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Do vaccinations always work?

Updated on February 18, 2012

Dogs are highly valued pets. These animals are loved as much as any other member of the family. This is why a dog owner would do anything possible to maintain the health of the pet. Knowing that vaccinations and regular checkups are necessary, one of the very first things a responsible owner would do after getting a dog is to schedule a visit to a vet. Diseases cannot be totally prevented but vaccinations have saved a lot of dogs from diseases. Consequently, dog owners were not only saved from paying enormous medical bills but most importantly owners were saved from worrying about a sick pet. Unfortunately, vaccinations would not always work.  There are instances when the dog believed to be protected from a particular disease by vaccination will still be infected by the very same disease.

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What is vaccination?

Vaccination is the administration of live or weakened bacteria or viruses for the purpose of stimulating a dog’s immune system. Viral and bacterial invasions will make the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the foreign bodies. The harmless bacteria and viruses introduced when the pet is vaccinated will cause the immune system’s memory cells to recognize the foreign agents. The next time the bacteria or the virus attacks, the immune system can respond quickly to ward off the disease more efficiently.

Improper storage of vaccine

One of the reasons for vaccination failure is improper storage of the vaccine. Vaccines are sensitive to storage conditions. Too cold or too hot temperatures will cause the vaccine to die thus it will no longer be able to effect protective immunity.   The “cold chain” must be maintained from the manufacturer to the end user.

Improper administration

Vets must carefully note the use-by-date information on the vaccine label otherwise the dog may be receiving an already dead organism.  Attenuated vaccines have the same life span as the live organism thus giving the vaccine past its due date will not generate the desired effect. To achieve best results, vaccine manufactures come up with vaccine administration guidelines. For instance the spacing of vaccinations and the desired dosage is specified. The vaccine will fail to boost the immune system of the dog if these guidelines are ignored.

Exposure to infectious organisms prior to vaccination

Vaccination will fail to protect the dog if prior to vaccination, the dog is already infected. A vaccine will take some time to produce a protective immune response. This is why vets warn owners against taking pets that are not yet fully protected to public places.

The dog’s immune system

Vaccination would be less efficient in providing the dog protection from diseases if the dog is fevered or undergoing medical treatment as the vaccine cannot stimulate an already weak immune system.

Puppy and dog vaccination information

Dog Vaccination


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      Very informative hub with great videos. We sometimes do things because we're told and it's always nice to know why and what the reasons and/or effects are. Very informative hub, especially to a dog lover! Voted up and useful.


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