vaccine (DHPP). This virus usually causes a mild cough that may last for two weeks, which may be accompanied by a slight runny nose.
- Canine Leptospirosis - Often called just "lepto", this disease in dogs can be caused by a number of different subtypes of these bacteria. Vaccination for this disease is important because lepto can cause kidney and liver damage in the dog. Lepto can also be spread to humans.
- Bordetella bronchiseptica - this is the vaccination against kennel cough. Signs include a dry, severe hacking cough and complications may lead to pneumonia.
- Borrelia burgdorferi - this is the vaccine against lyme disease, which is spread through the bite of ticks. It is most commonly associated with joint disease and it may appear as a sudden onset of lameness or muscle stiffness.