Vaccination against highly infectious and highly fatal diseases is one of the key tools we have to promote and maintain health care in our pet populations. In Australia vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious canine diseases, making outbreaks seem less common. To keep our 'clean' image relies on the majority of dog owners maintaining their commitment to regular vaccination.
When Is it Best to Start Vaccinating Your Puppy?
Young dogs are the most susceptible to contracting the diseases we vaccinate against, and so vaccination from 'puppy-hood' is recommended. At Mt Barker Veterinary Hospital the vaccinations we use are commonly termed "C3" or "C5":
Puppies 8 - 12 weeks of age require 2 vaccinations 4 weeks apart, then yearly boosters.
Puppies / dogs over 12 weeks of age require 1 vaccination, then yearly boosters.
The immunity from puppy vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations, as required, will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.
After Vaccination Care
Following vaccination your dog may be off-colour for a day or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact us for advice.
INFECTIOUS CANINE DISEASES THAT WE VACCINATE AGAINST
Canine parvovirus is a disease that affects dogs of all ages but is most serious in young pups and older dogs. The virus attacks the intestines causing bloody diarrhoea, uncontrollable vomiting and severe abdominal pain. Dogs often die from severe dehydration despite intensive veterinary care.
It is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for parvovirus to be spread. The virus is so persistent that the infected dog’s environment needs to be cleaned with a potent disinfectant to prevent spread to other dogs. Outbreaks occur regularly throughout Australia, especially in summer.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect dogs of any age with young puppies being at highest risk. Symptoms vary but can include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits and paralysis usually occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually ineffective and the recovery rate very low. Dogs that do recover may have permanent brain damage.
Canine hepatitis is a viral disease which, like distemper, is extremely contagious and often fatal. Dogs of any age can become infected, however severe cases are rare in dogs over two years of age. Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. In severe cases death can occur within 24 to 36 hours. 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 (also known as kennel cough) is a condition produced by several highly infectious diseases, which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as parks, shows, obedience schools and boarding kennels. Among the infectious agents associated with canine cough is the bacteria known as Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine viruses Parainfluenza and Adenovirus type 2.
Affected dogs have a dry hacking cough which can persist for several weeks. It is distressing for pet dogs and their owners. It is a major problem for working and sporting dogs. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of infection.