Responsible pet care requires puppies to be taken to the vet for their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. The immunity weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease.
Should your pet become infected, treatment can require frequent visits to your vet and possibly hospitalisation. However, not all diseases can be cured and disability or death may result.
The only practical means of protection is vaccination!
Dangerous infectious diseases that could affect your dog
Canine Parvovirus is a disease that affects dogs of all ages but is more serious in young pups and older dogs. The virus attacks the intestines causing blood stained diarrhoea, uncontrollable vomiting and severe abdominal pain. Treatment is expensive and requires many days of intensive care in hospital. Dogs will often die from severe dehydration despite intensive veterinary care.
It is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for the disease to be spread. Outbreaks occur regularly throughout Australia, especially in summer. (The Macarthur region of Sydney frequently experiences very high rates of Parvovirus infection and we strongly recommend the vaccination of all dogs in our area to combat these outbreaks).
Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect dogs of any age with young puppies being at highest risk.
Symptoms vary but can include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits and paralysis usually occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually ineffective and the recovery rate very low. Dogs that do recover may have permanent brain damage.
Canine Hepatitis (Canine Adenovirus Type 2)
A viral disease which, like distemper is extremely contagious and often fatal. Dogs of any age can become infected, however severe cases are rare in dogs over 2 years of age.
Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. In severe cases death can occur within 24 to 36 hours.
Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems and can act as carriers spreading the disease to other dogs for many months.
Infectious Bronchitis (Canine/Kennel Cough)
Infectious bronchitis (or canine/kennel cough) is a condition produced by several highly infectious diseases which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as shows, obedience schools, boarding kennels and public parks/streets. ALL DOGS ARE AT RISK, not just those that go into kennels, and this is the most common infectious disease we see in the Macarthur area. Among the infectious agents associated with infectious bronchitis is the bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica (related to whooping cough), and the canine viruses parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2 and distemper.
Affected dogs have a severe hacking/choking cough known to persist for several weeks. It is very distressing for pet dogs and their owners. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of infection.
Canine coronavirus is another contagious virus that may cause diarrhoea in very young puppies, particularly those from ‘puppy farms’. Macarthur Vet Group does not consider this vaccination necessary, for the majority of dogs.
Note that this Canine Coronavirus is one of many coronaviruses, and is NOT the same as the Covid-19 virus currently causing a global human health pandemic in Feb/Mar 2020. There is currently no evidence that dogs can become infected with Covid-19, or transmit it to people.
Canine Leptospirosis is not considered a risk in the Macarthur area. It is spread by the urine of rats and is usually transmitted to dogs by contaminated food and water, or by rat bites.
There is an increased risk where high rat populations exist such as rubbish dumps or green sugar cane cutting areas. Incidence can also increase under long periods of wet, when rat populations are forced to move or concentrate.
Leptospirosis is an animal disease that can be caught by humans who may then suffer a persisting “flu like” illness. Routine vaccination is only recommended for dogs in contact with rats or rat urine, so please ask your vet for advice.
Our Canine Vaccination Range
Offering superior immunity and extended duration
Macarthur Veterinary Group uses a range of vaccines for dogs offering the greatest possible level of immunity against the common canine viral and bacterial diseases – distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and infectious bronchitis (parainfluenza and bordetella).
A major advantage of these new vaccines is that we don’t need to give as many vaccines every year. For adult dogs, these vaccines work on a 3-year cycle. Some components still need to be given every year, along with your dog’s annual health check and heartworm injection. Other components of these new vaccines are only given once every 3 years. In addition, our new low-dose infectious bronchitis (canine cough) vaccine provides a superior level of immunity to the standard injections.
We believe this range provides the best level of protection for your dog, whilst minimising the number of vaccines injected. This is in line with current international recommendations, and we have chosen a vaccine range with proven long-term results, both overseas and in Australia, to ensure the safety of your best friend.
What’s more, although these vaccines cost a bit more to get started the first year, over 3 years you’ll actually spend LESS than with the 1 year vaccines.
Your veterinarian will talk to you about these new vaccines when you bring your dog for your appointment and will answer any questions you might have. There’s no need for you to do anything different until then.
Some of these diseases, particularly parvovirus and infectious bronchitis, are very common in the Campbelltown/Macarthur region and vaccination is STRONGLY recommended for all dogs.
Is your dog protected?
When should your dog be vaccinated?
Puppies will be “temporarily” protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. Unfortunately, these maternal antibodies may also neutralise vaccines. A puppy will respond to vaccination when these maternal antibodies decline sufficiently. See our vaccination guideline below.
At the completion of the initial course of three vaccinations an annual booster vaccination will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.
Puppy Vaccination Guideline
Puppies need an initial course of 3 vaccinations:
- First vaccination at 6-8 weeks
- Second vaccination at 10-12 weeks
- Third vaccination at 14-16 weeks
After vaccination care
Your dog may be lethargic and off its food for a day or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact your veterinarian for advice.
By Macarthur Veterinary Group