Core vaccinations-The primary vaccination course and ‘boosters’.
The surgery uses the ‘Canigen’ range of vaccines manufactured by Virbac. The routine vaccination of puppies and adult dogs protects them from Parvovirus, Distemper, Infectious Hepatitis and Leptospirosis. In rural north Dorset, dogs are most at risk from Parvovirus and Leptospirosis. One type of Leptospirosis can be shed by rats. Dogs can become infected by contact with water that has been contaminated with rat urine. This organism also has the potential to infect humans causing a serious illness known as Weil’s disease.
A primary vaccination course will not protect your dog for the rest of its life. In time, the protective antibodies which are stimulated by a vaccination begin to decline. Eventually they will reach a point where they are no longer protective. Extensive research has been undertaken by vaccine manufacturers to look at the duration of protective immunity stimulated by vaccination . This allows us to modify vaccination protocols so your dog only gets the vaccines it requires. Your dog is not vaccinated against all of the above diseases every year. Studies have shown that protective levels of antibodies against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parovovirus remain for 3 years post vaccination. The following is a typical regime we would follow-
Age 8 weeks – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainflenza and Leptospirosis (given as a single injection)
Age 12 weeks – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainflenza and Leptospirosis (given as a single injection)
Age 1 year – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis (given as a single injection)
Age 2 years – Leptospirosis
Age 3 years – Leptospirosis
Age 4 years – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis (given as a single injection)
The standard vaccination regimes detailed above do not protect your dog against kennel cough (KC). Kennel cough is extremely common in this area, but it is not a dangerous disease if your dog is fit and healthy. It can be very serious in young puppies and old dogs especially if there is any underlying concurrent disease. Typically a fit, healthy dog with kennel cough will still eat, exercise and play. The disease is characterised by persistent bouts of harsh coughing often followed by a retch which can be productive. It is a distressing condition for the animal and frequently for the owner especially if your pet likes to sleep on the landing. The problem with kennel cough is that the disease is very contagious and dogs that have recovered from KC can remain infectious for a number of weeks afterwards. We would advise KC vaccination if your dog regularly meets significant numbers of other dogs i.e agility dogs ,gun dogs, show dogs and dogs which are going into boarding kennels. The vaccine is not administered as an injection. It is a small volume of liquid (0.4ml) which is introduced into the nostril. The vaccine can protect the dog against Bordetella, the main causative agent of kennel cough within 72hours and it is protective for 12months. It can be given at the same time as the annual core vaccination or at least 3 days prior to any anticipated risk.
Rabies vaccination is only required if you intend travelling outside of the UK with your pet. Further information can be found under ‘Pet Travel Scheme’.
Canine Herpes virus vaccination for breeding bitches
A vaccine against canine herpes virus has recently come onto the market. For most dogs infection with this virus does not cause any significant problems and it has consequently been ignored by both breeders and vets. Recent studies suggest that infection with this virus can be a significant cause of death in young puppies and it has also been linked to small litter sizes and low birth weight. The virus attacks the placenta of the bitch, starving the foetus of nutrients. This can lead to abortion and infertility. If the puppy is infected before birth and survives, it may be underweight at birth and have a weakened immune system, making it vulnerable to other infections. If the puppy is infected soon after birth, canine herpes virus is known to be one of the factors in “fading puppy syndrome”, in which the pup fails to suckle, loses weight and fades away despite intensive care. There is no cure for an animal that has herpes virus. The infection is probably lifelong and can flare up repeatedly during periods of stress. Vaccination cannot prevent infection but if it is given during pregnancy it has been shown to significantly improve fertility rates and reduce early puppy death. Even bitches that already have the virus can be vaccinated. Two vaccinations are required. The first is given during heat or 7-10 days after mating and the second 7-14 days before the due date.