Keeping your dog up to date with vaccinations is very important to prevent some life-threatening diseases. It is also a condition of boarding for most reputable kennels and is required if you want to travel abroad with your pet. So make a note on your calendar each year to keep your dog as healthy as possible!
Your vet will be able to advise you on the type of vaccinations your dog should receive and how often. Generally, puppies can begin vaccinations between six and twelve weeks of age, and require two injections, so make sure to ask your breeder or rescue centre what vaccines have been administered and schedule a visit to your vet as soon as you can after obtaining your new arrival. Thereafter booster vaccinations at regular intervals, as recommended by your vet and the vaccine manufacturer’s guidelines, are strongly advised to ensure continuing immunity.
Vaccines can be divided into two different types; core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are recommended for all dogs, and whether non-core vaccines are given depends on the risk to an individual dog. Discuss with your vet which vaccines are advised for your dog.
This is a widespread and contagious viral disease. It is often fatal and spread through contact with infected faeces. Clinical signs often include vomiting and diarrhoea (often containing blood), fever and loss of appetite. Affected dogs usually require intensive veterinary treatment. Vaccination is critical to ensure prevention and to control the spread of the disease.
This is a highly contagious viral disease and is often fatal. It generally affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems, and begins with a fever. It is spread as an airborne infection and vaccination is the only effective means of control. Thankfully this condition is much less common in recent times, but it is increasing in prevalence in areas where the level of vaccination has fallen.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Canine Adenovirus-1)
This contagious viral disease can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from fever, thirst and loss of appetite to bleeding problems and liver damage. Infection is spread through ingestion of infected urine, faeces or saliva. It can be prevented by vaccination.
This is potentially fatal bacterial disease. Transmission generally follows direct contact with infected urine or contaminated water, with rats the main carriers of disease. It is less common in the UK than in other countries, but if contracted it can cause rapid and fatal kidney and liver damage. It is also possible for humans to contract this disease (Weil’s Disease).
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
This is a highly contagious, but generally mild disease which can be caused by a spectrum of infectious agents, including canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus-2 and a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. It predominantly causes inflammation of the throat, but can progress to the lungs and may be more serious in young or old dogs. The main symptom is a dry, harsh, non-productive cough, which can be followed by retching or gagging. The vaccine is given directly into the nose and most reputable kennels insist on this vaccine before admitting your dog.
Rabies is obviously a very serious and fatal disease that thankfully is not seen in the UK. However, if you wish to travel with your dog outside the UK then this vaccination is compulsory.
Coronavirus causes diarrhoea in dogs, particularly puppies and young dogs. This vaccine may be included in combination vaccinations.
Other vaccines against Giardia spp, periodontal disease and even Rattlesnake venom are available in other countries but not licensed in the UK.
Discuss with your vet which vaccines your dog requires, and if your dog needs to stay in kennels, or you are considering taking your dog abroad, ensure you are aware of vaccine requirements in advance.