Vaccinations, when given regularly, give your dog long-term protection against serious and sometimes fatal infectious diseases. A vaccine works by mimicking either the particular virus or the bacteria that causes disease. This then primes the body's own immune response, so that it is ready and prepared to fight any future infection if challenged by that same virus or bacteria.
Your vet will be able to advise you on the type of vaccinations your dog should receive and how often. Generally, puppies can begin vaccinations at 8 weeks of age, so schedule a visit to your vet as soon as you can after obtaining your new arrival. Most puppy vaccines are given as part of a series of injections to stimulate optimum immune response. Thereafter booster vaccinations at regular intervals, as recommended by your vet, are strongly advised to ensure continuing immunity.
Your vet will provide you with a record of vaccination, showing the vaccines that have been administered to your dog, and the dates that the next booster is due. This is an important document so please keep it safe, maybe with your pet insurance policy documents.
The following are some of the diseases that can be vaccinated against:
This is a globally widespread and contagious viral disease. It is potentially fatal and spread through ingestion of infected faeces. Clinical signs range from no symptoms at all to fever, vomiting and severe diarrhoea. Vaccination is critical to ensure prevention and to control the spread of the disease.
This is a highly contagious viral disease and can be fatal. It generally affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems, but always begins with a fever. It is spread as an airborne infection and vaccination is the only effective means of control.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus-1)
This worldwide contagious viral disease can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from fever, thirst and loss of appetite to haemorrhage and liver damage, but rarely results in death. Infection is spread through ingestion of infected urine, faeces or saliva. It can be prevented by vaccination.
This is a worldwide bacterial and potentially fatal disease. Transmission generally occurs from direct contact with infected urine or contaminated water, with rats the main carriers of disease. It is relatively rare in the UK due to effective vaccination, but if contracted it can cause rapid and fatal kidney and liver damage to your dog. It is also possible for humans to contract this disease (Weil’s Disease).
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
This is a highly contagious, but generally mild disease which can be caused by a spectrum of infectious agents, including canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus –2 and a bacteria called Bordatella bronchiseptica. It predominantly causes inflammation of the throat, but can progress to the lungs. The main symptom is a dry, harsh, non-productive cough, which can be followed by retching or gagging. This vaccine is especially important for those dogs attending regular shows or going into boarding kennels.
If you suspect your dog is having a bad reaction to a vaccine, call your veterinarian immediately.