Vaccines are available which help protect your pets from a variety of contagious and potentially fatal diseases. While many people do vaccinate their puppies, these vaccinations do not protect them for life. They need to get booster vaccinations annually to stay protected.

While they are feeding from their mothers, puppies will have some protection due to the antibodies received in the milk. The antibodies decline over time but can neutralise the vaccines while they are still active.  This is why it is important for puppies to have their full series of vaccines. The immunity from these vaccines also diminishes over time, so it is important that your adult dog receive booster vaccines at their annual health check. This will ensure that your dog has less risk of contracting these diseases over their lifespan.

After being vaccinated, your dog may not be at their best for a couple of days. There may also be some pain and inflammation in the area where they were injected. Make sure the dog has adequate food and water available and is allowed to relax comfortably. If there is a severe reaction, contact your vet immediately.

Vaccinations are given against the following diseases:

  • Canine parvovirus is a disease that affects puppies and senior dogs mostly but can affect dogs of any age. This virus attacks the intestines resulting in severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea which will often contain blood. Even with vet care, animals often die from severe dehydration. The disease can be spread through contact with the environment, not necessarily a sick animal. The environment will need to be disinfected with a potent disinfectant and clothes, hands, utensils etc. will need to be washed in hot water and disinfected before going near other dogs. In summer, in Australia, Parvo outbreaks are quite common.

  • Canine distemper is a viral disease and is highly. While puppies are at greatest risk, this virus can affect dogs of any. Symptoms vary but can include depression, fever, sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea. Paralysis, fits and muscle tremors usually occur at a later stage of the disease. Treatment is generally ineffective. The recovery rate of dogs with distemper is very low. Dogs that do recover may suffer from permanent damage to the brain.

  • Canine hepatitis is a viral disease. It is extremely contagious and quite often fatal. This disease is a lot more common in dogs under two years old with severe cases in older dogs being rare. Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, high fever, acute abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. In bad cases animals can die in 24 to 36 hours. Dogs that do recover may end up with long term kidney and liver issues. They can also act as carriers and spread disease to other dogs for months after recovery.

  • Canine cough (Kennel cough) is a condition produced by a few highly infectious diseases. This disease can spread wherever dogs congregate. Parks, obedience schools, shows and boarding kennels are some places where this disease is contracted. The infectious agents that are associated with canine cough can include Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and canine parainfluenza, distemper and adenovirus type 2 among others. Dogs exhibit a hacking, dry cough for a few weeks. This can be a problem for sporting and working dogs in particular, but is distressing for any dogs and their owners. This infection can also lead to pneumonia if untreated.

  • Canine coronavirus is a contagious virus which presents symptoms such as depression, vomiting and diarrhoea and loss of appetite, particularly in younger dogs. The diarrhoea and vomiting can last for several days in some cases. Most dogs recover with treatment. Coronavirus can be fatal, especially if the dog has other viruses already present in their system.

  • Canine leptospirosis is transmitted through rat bites and rat urine in the pet’s food and water. This disease is more common in areas near to sugar cane fields or rubbish dumps where larger colonies of rats can be found. There is usually an influx of animals infected with this disease after a bout of wet weather. This disease is often fatal in dogs. Humans can also contract this disease. It results in a “flu like” illness that can be quite persistent.