By vaccinating our pets, we are ensuring that they are immune to different, possibly fatal diseases if/when they get exposed to them. Vaccinating our animals prevents spreading of these diseases. Also, if you think of it from a cost-standpoint, it costs less to prevent diseases than it does to treat them.
Rabies is a severe and often fatal disease that effects the brain and central nervous system. The most common carriers of this disease are raccoons. Other wild animals that are common carriers are skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes. Massachusetts requires that both cats & dogs receive their rabies vaccination as early as 6 months of age. A second vaccine is recommended after 1 year and then boosters every three years.
Lepto is a rare bacterial disease spread through urine of infected animals. Most common carriers are rats, raccoons and farm animals. The bacteria in Lepto can be deposited into soil, puddles, lakes, ponds, etc. Your dog can come in contact with this bacteria by drinking (or even swimming/walking in) the contaminated water. As it is not a requirement through the State of Massachusetts, we do recommend it if your dog has an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that is very high in this area. Usually between the months of March and November it is the highest due to the warmer weather. Lyme disease can cause lameness in your pet, lack of appetite and depression. A more serious complication include damage to the kidneys. It is important to consider the Lyme vaccine, but to also get a tick preventative to help repel the different kinds of ticks.
BORDETELLA (KENNEL COUGH)
This is similar to a human having a cold. It is contagious and can be transmitted to other dogs through the air or direct contact. Dogs can show symptoms of kennel cough 3-4 days after being exposed to a larger amount of dogs. For example, a boarding facility, training center or a dog show. The most common (and noticeable) symptom is a hard, "honk" like cough. Then there is sometimes the accompanying symptoms with a "cold"; sneezing, runny nose and loss of appetite.
Canine Distemper is a debilitating disease that weakens the immune system. It is spread from dog to dog though urine, blood or saliva. The most common transmission is through sneezing, coughing and sharing food/water bowls.
Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the intestinal track and white blood cells. It is spread form dog to dog through fecal waste of an infected dog. It is also spread when there is a large amount of dogs - dog parks, boarding/training facilities, shelters, etc. The virus can be carried on the hair of a dogs feet, contaminated cages and even shoes!