At the moment in my house we have 3 fully vaccinated dogs, and 6 unvaccinated puppies (they are just shy of two weeks old as of writing this). I work at an animal shelter and understand the need for vaccinations, particularly when we see outbreaks of preventable diseases such as Parvovirus. You may know that your dog needs its shots, but you may not know what those vaccinations are protecting against and when they should be done. The main vaccine we use in Australia is a C5 vaccine (or C3 with a Bronchishield to protect against kennel cough).
A C5 vaccinates our dogs against five main diseases:
Canine Parvovirus – Otherwise known as Parvo this viral disease can be deadly in young puppies and is expensive to treat. Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and severe bloody diarrhoea. Parvo is highly contagious and outbreaks can claim the lives of many dogs.
Canine Hepatitis – Another highly contagious disease, canine hepatitis attacks the liver and can cause high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. Dogs that have recovered from canine hepatitis may continue to carry the disease which increases it’s spread.
Canine Distemper – Canine distemper is a viral disease that can affect any dog, especially puppies. Symptoms may include a high temperature, lethargy and inappetence. In conjunction with fever there may be discharge from the nose and eyes, vomiting, diarrhoea and coughing. Pneumonia may also develop in time. Distemper can also cause muscle spasms, convulsions and progressive paralysis. Permanent brain damage and death may result.
Canine Parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica – These are the viral and bacterial forms of the disease commonly referred to as “Kennel Cough”. This is a highly contagious respiratory disease which affects a large percentage of dogs at least once in their lifetime. Symptoms of kennel cough include a dry, persistent cough and watery discharge from the eyes or nose.
Instances of many of these potential deadly diseases are quite low thanks to routine vaccination schedules for our pet dogs. Your veterinarian will set out a vaccination course for your pet but generally speaking most dogs will be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks for Distemper, Hepatitis & Parvovirus, 12-14 weeks for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Bordetella and a third vaccination at 16-18 weeks for Coronavirus and Leptospirosis (another set of infectious diseases which are particularly harmful to young puppies). Your vet will then recommend an annual booster every year to maintain immunity.
Visit the Frontline Plus website for more information on Dog Vaccinations.