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Just like humans, dogs must be vaccinated to avoid several serious diseases. When you have a kid at home, it’s mandatory to maintain a record of their vaccination for your future reference. The same goes for your dog.
The core vaccines like distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and rabies should be given to all dogs. In contrast, the noncore vaccines aren’t mandatory. Vets might recommend them based on a dog’s medical history and lifestyle.
What if you lose or misplace your dog’s vaccination records? You are likely to hit the panic button. Right? Let me assure you that you may have lost the records, but that doesn’t mean retrieving it is impossible.
Read on to learn the significance of your dog’s vaccination records and what you can do to recover the lost documents.
What will Happen if You Don’t have Your Dog’s Vaccination Records? 3 Possible Problems
Your dog’s vaccination records are one of the most important things you must preserve with utmost care. You could be in trouble when you do not have them, especially if your dog has a medical emergency. So, let’s look at the consequences you are likely to face when you misplace your dog’s vaccination records.
Another probability is that you’ve adopted a canine from a shelter home but didn’t get his records. What may happen when you don’t have your dog’s vaccination records?
1. You Might Face a Problem when Your Dog is Suffering From a Health Issue
When your dog falls ill, and you need supporting records to confirm with the vet if your canine has been vaccinated or not, then it could be troublesome. It would have been easier for your vet if he got to know whether your dog was vaccinated for a disease he is suffering from or not. In such cases, however, your vet will begin the treatment. Upon recovery, your dog will be vaccinated for that particular disease.
2. An Unvaccinated Dog may be at a Risk of Infection
As mentioned, the DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo, Parainfluenza) vaccines will protect your dog from serious illnesses. Adding to these is the rabies vaccine, which is also a mandate for your dog. It could be troublesome if your dog is suffering from any of these diseases, and you are unsure if he is vaccinated since you do not have the records. When unsure about your dog being vaccinated for any core disease, talk to the vet. He will decide what’s best for your dog based on your canine’s age.
3. You Might be Needed to Submit the Vaccination Records as Per Law
Rabies is considered contagious to dogs, and many countries have legalized rabies vaccination in dogs. If a rabies-infected dog bites a human, it could result in severe consequences and even death if timely treatment isn’t sought.
Eight states require imported animals to be vaccinated for rabies in the United States. In most other states, dogs should get rabies vaccination at a particular age. So, if your dog isn’t vaccinated for rabies or any other contagious disease, or if you do not have the proof to validate the same. Then there’ll be a problem when you plan to shift with your family and pet to those particular states (which need dogs to be vaccinated for rabies).
Significance of Dog Vaccination Records
As mentioned, your dog’s vaccination records are vital for many reasons. Let’s look into all of them in a nutshell.
- It helps the pet owners, and even the vets, to track all the vaccinations a dog has received. It will be even more helpful when a dog is ill and suffering from dangerous diseases that need vaccination. When the records are handy, it will help the vet decide whether to give the dog a booster once he has recovered. The absence of appropriate documents may make treatment challenging.
- There is a matter of legal safety as well. When you have your dog’s vaccination records, you’ll not face hassles while traveling with him to the United States. The reason is that the country has rules that state canines have to be vaccinated for rabies.
- If you need to give your pet for adoption or keep him in a kennel for a long time, you would even have to provide the concerned people with your dog’s vaccination records and other details.
2 Steps to Take When You’ve Lost Vaccination Records
You might get anxious and worried when you realize you have misplaced your dog’s vaccination records. Well, there are ways to retrieve it also. Do follow the steps below, and you can retrieve the lost records.
1. Get in Touch with the Vet
You must contact the vet’s office when you cannot find your dog’s vaccination details. We need to provide them with accurate information like your dog’s name, his date of birth, and your name.
Make sure you don’t make any spelling mistakes, or else it may be difficult to retrieve the records.
In most cases, they will have the details in their system and can help you with the same. You may request them to email or fax you the records. Most offices have websites, and you may be asked to log into their portal and enter your dog’s details. The records will then be retrieved.
Another possibility could be that you’ve moved from one state to another and have misplaced your dog’s vaccination records in the shifting process. You could contact the previous vet clinic and ask them to mail over your dog’s details to you.
It’s common for one vet office to mail the medical records to another upon the owner’s request. So, when you have moved to a new state and appointed a new vet for your dog, you could request the transfer of records.
2. Get in Touch with the Shelter Home or Previous Owners
This applies when you have adopted your dog from a shelter home or any acquaintance. During the adoption process, it is always essential to ask for the transfer of all medical details of the dog, along with the vaccination records, from the previous owner.
If the records weren’t handed over then, or in case you lost the records, you can also ask the shelter home for the vaccination and other medical details.
Rebuilding Your Dog’s Vaccination History
After you’ve retrieved the vaccination records, it’s time to rebuild them. Take extra care in preserving them so you do not lose them again. Here are some steps to follow:
- You may take a printout of the vaccination details and save it in a hardcover file. Label it well to know your dog’s shot details are in there. Keep some photocopies of the papers, and a laminated copy also. Many owners often keep their kids and dog’s vaccination records in the same file to prevent them from getting misplaced.
- Besides a hard copy, a soft copy of the vaccination record is essential. In this way, there are fewer chances of losing the documents. You could save it on Cloud, Google Drive, or One Drive.
No Pet Shot Records During an Emergency?
It could be a crisis when your pet suffers from a particular disease, and there is no record to validate if your dog has already been vaccinated for that disease. Under such circumstances, your dog will still be treated.
The vet will examine your dog and advise for bloodwork to determine his ailment. After the diagnosis, he will begin the treatment. Once your dog has recovered, the vet may advise your dog to be vaccinated.
2 Tips on Keeping Dog Shot Records Safe
Do you keep losing your dog’s shot records quite often? Here are a few valuable tips that will help you keep your dog’s shot records safe. Do take a look at them.
- Maintain a soft copy and hard copy of your dog’s shot records. When you have both of them at hand, if you lose one, you could fall back on the other.
- Remain in contact with the vet’s office. If your dog was vaccinated there, retrieving the records will be easier when you lose them.
When you do not have your dog’s vaccination records handy, it will be challenging to determine if he was vaccinated. Your vet could conduct a titer test. That is not done to confirm if your dog was vaccinated or not.
Instead, a titer test helps to understand if a particular vaccine is ensuring complete protection for your dog. Your dog is immunized against a certain disease when the results are positive. A negative test result means he is yet to develop immunity.
When your dog is not vaccinated, the titer test will be negative. But, sometimes, a fully-vaccinated canine may test negative and not develop immunity.
You may wonder if your dog has been vaccinated for a certain disease when you do not have the records. But, consult a vet before vaccinating him for the second time.
If your dog is over-vaccinated, he could suffer from severe health complications. It can be fatal in extreme cases. So, when you have no track of your dog’s vaccination records, you should talk to the vet, who will decide on the following action.
If you have a pet at home, you must be extra careful about maintaining his health records, including vaccination details.
If you’ve lost the records, there’s always a way to retrieve them. But that doesn’t mean you become lax when it comes to keeping your dog’s vaccination records. After all, your dogs are like your kids. You definitely can’t be indifferent to their well-being.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.