Vaccination protects against diseases which can kill your dog or take a very long time to be cured. There are five major infectious diseases that are covered by routine vaccination. They are all highly contagious, need extensive and expensive treatments and with the exception of kennel cough may be fatal. None of them needs to be a problem when your animal is vaccinated.
When to vaccinate?
Puppies can start their vaccinations from 6 weeks, but we recommend from 8 weeks of age. We usually give one injection at 8 weeks, a second at 10 weeks, and a final injection at 12 weeks. Until a week after the second injection, puppies should be kept away from other dogs.
Dogs older than 12 weeks of age only require two injections if they have not started a vaccine course before. These are given four weeks apart.
Most dogs will have a yearly booster. Leptospirosis is given yearly, as is Kennel Cough (if it is needed). Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus vaccines are given every three years. Some dogs may receive boosters less frequently than this based on discussions at health checks regarding risk factors. Even if you are not receiving a vaccine, annual checks are still advised.
Is a common infection and highly contagious with a high death rate. Young puppies are most susceptible as they lose the immunity passed on from their mum. However, unvaccinated dogs of any age can be affected.
Clinical signs include vomiting and foul-smelling diarrhoea, dehydration, lethargy and fever. In extreme cases it can be fatal if not treated early.
Distemper (hard pad)
Is commonly seen in unvaccinated puppies (3-6 months), but dogs of any age in a susceptible population and an area of high density (cities, rescue centres) can be affected.
Clinical signs include fever, watery discharge from the eyes and nose, seizures, paralysis, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can also cause hardening of the nose and footpads.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Usually affects dogs younger than 1 year old, but unvaccinated dogs of any age may be affected. Death rate is higher in unweaned puppies.
Clinical signs include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, anorexia and death in severe cases. Some dogs with the disease have a tender abdomen.
Is a zoonotic disease that can be passed to humans causing ‘Weils disease’. Young animals are usually more severely affected and death rates can be high with rapid deterioration, possibly death.
Clinical signs include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, dehydration, jaundice and bleeding from gum margins.
Infectious Tracheo-bronchitis (Kennel Cough)
Highly infectious but has a low death rate. Occurs in areas of high density (boarding kennels, rescue centres) and can affect dogs of any age.
Clinical signs include a cough that is dry and unproductive, sometimes associated with retching. The disease can lead to a more serious pneumonia that needs antibiotic treatment.
Is a zoonotic disease that can be passed to humans affecting the nervous system.
Clinical signs of rabies are divided into 2 types:
1) Excitative. Signs include irritability, restlessness, aggression, incoordination, disorientation and seizures;
2) Paralytic. Signs include incoordination, difficulty walking on the hindlimbs, difficulty breathing and swallowing, changes in facial expression and progressive paralysis.
Both forms will lead to death. Rabies is controlled by the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). There are currently no cases of it in the United Kingdom in cats and dogs.