Vaccinating Your Dachshund

Puppies are the most susceptible age group to several lethal viruses. Fortunately, vaccines have been developed to protect dogs of all ages from the most commonly spread infectious diseases. Puppies receive a series of vaccinations, usually given every two to three weeks from the age of six weeks through 14 to 16 weeks.

Giving your puppy a series of vaccinations is important because at some point after six weeks of age, he loses his mother-provided immunity to deadly viruses. Since there is great variation as to when this event happens, it is necessary to vaccinate a puppy every three weeks in hopes that he will get the vaccine at a point when he can create his own antibodies but before he is exposed to a virus.

Adult dogs receive their vaccinations every one to three years. If you are adopting an adult dog, find out if your dog has already been vaccinated and if so, when. You want to make sure your dog is safe, but you don't want to needlessly stress your dog's immune system by revaccinating too soon.

If you own an aging dachshund who suffers from a chronic or acute disease, your veterinarian may advise against vaccination. The reason for this is that the vaccination may carry a far greater health risk to this dachshund than the risk of the targeted diseases.

It used to be that every adult dog received a booster for the same vaccines every year. As of mid-2004, however, a new, three-year combination vaccination became available for canine parvovirus, canine distemper, and canine adenovirus. Instead of receiving annual boosters, dogs using this new vaccine only need to be vaccinated every three years.

Core Vaccinations

For puppies and healthy adult dachsies, there are several vaccinations that are not optional because the diseases they prevent are all known killers. These are known as the core vaccines. They include vaccinations for canine distemper, canine parvovirus, canine hepatitis, and canine parainfluenza, which are usually bundled together, and the vaccination for rabies, which is given by itself.

A typical puppy schedule of vaccinations will include a bundled vaccination at six, nine, 12, and 15 weeks; an individual vaccination for rabies at 16 to 20 weeks; and a rabies booster at one year.

Optional Vaccinations

The dachshund is a breed that is prone to adverse side effects from vaccinations. These side effects may include swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site; mild fever; an abscess at the injection; tremors, difficulty walking; seizures; and anaphylaxis. If your dachsie shows an adverse response to a vaccination, take him back to the veterinarian immediately.

Depending on where you live in the country and what environments your dachsie will be exposed to, your veterinarian may suggest a handful of additional vaccinations. These vaccinations are considered non-core, and include the following:

  • Bordetella or kennel cough: Commonly contracted where there are lots of dogs around, such as a boarding kennel or a dog show.

  • Oronavirus: Formerly a core vaccine but now limited to areas in which this disease presents itself.

  • Giardia: A protozoan that is found in contaminated water; recommended for dogs that hunt, hike, or are otherwise exposed to water sources.

  • Leptospirosis: Recommended for puppies and dogs who might come in contact with stagnant water, wild animal or cattle urine, or food sources contaminated by rats.

  • Lyme disease: Spread by infected ticks mostly in high-risk areas, such as the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and some southwestern states.

If you are traveling with your dachsie, tell your veterinarian where you are going and ask if she recommends any additional vaccinations to protect your puppy or dog. It may be that the area to which you are traveling has a high risk for a disease that isn't present where you live. Don't let your dachshund travel unprotected!

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