There is still no treatment for most viruses that affect dogs today. We believe that ‘prevention is better than cure’. We frequently see unvaccinated puppies with parvovirus, which can be very rapidly fatal, and Kennel Cough is another extremely common illness that we see in dogs of all ages. Both of these and many other diseases can be prevented or kept to a minimum just by a simple vaccination.
We recommend yearly booster vaccinations to ensure that your dog’s immune system is always prepared in its constant fight against disease. Some of the diseases mentioned below are treatable but some can be fatal which is why it is wise to vaccinate against them to help protect your dog.
Vaccinations for dogs
Normally, it is advisable for puppies to be given an initial course of two vaccination injections, from eight weeks old. These should then be followed by a booster vaccination on an annual basis. A multivalent vaccine is used which means that with one injection we are actually vaccinating against a variety of diseases. The vaccination will help protect your dog against:
- A viral infection that causes painful and severe diarrhoea and vomiting leading to dehydration, with over 25% of cases proving fatal.
- Mostly affects puppies although adult dogs can be infected.
- Damages dog’s immune system.
- It is highly contagious.
- A viral infection that has symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory and neurological disease.
- Can be fatal.
- Causes severe damage to the liver and kidneys.
- Can be fatal.
- This is now rare due to vaccinations, but still present.
Leptospirosis (the canine equivalent of Weil’s Disease)
Each year there are more and more cases of Leptospirosis in the UK, most recently being found in those areas affected by flooding and bad weather over the winter months.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which can cause organ failure and require antibiotics, rehydration and organ damage control which can be expensive. To make it worse, Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans as well – so if your pet catches it, so could you.
Symptoms of Leptospirosis include:
- High fever.
- Vomiting and Diarrhoea – with traces of blood.
- Jaundice – a sign of liver failure.
- Dark urine.
However, these symptoms are also noticeable with a lot of other illnesses so if your pet does show signs of any of these, please do not hesitate to contact your vet as soon as possible.
Kennel Cough (Infectious bronchitis)
- Harsh hacking cough.
- Extremely contagious between dogs.
- Causes hepatitis.
- A respiratory virus that is another component of Kennel Cough. Vaccination reduces the likelihood of your dog contracting this infection and reduces the severity of the illness if your dog does become infected.
A vaccination programme can be started any time.
It is never too late to start a vaccination programme even for an older dog and your vet will be able to advise you on this. Elderly dogs have a weaker immune system so it is especially important to keep their boosters up to date. In addition, most kennels will not take dogs for boarding unless they have an up to date vaccination record.
Accordingly, it is wise to ensure that your pets have their annual booster. If more than 12 months pass between boosters, your pet may have to start the primary vaccination course again, as its immunity to disease will have deteriorated.