Newborn puppies receive disease-fighting antibodies in their mother's milk. However, these antibodies normally last only the first few weeks of life. After that, vaccinations protect your puppy by introducing modified disease-causing agents into their body to stimulate their immune system to produce their own antibodies.
There are a number of serious canine diseases that can be fatal even with treatment. It is possible to give your dog protection against these diseases by having a planned vaccination schedule.In dogs, the diseases that are routinely vaccinated against are:
Distemper. Canine distemper is a viral disease that can affect any dog, especially puppies and unvaccinated dogs. Early signs of the disease may include a high temperature, lethargy and inappetence. Accompanying the fever may be a discharge from the nose and eyes, vomiting, diarrhoea and coughing, with the possibility of pneumonia developing. Many dogs will also develop muscle spasms, convulsions and progressive paralysis. Permanent brain damage and death may result. Canine distemper is not as common now as it was in the past, due to highly effective vaccines being available. However outbreaks of distemper do occur in areas where vaccination rates are low. Thus, dog owners cannot become complacent about this serious viral disease.
Infectious Hepatitis. Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious disease caused by canine adenovirus. It can be particularly severe in young dogs and is often fatal in puppies. A carrier dog may recover, but continue to spread the virus via its urine for up to six months. Severely affected dogs will have a fever, loss of appetite, depression, diarrhoea, tonsillitis and acute abdominal pain due to an inflamed liver. Death may result within 36 hours. Corneal opacity known as "blue eye" may follow infection.
Parvovirus. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract of the dog. It is a very hardy virus, which can survive for 12 months or more in the environment. Special disinfectants are required to kill the virus. The virus is usually spread when dogs come into contact with contaminated faeces and soil. Dog kennels, parks, showgrounds and nature strips are all major sources of infection. Dogs do not have to come into contact with other dogs to become infected with parvovirus. After exposure to the virus, dogs will often develop a fever and may suffer severe abdominal pain, followed by profuse vomiting and diarrhoea, which often contains blood. A high mortality rate amongst infected dogs can be expected. Some dogs may survive depending on how quickly treatment is sought. Treatment usually involves intensive care for several days in a veterinary hospital.
Canine Cough. Canine Cough (or Kennel Cough as it was previously known) is primarily caused by two organisms, Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. It is a highly contagious disease that usually infects dogs in areas where they socialise, such as parks, obedience classes, dog shows and kennels. The classical symptom of Canine Cough is a harsh hacking cough that often finishes with gagging. The coughing is usually made worse by exercise, excitement or pressure on the throat region. Severely affected dogs may also have fever, lethargy and reduced appetite. Coughing may persist for many weeks or months despite treatment. It is important that dogs of all ages be vaccinated against all the causative organisms of Canine Cough.
Other diseases such as Leptospirosis and Coronavirus can be vaccinated against. These vaccines are only given to those dogs that are at high risk of developing the disease which are usually younger dogs. Your veterinarian can advise you if any of these vaccines are required or are appropriate for your dog.
Protects against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis.
Protects against the components of canine cough. Can be given annually.
Is a combination of C3 + CC and is the minimum requirement for most boarding kennels. We strongly recommend a C5 vaccination for all dogs due to the frequency that we see dogs with canine cough in this area.
Historically vaccinations for all diseases have been repeated annually. Advancements in vaccine research have led to the registration of triennial vaccines for some of the diseases. Your dog will be assessed at their annual check up and given the appropriate vaccine for that year. This assures your dog will not be overvaccinated but still fully protected.
Recommended vaccine schedule
6-8 weeks C3
10-12 weeks C5
1 year C5
4, 7, 10 years C5
Every year: CC for Canine Cough
Note: this schedule may change depending on your dog's circumstances.
One week after the final puppy vaccination, your puppy can go outside and socialise with other dogs.
In addition any dog entering a high-risk environment such a boarding kennel should receive a Protech Bronchi-Shield III Intranasal vaccine a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 4 weeks prior to entering the kennels, if it is greater than 6 months since its last vaccine.
Is vaccination really necessary?
Vaccination is a very important and necessary part of your dog's preventative health program. The immunity your dog gains from being vaccinated will diminish with time. Regular vaccination is the only way owners can ensure protection against several serious and potentially fatal diseases.
Annual vaccinations are also required if your dog is to go to a boarding kennel or an obedience school. Unvaccinated animals will not be accepted in these situations.
Regular vaccinations also provide an ideal opportunity for the veterinarian to perform a complete physical examination and wellness check of your dog and to discuss any concerns you may have.
My dog never mixes with other dogs. Does it still need to be vaccinated?
Yes your dog still needs to be vaccinated. Many of the diseases we vaccinate against are airborne (such as kennel cough) or can be brought into the home on your shoes (e.g. parvovirus). Your dog therefore does not need to come into direct contact with another dog to become infected.
The fact that your dog does not mix with other dogs means it is isolated. This removes any opportunity to be naturally 'vaccinated' and reimmunise themselves. As a result their level of immunity may in fact be lower than dog that are allowed outside.
My dog never goes to boarding kennels. Why does it need to be vaccinated against kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease. It does not require direct dog-to-dog contact to be transmitted. For this reason we recommend vaccinating all dogs against the disease.
When can I take my puppy out now that it has had a vaccine?
We cannot ensure that your puppy will have developed complete immunity against the diseases it is being vaccinated for until 1 week after our advised 2nd vaccine. However socialisation of your puppy is important. Puppies are best socialised to other dogs, people and places between the ages of 8 and 14 weeks. This is the same period when they are at greatest risk of being infected with disease, particularly parvovirus. It is recommended that if you are to take your puppy out then avoid public places such as parks and beaches. Your puppy should only socialise with dogs that are known to be fully vaccinated and in an environment that you know has been free of any dogs with parvovirus.