Vaccinations. They can be a confusing topic to navigate for any dog owner, whether new to dog ownership or not. With all the conflicting information out there, it can be hard to determine vaccination schedules for your dogs. Questions arise such as what is the best time for vaccinations to start? Should you stagger vaccinations?
And are all vaccinations really necessary? While I strongly recommend discussing vaccination schedules with your veterinarian, we are going to go through some of the hard questions. And hopefully, by the end, the topic of vaccinations will be much less confusing.
What Are Vaccinations?
For the most part, everyone knows what a vaccination is. After all, we have been living with vaccinations our whole lives and probably so have our parents. However, do we really know what a vaccination is?
Known by several names, it is important to really look at the lexicon when it comes to vaccinations. These important words are:
- Immunization: This term is often interchanged with vaccination so you may hear your vet speaking of immunization or vaccination. However, the meaning is slightly different. Immunization is the process of a dog becoming protected against a specific disease.
- Vaccination: Again, used interchangeably with immunization, it is when a vaccine is introduced into the body. This vaccine initiates a response and produces an immunity to a specific disease.
- Vaccines: These are the product(s) that are given to a dog to initiate a response. Vaccines are a product that contains a weakened or dead version of the disease; however, some vaccines have genetically engineered antigens instead of the disease itself.
All of the vaccinations are given at different times, which we will go through later in this article. For now, let’s really look at how vaccinations work.