Vaccines are vital to a healthy dogs life. They help build up immunity to a variety of if not fatal diseases. Also they are needed if they are to go into a kennel or travel abroad.
When do they need their first vaccines?
A dogs first vaccine course is normally referred to as a puppy course or a primary vaccine course. This consists of two vaccine’s given four weeks apart. The first one can be given as early as 8 weeks of age.
Until your puppy’s vaccination course is complete and active, they should not go to: Outside public areas, or any garden where an unvaccinated dog may have been. But during this time it is still important that your puppy starts learning how to socialise (that is, being familiar with a range of situations and experiences, and how to make friends with other dogs and people).
How often should I repeat my dogs vaccine?
After their initial course of vaccine’s it is then advised to have a yearly top up booster. This is just one vaccine once a year. This is also the time we will give your dog a full check over to ensure they are fully healthy. A lot of time the earlier we catch a problem, the better we can treat it.
What do they protect against?
We offer a full DHPPi and L4 vaccine for dogs. This provides for the optimal protection and we use a very reputable brand ‘Nobivac’. DHPPi stands for ‘Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo & Para influenza. L4 stands for Leptospirosis (4 strands).
Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a highly infectious disease that is often fatal and is very costly to treat. It is spread through contaminated faeces of affected dogs, and can remain active in the environment for anything up to nine months. The virus causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea which leads to a dog or puppy becoming very weak and dehydrated. The disease is more prevalent in certain parts of the country than others, so vaccination frequency advice may vary.
Canine distemper: This virus is spread by an infected dog’s saliva and occasionally urine, and is normally contracted through direct contact. Initial symptoms include fever, eye and nose discharge, poor appetite and coughing. As the disease progresses, it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and the skin on the paw pads to become hardened. In later stages, the central nervous system can be affected, causing symptoms such as seizures, limb weakness and imbalance. Serious cases can be fatal, and if a dog recovers it may suffer fits and ongoing health problems. There is no medicinal cure, only prevention. Dogs with the virus will be given supportive care to help their bodies fight the virus and treated with fluids to prevent dehydration and medication to help control seizures.
Leptospirosis: This is a serious, life-threatening disease which can progress quickly and lead to organ failure. It is spread through the urine of infected animals, which can contaminate water or soil. The disease enters the body through the eyes, nose, mouth or broken skin. Symptoms include excessive thirst, fever, vomiting, muscle pain and infertility. The disease can also infect humans. Antibiotics can treat the disease, but there will often be long-term health complications.
Adenovirus 1 and 2: This is a viral disease with two strains, the first of which causes hepatitis, an infection of the liver (also known as Infectious Canine Hepatitis). The second strain causes a respiratory illness which is a type of kennel cough. In both cases the disease is transmitted through saliva, urine, faeces, blood or nasal discharge of infected dogs and the virus can survive for many months.
Canine parainfluenza: This is a highly contagious and airborne respiratory infection, like a cold. It is not usually serious, but important to vaccinate against.
Are vaccine’s bad?
There has been a lot of bad press recently regarding the safety of vaccines however the recorded number of side effects are very low. It is common for a dog to go slightly quitter than normal and in rare cases go of their food however this normally lasts 12-24 hours. Titre testing is a new kind of test that checks the levels of antibodies in your pets blood to tell us if they are protected for these diseases or not. This may be an option if you feel strongly about not vaccinating your pet. Titre testing involves taking a blood sample and sending to an external lab for processing. However it can be considerable more expensive than a vaccine due to having to have a blood test and being sent to an external lab. if you are considering titre testing check with your insurance provider if this is acceptable as some may not cover these illnesses if they are unvaccinated. Also if you use a kennels then check if they will accept this as proof of vaccination. Pet passports for traveling abroad will not accept Titre testing as proof of immunity and they will still need to be vaccinated.