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Dog Vaccinations

The Importance of Dog Vaccinations

One of the most important tasks you will carry out as a dog owner will be to get your dog vaccinated. Dogs and puppies are vaccinated against a range of infectious diseases. These diseases are currently under control in the UK because of our excellent vaccination protocol.  

To ensure your dog's total protection, it will need a primary vaccination course, usually given as a puppy. However, it's also essential for them to have a yearly booster vaccination to ensure they are protected for life.

Routine vaccinations include - 

  • Distemper is a nasty virus that attacks several organs, including the guts, heart, immune system, lungs, brain, and nerves. It spreads in the air through sneezing and coughing and via bodily fluids. The virus can live in an environment where an infected dog has been for several hours. 
  • Infectious Hepatitis/Adenovirus is a virus that attacks the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, blood vessels, and eyes. It is caught from an infected dog or by going somewhere an infectious dog has been. It is spread in bodily fluids. Dogs who survive infectious hepatitis are a risk to other dogs for 6-9 months as the virus will be shed in their urine, and the virus can survive up to a year in the environment. 
  • Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that attacks the intestine, causing vomiting and diarrhea. It is caught from contact with infected faeces or items an infected dog has encountered. It is often fatal in puppies, and vaccination is our best defense.
  • Leptospirosis – is a bacterial disease that can damage vital organs like the liver and kidneys, causing severe illness. Dogs can become infected with leptospirosis by licking or sniffing the ground where an infected animal has urinated or from freshwater or wet ground where leptospirosis can live for several months. Leptospirosis is zoonotic (can be caught by humans).

Optional additional vaccinations 

Kennel Cough is an airway infection most commonly causing a dry hacking cough. Dogs can also suffer from lethargy, high temperature, and a reduced appetite. Kennel cough is spread by direct contact among dogs, on surfaces like bowls and toys, and in the air. 

  • Most dogs do not require treatment and will recover within a few weeks, but during this time, they must avoid contact with other dogs (and for 2-3 weeks after they have stopped coughing). 

Herpes  A large part of the dog population has it but will not show any signs. It is considered a reproductive disease in adult dogs, and the dog will be infected for life; symptoms include eye problems, respiratory issues, and inflammation of the genitals in adult dogs. Pregnant bitches can suffer abortions, stillbirths, and infertility. The virus is most serious in puppies under one month of age, as it causes them to stop suckling, fade, and die. Vaccines are usually only given to pregnant bitches to stimulate immunity against the virus, which is then passed on in the bitches milk to the puppies to protect them in the early few weeks of life.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. It's commonly spread through the saliva of an infected warm-blooded animal. It is transmitted by either being bitten or scratched by the infected animal or their saliva entering through a cut. Dogs are the biggest carriers of the disease worldwide. Once a dog is infected, rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, as the UK was declared rabies-free over 90 years ago, dogs are not routinely vaccinated against Rabies. However, all dogs traveling abroad must be vaccinated before traveling. 

  • Vaccination protocols vary depending on the manufacturer's guidelines and the countries you may travel to with your dog. Rabies is zoonotic (can be caught by humans).

If you're a premium account holder and have further questions or other pet health enquiries, access our 24/7 vet line via your account dashboard to speak to one of our registered veterinarians.

If you'd like to access this feature and don't yet have a premium account, you can log in to upgrade your account or call the office on 01223 622658.

Author: Emma Webb / Posted: February 13th 2024
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