Dog Vaccination Costs

Whether you have a new puppy to care for or an older dog that needs regular shots, dog vaccination costs are an important consideration in today’s economy. Vaccinations are essential to preventing a wide array of health problems, diseases and other harmful or fatal conditions that can affect a dog.

Veterinarians usually recommend beginning vaccinations for a puppy when it’s just a few weeks old, and some vaccinations have to be renewed every so often in order for them to be effective.

Vaccinations are commonly given against several different diseases, including distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. Your dog’s vaccination schedule will depend on factors such as where you live and your dog’s exposure to other dogs or animals.

Parvovirus is contagious and often fatal for most puppies. But if your puppy or dog doesn’t come into contact with other dogs, this vaccine may not be needed.

The best way to determine a dog’s vaccination costs long-term is to research the types of vaccinations that are vital to your dog’s health based on its age, breed, gender and where you live.

Most dog vaccinations cost around $20 each; additional booster shots add to the total costs. You also have to figure in the cost of a visit for the vet to administer the vaccines. You’ll probably be charged an additional $40 to $50 for the vet’s office visit.

Dog vaccination costs often vary considerably depending on what part of the country you live in and whether you live in an urban or suburban area rather than rural.

If you do not already have a regular veterinarian it would be wise to call different veterinarian’s offices and ask what the charges will be for an office visit and the dog vaccinations your pet requires.

 

Dog Vaccines

The list of vaccines to prevent common dog viruses contains only seven vaccines. Each of these vaccines can be used to protect against one or more viruses that can affect a dog.

Vaccines contain a viral or bacterial agent that is added to a liquid and then given to a dog through ingestion, inhalation or injection. This causes a dog’s immune system to create antibodies to a specific illness and will protect the dog from infection if exposed to that virus.

Each of the vaccines listed below refers to the level and type of the virus or bacteria in the vaccine, and the level and type of protection a dog will acquire after receiving the vaccine.

1. Monovalent Vaccines
Monovalent vaccines provide protection for one disease at a time. An example of this is the Rabies vaccine. This vaccine contains only the rabies viral agent added to the liquid.

2. Multivalent Vaccines
Multivalent vaccines contain several bacterial or viral agents that have been added to the liquid the dog will ingest. As many as 8 or 9 disease agents can be combined into one Multivalent vaccine. A common vaccine called Duramune is known as a “core vaccine” and protects against four of the most common dog viruses.

3. Recombinant Vaccines
Certain antigens on infectious organisms stimulate a greater antibody response in a dog. In a Recombinant vaccine the genes of the virus are fragmented into separate parts and the parts that will produce the best immune response are isolated and used in the vaccine.

4. Injectable Vaccines
Injectable vaccines are injected into a dog’s muscle or under the skin. When injected in the dog’s muscle it is referred to as an intramuscular vaccine and if injected under the skin it is called a subcutaneous vaccine. Some vaccines can be injected using either method but some such as the rabies vaccine must be injected intramuscularly.

5. Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)
In Modified Live Vaccines, live virus particles are altered in a laboratory to keep the virus alive but kill its ability to produce the disease. When introduced to the dog’s body, the viral agents reproduce and trigger an immune response without causing an outbreak of the infection. MLV vaccines stimulate a dog’s antibodies more quickly and in larger amounts.

6. Killed Vaccines
In a Killed vaccine, the actual viruses or bacteria are killed and then placed in a liquid solution. The viruses or bacteria are then not able to multiply within a dog’s body. More of the virus or bacteria particles are introduced in an attempt to trigger an immune response. There is one disadvantage to this type of vaccine and that is it can put a dog at an increased risk of developing an allergic response.

7. Intranasal Vaccines
Intranasal vaccines are designed to protect against diseases of a dog’s respiratory system. They are processed into a liquid to squirt or drop into a dog’s nose. The vaccine is transmitted directly into the dog’s bloodstream and provides protection more quickly than an injectable vaccine can.

It is important that you consult your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your pet and when they should be administered.

 

Canine Distemper

For many years canine distemper was one of the most deadly viral diseases affecting dogs. Since the introduction of a vaccine to combat the disease, the incidence of distemper infections has dropped considerably.

Good vaccination practices in the U.S. have played a major role in the reduction of distemper cases in this country, but unfortunately, canine distemper is still a huge problem in other parts of the world.

The canine distemper virus is an RNA virus. A variation of the canine distemper virus causes measles in humans.

Canine distemper can affect dogs of any age but is more likely to affect younger puppies rather than older dogs. This may be due to an acquired immunity resulting from a canine distemper vaccination, or to exposure to the virus, resulting in the dog developing an immunity to the virus.

The wide range of clinical signs accompanying an infection of distemper often makes it very difficult to diagnose a young dog with distemper. In some dogs, a temporary fever and a lack of appetite, sudden lethargy or mild depression, are often the only signs of the onset of distemper. Some dogs infected with the distemper virus may have discharges from the nose and eyes in addition to coughing, a fever, lack of an appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. It is not uncommon for an infected dog to display some but not all of the symptoms associated with canine distemper.

Distemper infections often go undiagnosed when an owner believes the dog just has a cold or some other non-life threatening illness. The unfortunate consequence of misdiagnosing a dog’s distemper symptoms could result in the death of the dog.

Some dogs are able to survive the initial viral infection but later develop neurologic signs in one to two weeks after becoming infected. These signs include seizures, sudden and strange changes in behavior, and constantly walking in circles. Many dogs who develop neurologic signs develop rhythmic motions or twitches. Sometimes an affected dog will act as if it’s chewing on something due to continuous contractions of the head muscles. If a dog is able to survive the initial viral infection and does not display any neurologic damage, it does not mean the dog is completely in the clear. A distemper infection can also lead to retinal damage and discoloration of the dog’s cornea. Sometimes, the dog’s skin, nose and foot pads will become very hard.

There is a period of time that the virus remains dormant after a dog is infected. The clinical signs of distemper will begin to show approximately 10 to 14 days after infection. If a puppy is vaccinated against distemper but has already been infected with the virus, the vaccination will not be effective in preventing the disease.

Currently there is no specialized treatment that can kill the distemper virus. Prevention of infection is the best way to guard your puppy or dog against canine distemper. Be sure your new puppy is vaccinated at approximately 6 weeks of age. The vaccinations will need to be continued until the puppy reaches 12 to 16 weeks of age. The distemper vaccinations are given in 3 to 4 week intervals. Injection of the vaccine has to be repeated due to interference with the vaccine from antibodies in the mother’s milk being passed on to the puppies. These antibodies prevent the vaccine from being effective in about 75% of all puppies vaccinated at six weeks of age, approximately 25% of puppies vaccinated at nine weeks of age, and only a small number of puppies vaccinated at twelve weeks of age.

The follow-up vaccinations provide protection to almost all puppies who receive the vaccine.

Canine distemper virus is found in all the body secretions from an infected animal. Raccoons and skunks are often carriers of this deadly disease, so it’s a good idea to watch your dog carefully when venturing into areas where these animals are often found. Living in the city does not automatically exclude the possibility of an infected raccoon or skunk because these animals love to raid neighborhood garbage cans when foraging for food.