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The Debate to Vaccinate | German Shepherd Dogs and Vaccines

One of the most controversial questions that has come up in veterinary communities in recent years is the question of canine vaccinations, which has stirred up fierce supporters and detractors alike. While supporters of annual vaccinations argue that they are a necessary and integral part of maintaining your German Shepherd dog’s health, critics of the procedure see the push towards annual vaccinations as a means of driving up the profits of veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers at the risk of canine health. While thegermanshepherd.org at this time takes no official stance on the debate of “to vaccinate or not to vaccinate,” dog owners and prospective dog owners should make sure they’re familiar with the pro- and anti-vaccine camps’ arguments to ensure that they make the choice that is right for their German Shepherd.

The facts are that only one shot is legally required in the US: the rabies shot, which is to be given every three years to your German Shepherd. Nevertheless, many dog owners find that they are encouraged by their veterinarians to come in at least annually to take a number of vaccinations for their dog. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that a number of vaccinations be given to dogs at least once, if not more often: Canine Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis, and Rabies are all listed as core vaccinations recommended, while non-core but still encouraged vaccinations include Measles, Parainfluenza, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Corona virus, CAV-2, and annual revaccinations of lyme diseases vaccines. What this translates to in practical terms is a series of shots given in puppyhood to your German Shepherd dog , between five and fifteen weeks of age, followed by the occasional booster in puppyhood. These vaccines work by exposing your dog to trace amounts of antigens associated with various diseases, stimulating your dog’s nervous system in order that your dog’s body will produce antibodies to destroy the disease. Just as it is impossible for those who have, for example, had chicken pox in childhood to have it again, dogs who have been vaccinated against the various diseases should not get sick from those diseases; their bodies are already equipped to fight back. Dogs are not, however, injected with the “disease” – vaccinations contain a mild, weakened, and/or incomplete version of the virus to prevent them from becoming ill. While vaccinations are not always effective – sometimes as a result of improper storage conditions of the vaccine – veterinarians argue that they are a vital part of maintaining health for your German Shepherd or any other canine or feline, for that matter.

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