Responsible pet care requires puppies to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Puppies are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first few months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary in a puppy. The immunity from puppy vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease.
At 6-8 weeks of age puppies should receive their first vaccination; this needs to be followed up with another one at 10 -12 weeks. Only after this booster vaccination should you then take your puppy out in public areas. For adult dogs annual health checks and booster vaccinations, as required, will provide the best protection.
The most common type of vaccination we give is called the C4 which includes Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus and Canine Parainfluenza (The Viral component of Canine Cough).
However a C5 vaccination is the minimum requirement for most boarding kennels and is recommended for dogs mixing frequently with large numbers of dogs (eg Agility, Obedience training). It covers the same as C4 with the addition of Bordatella Bronchiseptica (The Bacterial component of Canine Cough).
Parvovirus – a highly contagious viral gastroenteritis. Depression, loss of appetite, severe vomiting and diarrhoea containing blood are some of the symptoms. Death can occur very quickly and dogs often die from severe dehydration despite intensive veterinary care. The virus is very hardy and can remain in the environment for years, this unfortunately means it is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for the disease to be spread.
Distemper – a highly contagious disease producing symptoms such as conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, convulsive seizures and spinal cord damage. Treatment is often ineffective with dogs that do recover often being affected by permanent brain damage.
Hepatitis – Canine hepatitis is a viral disease which, like distemper is extremely contagious and often fatal. In puppies can cause sudden death, whilst adult dogs can experience, weakness, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, acute abdominal pain, loss of appetite and bleeding. Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems and can act as carriers spreading the disease to other dogs for many months.
Canine Cough – a complex disease that can be caused by both bacterium and a virus which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as parks, shows, obedience schools and boarding kennels. Affected dogs will have a hacking cough persisting for weeks. In puppies and old dogs the disease can be devastating. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of infection.
Please give us a call to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet puppy or dog.