Vaccine to prevent rabies in dogs — and control Chagas disease

Written by E, a Registered N.Y. Pediatrician A vaccine for dogs to protect them against toxoplasmosis – a potentially deadly parasite – might soon be on the way, but it needs you to get…

Vaccine to prevent rabies in dogs -- and control Chagas disease

Written by E, a Registered N.Y. Pediatrician

A vaccine for dogs to protect them against toxoplasmosis – a potentially deadly parasite – might soon be on the way, but it needs you to get in on it.

This vaccine, which scientists are now testing in dogs, is called NWIVV, short for Novel Otitis Media V. And while most vaccines are given as a single injection, this one is a three-dose, two-and-a-half-month series. It will ensure that only vaccinated dogs receive the particular dose that was given to them in the first two shots, meaning that they will stay protected against this particular parasite, which can spread rapidly through the stool of infected dogs.

The long-awaited vaccine could be out in little more than a year. For now, though, people with, or who have had pets with, toxoplasmosis – even if they are healthy – should consider getting one themselves.

Here are some things to know:

– A recent study estimates that more than 40,000 American dogs die from toxoplasmosis each year. Some 15,000 dog deaths are expected in 2017 alone.

– The parasite, thought to be primarily transmitted to dogs by infected bats, can also be transmitted to humans through direct contact with undercooked pork and contaminated human blood.

– Dogs are especially susceptible to the parasite, with rates of infection in dogs in South Africa approaching 300 percent.

– The eight most common strains of toxoplasmosis infect dogs of various breeds and ages. Those most at risk are dogs older than a year, males, canines with short hair, and cats.

– To determine whether you are at risk, take a test in the veterinarian’s office. Test results are usually sent home within a day.

If you or your pet has an answer to that question above, get vaccinated against toxoplasmosis.

To register for veterinary information for your home or office, visit VetAccess.org

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