dog_vaccination_advice

Dog Vaccination

  • Dogs can pick up illnesses from other dogs, the ground, and from you.
  • Regular vaccinations train your dog’s immune system to fight new diseases.
  • Starting as a puppy at 8 weeks, is essential for the best cover.
  • Our vaccine covers Canine Distemper, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and one of the causes of Kennel Cough.
  • Vaccinations are essential for the health of your dog, and are required if you plan on putting them in kennels for any time.

Why do dogs need vaccinations?
Dogs pick up infectious diseases directly from other dogs, or from contact with the ground or other objects. Going to kennels, walking in busy areas or visiting shows or training classes, where there are lots of dogs, increases the risks. Some of these diseases are very serious and may be fatal. One may even be passed on to you, with serious consequences.

The only protection for your dog is regular vaccination.  Even if your dog rarely meets other dogs, viruses can be carried on your shoes and clothing, and an isolated dog will have less natural protection from meeting infections regularly.

Older dogs need boosters as much as younger dogs. All dogs need annual vaccination.  We hear reports of and see cases of Parvovirus all year round, generally in unvaccinated dogs or those overdue for boosters.  Some cases are fatal.  We have also seen the disease in cases where unrecognised methods of vaccination have been relied upon, such as homeopathic methods.  Please ensure your pet is properly protected with a licensed proven vaccine, such as the one used at Mill House.

When should my puppy be vaccinated?
Vaccination should start as soon as possible after a pup reaches 8 weeks of age, with the last vaccine of the primary course given at 12 weeks or older. At Mill House, we recommend at least two full vaccinations as the primary course, particularly if your puppy has contact with other dogs.  After this, a single booster injection every year will keep your pet protected. Primary and booster vaccination protects against all the diseases listed below.

Canine Distemper
Distemper (Hardpad) produces a wide variety of signs, including discharge from the eyes and nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and nervous signs (eg: fits). Distemper is often fatal, and once nervous signs are seen the chances of recovery are poor.

Parvovirus and why is it so important?
Parvovirus causes gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhoea) in older pups and adult dogs. In severe cases the dog vomits and passes blood and death may occur in six to eight hours. Dogs with some immunity may be ill for six to seven days and often need intensive therapy to survive. Cases are seen sporadically, the most recent in October 2013.

Infections of puppies in the first two to three weeks of life leads to severe heart muscle damage and sudden death. Puppies that survive infection may die months later from heart failure.

Leptospirosis and Viral Hepatitis
Viral Hepatitis mainly causes damage to the liver, but also affects lungs, kidneys and eyes (Blue Eye). Illness may be severe or, often, no obvious signs are seen and some dogs are sick and appear off colour for twenty four hours only. There is strong evidence to suggest that dogs that have been infected with the virus are more likely to develop kidney failure in later life.

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterial infection, and in dogs we see two main types of this disease. The first is very serious, as it may be passed to man. It can be picked up from contact with rats or their urine, and jaundice is a major sign.

The second type affects the kidneys and infection may be inapparent, although the dog may suffer kidney failure later in life.

Kennel Cough
Kennel Cough is a complex of diseases caused by several viruses and bacteria. One of the viruses, Parainfluenza virus is included in the routine vaccination.

Vaccination against Bordetella, a bacterial cause, similar to Whooping Cough in people, can be given as a separate injection (Intrac) which is dripped into the nose. Some kennels may request this is done if an outbreak has occurred locally. Kennel Cough may be distressing, but with proper treatment is not usually life-threatening, unlike the other diseases listed above.

All these diseases are seen locally, sometimes with fatal results. We cannot stress too highly the importance of keeping your pet’s vaccinations up to date to prevent the suffering we see in unvaccinated animals.

Why do boosters have to be given? People don’t have boosters, so why do pets?
In fact, people do need regular booster vaccinations when at risk, for example if travelling abroad. None of the above diseases have yet been eradicated and cases of all the above diseases are still reported. A pet is thus always at risk of potential exposure to one of them if it goes out and comes into contact with other dogs. Immunity is also neither lifelong nor of the same duration in every animal.

Annual booster vaccination is a way of ‘topping up’ a dog’s immunity thereby minimising the risk of disease when challenged by natural infection. We use vaccines that are very safe and some components give protection for more than a year – we will only boost the components that are necessary so your pet will have a different booster each year. Human vaccines are boosted where there is an increased risk of exposure, for example vaccination against ‘flu or polio.

My pet is so old it’s not worth vaccinating
Elderly animals, like elderly people, start to lose the ability to combat infection. They are like the young and need more help to protect themselves, hence we recommend continuing to vaccinate older pets, just like older people are recommended to have ‘flu vaccinations.

Homeopathic vaccines – what about them?
The main concern most vets have about their use is that there is no proper independent evidence to show that they work in protecting pets by preventing disease. Indeed, the few properly designed trials that have been carried out by using homeopathic nosodes have shown no evidence of protection. Without evidence of effectiveness, homeopathic nosodes may pose far greater risk to dogs by leaving them susceptible to disease.

Company literature says that only healthy pets should be vaccinated; why is this and what are the risks to unhealthy pets?
To get the full benefit of a vaccine it is important that the pet is healthy which is why it is essential that your vet carries out a health examination before vaccinating your pet. When faced with an animal with long-term diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, most vets will advise that vaccination should be continued. There is no evidence that such animals fail to respond or are at greater risk of problems.

Do vaccines affect different breeds in different ways?
There are no breed-specific contraindications for any of the vaccines currently on the market. Despite this, some breeders occasionally suggest that one or other of the live vaccine components affects their particular breed. When such reports are investigated the information appears to be purely anecdotal and incapable of substantiation.

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