All dogs should have their core vaccinations against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. However, if you use your dog as a hunting dog, these are not the only vaccinations they should get. When your dog ventures out into the woods with you, they have the potential of being exposed to several other illnesses. Thankfully, there are vaccinations for many of these diseases so you can offer your dog protection. Here are three vaccines all hunting dogs really should get.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks. Since ticks are common in the forest, there is a good chance your hunting dog will encounter some of them from time to time. There are topical applications you can apply to your dog's fur to repel ticks, but none are 100% effective. It's best to also vaccinate your dog for Lyme disease, just in case. Lyme disease causes some pretty serious symptoms, like lethargy, serious muscle aches, arthritis, confusion, and seizures. It can be treated with antibiotics like doxycycline, but there is always a chance that it will come back after treatment. Vaccination is safe and effective — a lot letter than having to treat your dog for the disease.
Lepto, as it is often called, is caused by a species of bacteria that is spread through the urine of infected animals. Raccoons, skunks, and foxes can all carry it. If their urine ends up in a stream and your dog drinks from that stream, he or she may catch Lepto. The symptoms are rather unpleasant and include diarrhea, vomiting, blood in the urine, lethargy, and jaundice. Many dogs die from the disease, even with treatment. There is a Lepto vaccine, and it is recommended for all dogs that spend time near natural bodies of water.
The Crotalus atrox vaccine is a different type of vaccine. It is not meant to fight off a bacterial or viral disease, but rather to stop your dog from having a fatal reaction to rattlesnake venom if he or she is bitten. The vaccine contains a weakened form of the venom. When injected, it stimulates your dog's body to form antibodies to the venom. Then, if your dog is bitten, his or her body can fight the venom before it has a chance to take over. Your dog may still become ill from a rattlesnake bite, but the bite should not be deadly as it would be otherwise.
Contact a local animal hospital for more information on vaccinating your dog.