There are a number of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases which can affect your dog. There is no treatment for many of these diseases and young puppies who catch them often die. Thankfully many of these diseases can be avoided with the simple protection provided by vaccination. Ensuring that your dog completes an initial course of vaccinations and then receives annual booster jabs is important if you want to keep your dog fit and healthy.
There are a group of diseases that all pets are at risk of catching and at Links Vet Group we recommend that all pets are vaccinated against these. Other vaccinations we only recommend for at risk groups.
When should my puppy be vaccinated?
Up till the age of 7-8 weeks puppies are protected with antibodies from their mother’s milk. These antibodies prevent vaccinations from working and there is no point in vaccinating before this age. Puppies need a course of two vaccinations to be fully protected.
Puppies should not mix with other dogs until at least 1 week after receiving it’s injections unless you can be sure that the other dogs have been fully vaccinated and are free of disease.
1st Vaccinations: 8 weeks
2nd Vaccinations: 12 weeks
Booster: Every 12 months
Regular booster vaccination is recommended each year to ensure that your dog is fully protected and to help keep him fit and healthy.
How often are vaccinations repeated?
The protection that vaccinations give reduces over time and therefore booster vaccinations are required every year to ensure that your pet is protected. Some diseases need require less frequent vaccination and these are given every 3 years.
If your dog misses his annual booster by more than 6 months his immunity will be so low that a full course of two vaccinations is required again as when he was a puppy.
Kennels will usually insist on seeing proof of regular vaccinations before looking after your dog.
Parvovirus for example is a severe problem. It develops very quickly and in many cases can be fatal. It’s highly contagious because it is transmitted via dog faeces and direct contact with infected dogs. It can be carried around on people's shoes and get into homes where it can stay infectious for several months. There is no specific cure for parvovirus, which causes severe diarrhoea and can lead to heart disease. It can be devastating to entire litters of pups, but can also be spread to older dogs.
It rapidly leads to septicaemia and death in around 80% of infected dogs. Foxes are carriers both in town and country.
This bacterial infection is usually spread from drinking contaminated water and can attack the kidneys and liver. This disease is contracted from the urine of rats and other infected mammals. This can be from contaminated canals and
rivers and is widespread in the UK. Affected animals can develop severe liver and kidney problems. Humans can also
become infected (Weil's disease) and this is a potential problem for canooists and other water enthusiasts.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis:
Again thankfully this disease has become rare due to vaccination of dogs across the UK but still exists and causes severe liver infections which if not fatal leads to lifelong problems with the liver.
This is a very unpleasant 'whooping cough' like infection transmitted from dog to dog not only in kennels but anywhere that dogs come together such as parks, on walks, lessons, dog shows, shoots etc. This disease can be life threatening in puppies but can
also be very problematic in dogs with underlying heart and lung disorders (heart disease or bronchitis, obstructive disease such as in pugs and bulldogs).
Videos available online are very informative about this disease though they can be distressing to watch:
The Signs to Look Out For
Serious infectious diseases need urgent attention as they can progress very quickly and unfortunately in the worst cases they can be fatal. If you are concerned at all about your pet’s health call one of our 4 surgeries.
Fortunately, vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of disease outbreaks in recent years. However, a rise in the wild fox population means that there is an ever present reservoir of infection.
Parovirus: The main symptoms are vomiting, putrid bloody diarrhoea, severe lethargy, dehydration and high fever.
Infectious Bronchitis (Kennel Cough): Cough that sounds like something is stuck in the throat. Affected dogs often cough until they retch.
Viral Hepatitis: This is a serious disease with signs ranging from fever, lethargy and inacceptance to vomiting and diarrhoea. Infected patients can suffer blood clotting problems with spontaneous bleeding in the mouth and eyes, with the eyes sometimes turning a cloudy blue.
Fever, lethargy and abdominal pain are seen with sickness, diarrhoea and often bloody or bright yellow urine being passed.
Distemper: This is a severe and usually fatal disease which has thankfully become very rare in the UK due to vaccination of dogs.
treatment, which progresses to cause fits and convulsions. It often starts as a cough with runny eyes and nose. The virus causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and also aggressive respiratory disease. The name 'hardpad' is derived from the effect the virus has on the pads of the feet which thicken dramatically in affected dogs
To discuss a vaccination programme to protect your dog please ring your local clinic or our
main Haddington surgery on 01620 822262.
As part of the vaccination booster appointment we’ll also carry out a Free Health Check. This is a thorough clinical examination designed to check that all is well. If there are any issues it gives us the chance to spot them early when they’re easier to treat.
Are there any side effects?
Very occasionally a dog can seem 'off colour' for a day or two after its vaccination and the injection site may also become a little tender and swollen. If these effects do not wear off we recommend that you bring your dog in for an appointment with one of our vets.
If you are concerned about any symptoms in your dog do not hesitate to contact your vet for
reassurance or advice.
Infectious disease may not seem very common in dogs because most dogs are protected by vaccination. Your dog must receive regular vaccinations to be fully protected against these diseases.
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