Vaccines That Protect Your Dog When They Come Into Contact With Wildlife

19 November 2020
 Categories: Pets & Animals, Blog


If your dog spends some time outside, especially in a wooded area, you may worry about them coming into contact with wildlife. Of course, this comes with concern about injuries, but it also comes with worries about communicable diseases. Luckily, there are vaccinations to protect your dog from most of the diseases he or she might catch from wildlife.


Rabies is the diseases people are often most concerned about their dog contracting. There are two main reasons rabies is so scary. First, it is 100% deadly. Second, it can be passed on to people. Almost all mammals can carry rabies, so your dog could become infected if they are bitten, scratched, or even licked by an infected skunk, fox, raccoon, or other creature. Luckily, the rabies vaccine is very effective and lasts either one or three years, depending on the exact vaccine that is given.


Distemper is often called "canine distemper," but this is a bit of a misnomer because raccoons, skunks, and others that are not in the canine family are able to get sick and spread it. Distemper is very contagious since it is spread through droplets released when the infected animal sneezes or coughs. It causes fever, nasal discharge, reduced appetite, and coughing, and it can be deadly. Dogs need a series of vaccines, given a few weeks apart, to protect against distemper. Then, they need yearly booster shots to keep their immunity high.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can infect most mammals. Although it can be spread directly by wildlife, what is more, common is that an infected animal comes into contact with water, and then your dog contracts the disease from that contaminated water. Still, this disease is a huge concern if your dog is spending time anywhere near wildlife since it causes lethargy, jaundice, anorexia, vomiting, and often death. Luckily, there is a vaccination for dogs, and it needs to be given every 12 months for protection.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a unique disease caused by bacteria that attack the muscles and nervous system. It causes stiffness, soreness, irritability, and sometimes seizures. Lyme disease is carried by ticks, which are quite common wherever there is wildlife. A tick could bite an infected fox, skunk, or coyote and then bite your dog, passing on the disease. The Lyme disease vaccine is affordable, safe, and can be given once a year.

If you are worried about your dog coming into contact with wildlife, then make sure they are protected with the vaccines above. Contact someone like Jones Animal Health Clinic for assistance.