Vaccination is especially important in dogs to protect them against several fatal diseases. With the development of vaccines the death rate from these diseases in puppies has dropped dramatically.
Vaccination is an essential part of responsible dog ownership. The diseases we vaccinate against include:
Parvo is an extremely contagious disease. This virus causes vomiting and diarrhoea often with blood resulting in severe dehydration, depression, abdominal pain and is commonly fatal. The disease can be transmitted by not only direct contact with an infected animal but also by contact with the virus in the environment. Walking your unprotected pup or dog in an infected area eg a local park can result in the disease.
The virus can persist for a long period of time in the ground at least 12 months in some areas. Goulburn has a high incidence of this disease so a puppy should be fully vaccinated before taking it out for walks especially to areas where other dogs frequent.
Canine Distemper is a serious and generally fatal disease. The virus can initially cause depression, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea. Then in the later stages nervous signs including fitting, tremors and paralysis can be seen.
Treatment is limited and dogs that appear to recover can then develop brain damage. Foxes are known to carry this disease and are a source for infection to dogs. There have been confirmed cases of distemper in Goulburn recently.
Canine cough (Canine Adenovirus type2, Canine Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella Bronchiseptica) is a collection of diseases that cause a hacking cough with some fever and depression. Pneumonia can develop in a small number of cases.
The disease is highly contagious and often spread by dogs in close contact to each other eg at boarding kennels, obedience classes and dog parks.
Puppies are especially susceptible to infectious diseases and need to be vaccinated at an early age. Depending on the age of their first vaccine puppies generally need a course of 2 to 4 injections before they are considered to be protected. Puppies should be vaccinated from 7-8 weeks of age, then again every 3-4 weeks until their last vaccine at a minimum of 16 weeks of age.
Adult dogs need booster vaccinations in order to maintain their immunity. The first adult vaccine is given 12 months after the last puppy vaccine then every year or 3 years dependent on diseases covered or the vaccine used.
Parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis vaccines all stimulate long lasting immunity in a healthy adult dog – often lasting up to 3 years. However, canine cough needs annual boosters to maintain coverage.
Please contact our hospital to get any advice on your dogs’ vaccination needs.