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Looking After Your Why should I vaccinate my dog?

Pet Advice

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Why should I vaccinate my dog?

Vaccinating your dog is an essential part of being a responsible pet owner. Some of the infectious diseases can be particularly debilitating and in some situations, they can even prove fatal. This article discusses the key symptoms for some of the diseases that we commonly vaccinate against here in the United Kingdom. We will also discuss the commonly used vaccination protocols.

Canine parvovirus (CPV)

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease, which is transmitted via infected faeces and usually affects young dogs. The virus is extremely hardy and can remain in the environment for over six months. Unprotected dogs develop bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, collapse and eventually die due to dehydration and the virus’ effects upon the heart and immune system. 

Leptospirosis (L)

Leptospirosis is transmitted by infected urine and is often associated with stagnant water courses and rats. The leptospira bacteria cause liver and kidney failure and can be very difficult to treat successfully. The disease can also be transmitted to people and is known as Weil’s disease. 

Canine adenovirus (CAV)

This virus is responsible for causing infectious canine hepatitis, and results in a wide range of symptoms, including a high temperature, blood clotting problems, liver and kidney abnormalities. 

Distemper (D)

This viral disease causes a wide range of symptoms, including a high temperature, lethargy, breathing problems, gastro-intestinal upset usually in combination with neurological signs. The foot-pads often thicken and hence Distemper is alternatively called ‘Hard Pad’.

Para-influenza virus (PiV)

Pi virus is involved in the condition commonly known as kennel cough. Infected dogs will have a retching cough with or without upper respiratory tract symptoms. The symptoms can persists for up to six weeks. 

Coronavirus (C)

Acting alone or in tandem with the parvo-virus, coronavirus infection results in gastro-enteritis symptoms. 

Bordatella (B)

This bacteria is the main player in the kennel cough disease and like para-influenza disease, the primary clinical sign is coughing. In very sick animals, kennel cough can be develop into pneumonia.

Rabies (R)

Rabies is not currently seen in the UK, but the rabies vaccination is a compulsory part of the Pet Passport Scheme. Rabid animals are agitated, can be aggressive, hypersensitive and will develop neurological symptoms and the inability to swallow prior to death. This disease can also be transmitted to people. 

Vaccination protocol

Puppies are typically vaccinated at eight and ten weeks of age, with an initial course of two injections, followed by an annual booster twelve months later. These vaccinations protect against D, CAV, CPV, PiV, L +/- C. 

As animals get older, their requirements for vaccination may vary so we recommend speaking to your veterinary surgeon to see which vaccination protocol they recommend for your dog. 

If your dog’s going into kennels, we recommend they receive the kennel cough vaccination. This is administered into the nasal cavity and will last around twelve months. It is usually given about one week before your dog goes into the kennels.  

Pets in the UK travelling abroad usually only require one rabies vaccination so we recommend you speak to your own vet to discuss your requirements.