Vaccination plays a vital role in reducing the prevalence and severity of several diseases - including some that are associated with a high degree of mortality.
Due to dogs being walked outdoors and likely in areas where there have been other dogs and possibly foxes, vaccination is very important to protect your pet. Dogs do not need to come in to contact with each other to pass on diseases.
Which diseases do we vaccinate against?
Canine Parvovirus - This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Parvo virus is highly contagious. Dogs contract the virus through contact with infected animals' stools. Without treatment, dogs become very dehydrated and weak and often die. This virus is very common, and puppies that are not properly vaccinated are often afflicted. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers seem to be at greater risk for Parvo. There is also a cardiac form - This form is less common and affects puppies infected in the uterus or shortly after birth, until about 8 weeks of age, hence the importance of vaccinating breeding animals. We are currently seeing too many cases of this easily preventable disease in out area.
Canine Distemper - Distemper is a nasty virus that is highly contagious. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus than adult dogs. Clinical signs include those of an upper respiratory infection - conjunctivitis and even pneumonia with a high fever. The dog may also have neurological signs when the virus reaches the brain, causing fits. Bloody diarrhoea is also frequently present. This disease it nearly always fatal.
Leptospira Canicola - This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans. The disease is spread through contact with urine of infected animals. Dogs with Leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice and fever. Affected animals will eventually die of progressing kidney failure.
Canine Parainfluenza Virus - Plays a part in 'Kennel Cough' infection. It is passed between dogs by direct contact with infected nasal secretions. By vaccinating against the virus and giving a separate intra-nasal vaccine, you are providing your dog with the best possible cover. Vaccinating against this virus alone is not sufficient to prevent infection.
Canine Adenovirus - This virus causes Infectious Canine Hepatitis, a potentially fatal disease involving vasculitis and hepatitis. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea. Infection can also cause respiratory and eye infections. The infection is passed in the urine and faeces of affected animals.
Kennel Cough (Bordetella Bronchiseptica) - This vaccine is given separately to your dog, and ideally 2 weeks after it's routine booster vaccination. The route of administration, is squirting the vaccine liquid up the nose. This is normally tolerated in most dogs. This disease is transferred between dogs due to secretions from the upper respiratory tract. Dogs in close proximity to each other are at most risk e.g If in kennels, if your dog is particularly friendly with others on walks, at dog shows or at training classes. The clinical signs include a dry retching cough, as though trying to be sick, and are occasionally.
There are other complicating factors with Kennel Cough - viral infections play a role. However, if you keep up to date with your dog's routine vaccinations and also vaccinate with the kennel cough vaccine - you are providing your dog with the best cover available.
How to get started
A primary vaccination course is required an this can be done in your puppy from 6 weeks of age. Two injections are required and these are done 2 - 4 weeks apart. The second injection cannot be given before your puppy is 10 weeks old, to ensure full cover against the diseases. After this primary course, a once yearly booster vaccination will provide full cover for these conditions.
Your dog is also given a full health check before receiving its vaccination, so this is an excellent way of your vet picking up on any subtle changes, which may be signs of other early diseases.
Kennels are now also increasingly demanding full vaccinations of your pet before allowing the to stay. So why not prepare now for a much needed holiday.