Vaccination is the process by which we can protect your dog against some of the most serious diseases, by giving injections as a puppy and by " topping up " the cover with the all important annual booster, this is also a great opportunity for a full clinical health check.
In additiondogs can be protected from most forms of " kennel cough " a distressing but not usually fatal disease contracted during boarding, at dog shows , dog classes or simply from excercising your dog in the park or on the street.
This is an extremely unpleasant dysentry type of disease. Affected dogs are profiundly depressed, vomit, have abdominal pain and pass large amounts of foul smelling, bloody diarrhoea.
When we see cases , prompt and aggressive treatment is the only hope of a cure and most estimates give only 50% chance of survival. The mainstay of treatment is replacing the fluid loss by intravenous drip, and antibiotics to try and prevent secondary bacterial infections and septicaemia. It is not uncommon to give more fluids than the whole body weight of the patient during treatment . Those dogs lucky enough to survive, take a long time to recover, as they lose a tremendous amount of weight.
This is one of the oldest dog diseases known and is still to be found everywhere in the UK. Usually dogs start with a runny nose and eyes and have a cough. Later on they develop vomiting and diarrhoea. If they survive , they can go on to develop thickening of the foot pads ( this is why distemper is sometimes called hard pad ) and damage to the teeth, which become yellowed and are lost prematurely.
The most sinister long term consequence of distemper in those dogs that survive is the damage to the nervous system which can lead to fits later in life.
3) Canine Infectious hepatitis
This disease attacks the liver and can be rapidly fatal. Even prompt and aggressive treatment often fails to save an affected dog. This part of the vaccine protects against adenovirus 2, which is also involved in " kennel cough ".
This is a bacterial disease spread by the urine of affected animals and carrier animals such as rats. The disease affects and can be spread to people and is extremely unpleasant. It is often caled Weils disease. The dosease attacks both the liver and kidneys and in some cases dogs can die within a few hours of going down with leptospirosis. Dogs who survive often have kidney scarring, leading eventually to premature death through kidney failure.
5) "Kennel cough"
Kennel cough or canine cough as we are now trying to call it is another disease that can be prevented through vaccination. There are some minor strains such as adenovirus mentioned above that can cause the disease but the major 2 infections are through parainfluenza and a bacteria called Bordatella. Dogs can catch it easily just by being in contact with another dog who has recently had the disease as it is very contagious. Incubation can be usually a week or so and then a dry hacking cough will develop, If it is a viral version then generally these symptoms will subside within several weeks but can persist for longer and there is no effective treatment as it is a virus the immune system must fight the infection.
If it is the bordatella bacterial version then antibiotics are usually needed.
We us Canigen KC to protect against kennel cough and it is given as drops up the nose and gives 1 years protection. We would usually recommend giving the vaccine 3 weeks before needed for kennels, shows or just to provide protection whilst outside. The bordatella component does give full protection within 72 hours but the parainfluenza component can take up to 3 weeks.
We can start vaccinations from 6 weeks of age, although many dogs are not re-homed until 8 weeks. Please check if your breeder has already given any vaccinations.
Puppies receive two vaccinations, the second one being two weeks after the first, or at ten weeks old whichever is later.
Adult dogs who have had no vaccines or where the boosters have lapsed receive what we call an " adult starter " This comprises two injections 2-4 weeks apart and this will bring the protection back up to the correct level.
As you will have read, vaccination is the only way to protect your pet from these serious or fatal diseases.
Your dog depends upon you and only you for all their needs and this is not limited to feeding, excercise and companionship.
Part of being a responsible guardian is arranging preventative measures such as vaccination and worming as well as seeking help when accident or illness strikes.
On rare occasions, side effects such as raised temperature, lameness or lethargy can be noted for the first 24-48 hours. There may also be a soft painless swelling at the vaccination site, which can last for up to 21 days. Vomiting or diarrhoea may also occur as a side effect but is usually self resolving.
On extremely rare occasions, an anaphylactic reaction may occur which would require urgent treatment.
Pregnant bitches should not be vaccinated until after the birth and weaning of puppies, as there have been no clinical trials to evaluate the safety of vaccines during this time.