Making sure that your dog gets his or her routine annual vaccinations and vet visit is really an important part of overall dog health and care. Using the same vet is highly recommended since he or she will have a better idea of your dog as well as your sense and understanding of your pet. If you go to a different vet every year or use whichever vet is at that clinic that day the vet is really at a disadvantage to catch small changes in your dog's behavior and health. It is similar to going to a family doctor rather than just going to the emergency ward or the local clinic. Building a rapport with your vet also helps you feel comfortable in asking questions and finding out information about your dog from a trusted professional.
Luckily, or perhaps thankfully, most of the canine species are relatively healthy provided they are vaccinated and protected from some of the very serious and fatal viral illnesses that are all too easily passed between dogs and animals. The way that owners and vets are able to protect puppies and dogs from these health conditions are through vaccinations. During the puppies first few months he or she will go through a series of shots and then boosters that need to be re-vaccinated every year or every other year, depending on the vet and the vaccination used. In most but not all areas the following vaccines are included in the combination of vaccinations for your dog:
- Canine distemper
- Canine leptospirosis
- Canine adenovirus-1 & hepatitis
- Canine parainfluenza virus
- Canine parvovirus
- Canine coronavirus
In addition rabies may be an annual or every two year vaccination and some dogs will also receive treatment for Bordatella, more commonly known as kennel cough, as well as Lyme Disease in areas with ticks.
Besides just the vaccination your vet will also want to complete a physical examination of your dog. This will include getting the dog's weight, heart rate and checking their respiratory system by listening to their lung function. In addition vets may also examine the skin and coat, check the eyes and ears and examine the dog's legs, feet and head for any signs of tumors or problems.
In most cases the vet will also worm the dog with an oral paste, do a blood test if heartworm is problematic in your area as well as check out any specific concerns that the owner has.
Talking to your vet about your dog during the exam is important. If you have concerns about vaccinations or are planning on taking your dog to another area, region or country be sure to tell your vet so he or she can advise you on any vaccinations or health concerns you should be aware of.