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 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 is nearly always fatal.
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 a progressing kidney failure. We have upgraded our vaccination against leptospirosis and the new vaccine protects against 4 different strains for optimal protection (L4). Puppies need two vaccinations 4 weeks apart (8 weeks and 12 weeks). Adult dogs that have been vaccinated previously will need a second L4 vaccination 4 weeks after their booster vaccination to boost their immunity against the two additional strains. Please note: this only applies the first time that they receive the L4 vaccine and they will only require one vaccination the following year.
Canine Parvo Virus –
This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Parvovirus is highly contagious. Dogs contract the virus through contact with infected animals’ stools. Without treatment dogs become dehydrated and weak and often die. This virus is very common, and puppies that are not properly vaccinated are often affected. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers seem to be at greater risk for parvovirus. 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 recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination at 16 weeks of age following the primary course of injections at 8 weeks and 10 weeks. This is to ensure adequate protection against a potentially fatal disease.
Canine Adenovirus –
Canine adenovirus 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 vaccination is given intra-nasally (up a nostril). This disease is transferred between dogs due to secretions from the upper respiratory tract. Dogs most at risk of contracting kennel cough include dogs that go into kennels, go out with a dog walker, go to puppy classes or take part in agility, or dogs that meet lots of other dogs in the park. The clinical signs include a dry retching cough as though they are trying to be sick, and occasionally vomiting is also a feature. Kennel cough is caused by a complex of different viruses and bacterial infections. Therefore the vaccination is not considered to be 100% effective. However we strongly recommend this vaccination as it reduces the severity of the symptoms and the likelihood of your dog contracting this infection.
How to get started
A primary vaccination course is required and this can be done in your puppy from 6 weeks old. The first injection is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a second and third injection are required at 10 weeks and 12 weeks of age to ensure full protection. We also recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination at 16 weeks of age. After this primary course, a once yearly booster vaccination will provide full cover for these conditions.
Your dog also receives a full health check before receiving its vaccination, which can be an excellent way of your vet picking up on any subtle changes, which may be signs of other early disease.
Kennels are now also increasingly demanding full vaccination of your pet before allowing them to stay, so why not prepare now for your much-needed holiday.
In these modern times we should not see so many deaths from preventable disease.