One of the most important things we do in our clinic is the practice of preventive medicine. Immunisation, together with other measures such as regular health checks and good nutrition, allows us to minimise the occurrence of disease in your pets. But what is it that we vaccinate against and why do we do it?
What Do We Vaccinate Against?
The core vaccines we routinely use in dogs are Parvovirus, Distemper, Parainfluenza and Bordetella which both cause Infectious Tracheobronchitis, and Adenovirus which causes Infectious Tracheobronchitis and Hepatitis. The combination of these vaccines is what is commonly known as the C5.
Parvo is a very contagious, debilitating disease, causing haemorrhagic diarrhoea and death if not treated. Symptoms include high fever, listlessness, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Spread through infected faeces, this highly resistant virus can remain in the environment for many months.
Although now very rare, Distemper is a highly contagious and very difficult disease to treat. The virus is spread by discharges from the nose and eyes of infected dogs. Distemper produces gastrointestinal, respiratory and neurological symptoms including listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhoea and vomiting, convulsions and paralysis. Dogs that recover from Distemper may be left with permanent neurological damage.
INFECTIOUS CANINE HEPATITIS
Infectious Canine Hepatitis is caused by Adenovirus Type I. This virus is transmitted between dogs by contact with bodily secretions including saliva, urine and faeces. Causing damage to the liver and other organs, the symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, fever, coughing, jaundice, vomiting, eyes pathology and neurological signs. The severity of this disease can range from mild to fatal.
INFECTIOUS TRACHEOBRONCHITIS (KENNEL COUGH)
Also known as Kennel Cough and Infectious Canine Cough, this is a highly contagious and common disease caused by many viruses and bacteria. The ones that we immunise against include Parainfluenza virus, Adenovirus Type 2, Bordetella Bronchiseptica, and Distemper virus. Similar to the flu in humans, vaccination does not completely prevent this disease but will greatly reduce the chance of contraction and minimise symptoms.
Importance of Vaccinating
Vaccinating your dog not only helps protect your pet from the above infectious diseases, but also helps keep the prevalence of these viruses to a minimum. Due to the fact that a majority of dogs are regularly vaccinated, most of these deadly diseases are now uncommon. If the proportion of vaccinated dogs drops too low, it would not be long before we start seeing outbreaks of these diseases again. Current vaccination is usually mandatory for your dog to stay and various boarding facilities and attend obedience classes or shows. The health check your dog receives prior to immunisation is also extremely important as this allows Veterinarians to discover abnormalities or diseases in their early stages, allowing us to intervene early and sometimes prevent potentially fatal outcomes.
Young pups required up to three vaccinations to maximise immunity and the course is normally completed by 16 weeks of age. Adult dogs will require regular boosters to maintain immunity. We have vaccines available which are registered to be given every three years (triennial) for Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis. To maintain immunity against Parainfluenza and Bordetella, an annual booster will be required.
If you have any questions regarding the immunisation of your dog, please feel free to contact us at the clinic and we will be happy to assist.