Immunity in warm — blooded animals and humans is the main protective force of the body, which allows you to fight harmful external and internal factors. It is not known what would happen to living beings if the immune system did not reflect the attacks of numerous bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa, would not cope with internal failures and disorders.
The role of immunity in animal health
The first “portion” of immune cells any newborn receives with mother’s milk, that is, immediately after birth, it does not have its own immunity. His body is still safe thanks to the protective forces of the mother.
Over time, the puppy will develop its own immunity, which will successfully cope with most pathogens that enter its body.
The stronger the protection, the stronger the health of the dog, the less and less often it gets sick, and the problems that arise pass faster and without a trace, without complications. But if the immune system weakens, the animal can become very ill. To prevent this from happening, owners need to make every effort to maintain the dog’s health in perfect shape.
Why the immune system may be reduced
The following conditions and diseases are the reason for the decline in immune forces:
- Incorrect, insufficient or unbalanced nutrition of the dog.
- Stressful situations that the dog gets into: weaning from the mother’s breast, transfer to another family, the appearance of a small child or a new pet in the house, moving, visiting a veterinary clinic for the first time, and so on.
- Long-term, severe or chronic diseases.
- Surgery, anesthesia.
- Use of massive doses of antibiotics and other drugs that can depress the immune system.
- Giving birth and feeding puppies.
- Worm infestations.
- The presence of fleas, lice, ticks and other parasites.
Pet owners may notice a decrease in their pet’s immunity due to the following signs:
- Lethargy, passive behavior, apathy, unwillingness to play.
- The animal often lies down, tries to hide from people, sleeps a lot.
- The dog quickly gets tired on a walk.
- The dog’s appetite is reduced.
- Sometimes the animal is overcome by attacks of aggression, it can growl at its own owner.
- Its coat loses its luster and smoothness, becomes dull, dull, may start to fall out or get lost in tangles.
- Increased frequency of diseases, longer and more severe course.
If you find such symptoms, you need to check the dog with a veterinarian, because signs of reduced immunity may indicate that the pet has serious health problems.
How to raise the dog’s immune system
There are two types of immunity: innate and acquired. The first is inherited at birth, and the second is produced throughout life by contact with pathogens.
After the animal gets over the disease, its body “remembers” the pathogen and produces the appropriate antibodies. As a result, even repeated infection is not as dangerous for the dog as the first one, because its immune system has already learned to recognize the enemy and repel its attacks in appropriate ways.
Therefore, the best way to deal with potential infections and diseases is to get vaccinated in a timely manner. After vaccination for a certain time, the animal develops resistance to infection.
Even if the dog gets sick, the disease proceeds much milder, in a blurred form, the animal suffers less and returns to normal faster. It is especially important to carry out timely vaccination against diseases that are potentially fatal to dogs.
Ways to further strengthen the immune system of the PSA are the following measures:
- Proper selection of a balanced diet, taking into account the age and health of the animal.
- Tempering the dog, staying in the fresh air, walking at any time of the year, in different weather conditions, sufficient physical activity.
- Timely regular deworming and elimination of blood-sucking parasites. It is especially important to do this if the dog lives on the street or comes in contact with other animals, especially stray ones.
- Protection of the dog from the negative effects of stress. Don’t yell at him, scare him, or let the children grope and terrorize the dog too much. Provide him with a quiet, protected place for a restful sleep, protect him from various actions that can lead to stress.
- Treat the animal at the first sign of illness. Do not do this arbitrarily, remembering that medicines for humans are in most cases dangerous for dogs, they have a different dosage, and they can do more harm than help.
- Immunity is formed in the digestive system. If the dog has digestive disorders — constipation or diarrhea — the veterinarian will advise probiotics that can gently eliminate the problem.
- In the cold season, and if the dog is weakened, often ill — then all year round, it can be given special “dog” vitamins. They contain the necessary complex of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other useful substances that stimulate and strengthen your own immune system.
- As prescribed by the veterinarian, the dog is given special substances to maintain and strengthen the immune system — immunomodulators.
It is advisable to use all these methods in a comprehensive manner, they should not be an exception to the rules and not a way to respond to a problem that has already happened, but the basis of a healthy lifestyle.
Overview of drugs
As a means to increase the level of immunity in a dog, the veterinarian may suggest using the following drugs:
- Tincture of Echinacea. It is performed on alcohol and is used as a means to raise the immune system in the presence of various diseases, as well as for preventive purposes. It should be borne in mind that such funds are given in drops in water strictly according to the scheme.
- Cycloferon. It is an immune-modeling and antiviral agent. The drug stimulates the production of endogenous (own) interferon.
- Ribotan. This immune modulator is quite actively used in veterinary medicine, it is an ampoule solution that increases the activity of macrophages, stimulates the synthesis of interferons, and increases resistance to specific antibodies.
- Maksidin. This is a veterinary drug that is widely used for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases in animals. It is an interferon inductor.
- Gamavit. Immunomodulating agent for animals, used for complex treatment of infectious diseases, intoxications of various types, including food poisoning and the consequences of helminthiasis, the use of antibiotics.
- Immunal. This drug is practically an analog of tincture of Echinacea, since this plant is the main component of the remedy. The drug is a stimulant of the non-specific immune system.
These are just some of the medications that a veterinarian can prescribe to strengthen a dog’s immune system. Each remedy requires precise compliance with the dosage and treatment time. The dose is selected by the veterinarian individually for a particular dog, taking into account its weight, age, and existing diseases.
Dangers of self-treatment
The worst thing a dog owner can do is experiment with its health. You don’t need to think that giving her drugs that support the immune system out of control is helping your pet. The service may be bearish.
Excessive activation of the immune system may lead to the fact that their own defenses will no longer “work” in full force. Paracelsus also said that an organ that is not used ceases to function.
The use of stimulants is prohibited for a number of diseases, for example, with tumor formations, such drugs can accelerate and enhance their growth. Such drugs are prescribed exclusively by the veterinarian for a specific animal according to indications, and not arbitrarily.
Methods of maintaining strong immunity in dogs are exactly the same as for humans:
- Properly built diet and compliance with the diet regime. The dog should not be skinny or obese — a normal weight is necessary for the proper functioning of the entire body.
- The animal must be athletic. This means that he needs movement as much as proper nutrition.
- Performing all vaccinations required for the dog at this age.
- Keeping the animal clean, maintaining hygiene after walking on the street.
- Regular control of worms and fleas.
- Maintaining mental calm and mental balance of the dog. An animal that is loved is less susceptible to diseases.
- Seeking veterinary care at the very beginning of symptoms of distress.
If you follow these simple rules, your pet will live a long, happy and healthy life.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and I’m a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.