Which vaccinations should my dog receive?
Your pet should be protected against those diseases which are most common, highly contagious and which cause serious illness or death. Such diseases include Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza.
Rabies may also be essential if your dog is travelling abroad - check with the practice a couple of months before you plan on travelling abroad, and with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
How can these diseases affect my dog?
Canine Parvovirus is a highly infectious virus spread by infected faeces.The virus is very stable & can survive in the environment for up to a year. This means it can be picked up and spread by owners' hands and shoes. Clinical signs include dullness, inappetance, acute bloody diarrhoea and vomiting. Dogs often die from dehydration if not treated quickly enough & even if they survive they can be left with severe bowel damage. Vaccination is the only certain method of preventing this potentially fatal disease, which is most severe in young pups and elderly dogs.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Caused by Canine Adenovirus Type I, this disease is transmitted among dogs by contact with secretions, such as saliva, infected urine or faeces. Clinical signs include loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and the development of 'Blue eye'.
Vaccination against this often fatal, hard-to-treat disease is absolutely essential. Highly contagious, it belongs to the same family as that of measles and is spread by close dog-to-dog contact. Symptoms can include listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhoea and vomiting; convulsions and paralysis may occur in the disease's final stages. The distemper virus attacks many organs, including the nervous system, which may be permanently damaged, even if the dog recovers. Distemper is most common in 3-6 month old puppies, and can also infect ferrets, who should also be vaccinated against it.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease usually spread by infected urine. It can cause liver and kidney failure in infected dogs. Importantly this disease is a zoonosis, which means it can also affect humans causing Weils's disease. In humans it has a wide range of symptoms, from flu-like symptoms to jaundice, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Parainfluenza is one of the viruses implicated in the syndrome known as 'kennel cough', along with the Canine Adenovirus and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Clinical signs will be a dry, hacking cough. Although this condition is not fatal it can cause considerable discomfort and pain for your pet. However, the vaccine does not guarantee your animal will not develop kennel cough as other pathogens can cause this.
Kennel cough is an infectious cough that can be caused by a variety of different viruses & a bacteria called Bordetella.
Although the routine vaccination your dog receives gives some protection against kennel cough, a supplementary intra-nasal vaccine can be given for Bordetella bronchiseptica. Some kennels may insist on this extra vaccination before allowing your dog to board with them. Vaccination against all causes of kennel cough is not possible in the same way that there is no vaccine against the common cold, so vaccinated dogs may still develop a cough when mixing with other dogs but the vaccination does help to prevent the more severe infections.