Successful immunization is dependent on:
- Identifying the proper dogs to vaccinate
- Developing a vaccination plan
- Administering the vaccine
- Observing the vaccinated dog
Identifying the proper dogs to vaccinate
Every dog is not a candidate for vaccination. Vaccines have been developed to induce immunity in healthy dogs. Pregnant females, sick, or debilitated dogs should not be vaccinated. During periods of illness or stress, a dog’s immune system is pushed to its upper limit of performance and, as a result, does not function efficiently. Further stimulation of a compromised immune system with vaccination will most likely not result in a protective level of immunity. Therefore, vaccination should only be reserved for well-nourished, non-parasitized, non-stressed, diseased-free dogs.
Developing a vaccination plan
Once appropriate vaccination candidates have been identified, the vaccination plan can be initiated. Remove the vaccine from the refrigerator prior to vaccination and handle with care. Use a sterile 3cc syringe and sterile 22 gauge ¾ inch needle to withdraw 1 dose (1mL) of fluid from the vaccine vial. A new, sterile syringe and needle should be used for each entry into a multi-dose container and for each vaccinated dog.
Administering the vaccine
The vaccine should be injected just beneath the loose skin over either shoulder. To do so, lift the skin and insert the needle just underneath the skin. Gently pull back on the plunger of the syringe to insure the needle is not in a blood vessel. If the needle is in a blood vessel, blood will enter the syringe when the plunger is pulled back. If the needle is in a blood vessel, re-position the needle before administering the vaccine. To administer the vaccine, slowly press the plunger of the syringe using light pressure until the syringe is empty. Be sure to inject the full dose (1mL) under the skin. It is also a good practice to vaccinate dogs after the morning feeding. Doing so will ensure that dogs will have plenty of energy during and after the vaccination procedure.
Observing the vaccinated dog
After vaccination, observe the dog for approximately 1 hour. If a post-vaccination adverse event occurs, consult a veterinarian immediately. In case of anaphylaxis; epinephrine, corticosteroids and/or antihistamines may be indicated depending on the nature and severity of the event. Signs of an anaphylaxis are, but are not limited to: skin rash, itching, respiratory congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid drop in blood pressure, rapid and difficult breathing, urination, rapid/weak/irregular heartbeat, subnormal body temperature and lack of coordination.