Dogs are the most adorable creatures gifted by Mother Nature. They easily become a part of our life. Their love is pure and unaffected by your state of being. Like humans, dogs can contract infectious diseases which are easily preventable with timely vaccinations.
Dogs should be vaccinated against:
- Canine distemper
- Infectious canine hepatitis
Boosters for distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis are needed every 3 years. Boosters for leptospirosis are needed every year. Vets might recommend your dog to be vaccinated against Kennel Cough. It is advisable if you plan to use boarding kennels for your dog when you are away on holidays.
Canine parvovirus is a contagious viral infection affecting the intestinal lining. It is spread through contact with infected faeces and the virus can survive on shoes, clothes and floors for many months.
Symptoms can include severe vomiting, lethargy, extreme and bloody diarrhoea. Dogs need to be taken to the vets. They might isolate the dogs to prevent spreading of infections. 90% dogs might not survive even with the best treatment, especially, puppies.
Tips to prevent parvovirus
- Make sure your puppies are fully vaccinated. If the breeder has had them vaccinated, ask for proof and give boosters.
- Puppies should be healthy and bright, and not showing any signs of diarrhoea.
- Keep puppies indoors for two weeks after they have completed the primary vaccination course, and don’t allow them to meet any unvaccinated pets before this time.
- It’s advisable to keep puppies in an area where outdoor shoes aren’t worn, and anyone visiting the puppy should be asked to wash their hands first.
- If you think your dog has parvovirus, keep them away from any unvaccinated dogs and call your vet immediately. They might ask you to bring your dog in through a difference entrance to prevent contamination in the waiting room.
- Dogs that have recovered from parvovirus can be contagious for several months afterwards. Keep them away from other dogs or areas where lots of dogs go, like local parks. Your vet can test to see if your dog is still carrying the virus.
- If you have lost a dog to parvovirus, remember that the virus can survive in the soil for up to a year. Any new dogs coming into your home need to be fully vaccinated first.
Canine distemper is a virus that attacks a dog’s lymph nodes before attacking the respiratory, urinary, digestive, and nervous systems. The virus spreads from dog to dog through saliva, blood, or urine. Distemper can also infect other animals, such as ferrets and foxes.
Symptoms of canine distemper include watery discharge from the nose and eyes, reddened eyes, a high fever. Some late signs include lethargy, persistent coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures. It can lead to hardening of the foot pads and nose, so is sometimes known as ‘hardpad disease’.
Tips to prevent Canine Distemper
- Vaccination is the best way to prevent distemper.
- Keep puppies indoors until a few weeks after they have completed their primary vaccination course.
- Don’t allow them to meet unvaccinated pets or unknown dogs until this time.
- Give boosters on time.
Leptospirosis is a fatal bacterial infection affecting the nervous system and organs. It is spread through infected rat urine and contaminated water. So dogs are at risk if they swim or drink from stagnant water or canals.
Symptoms include fever, muscle tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, jaundice and breathing difficulties. It can result in liver and kidney failures.
Tips to prevent canine leptospirosis
- Timely vaccination is the best measure.
- Keep dogs away from any places where you know there are rats and other rodents.
- Make sure puppies are kept indoors and away from other unvaccinated pets until they have completed their primary course of vaccinations.
- Keep dogs away from stagnant water or flooded areas.
- Dogs that have recovered from leptospirosis can carry the bacteria for some time afterwards. Keep them away from other vulnerable animals and humans for several months as their urine can still pass on the infection.
Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH)
Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a viral disease that attacks the liver, kidneys, eyes and blood vessel linings. It is transmitted via body fluids like urine, saliva, blood, poo or snot of infected dogs. The virus can survive in the environment for up to a year, is very dangerous and can spread quickly. It can’t be passed from dogs to humans or vice versa.
Symptoms can include fever, lethargy, vomiting, coughing, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. It can lead to jaundice and liver failure and sometimes, seizures and coma.
Tips to prevent ICH
- Vaccination and boosters.
- When a dog has recovered from ICH, the virus can remain in their kidneys for up to a year. This means their urine might still be infectious to other dogs. Give them their own toilet area that other dogs can’t access so they can’t pass the disease on.
Puppies over 8 weeks of age can be vaccinated. A second set of jabs 2-4 weeks later is essential after the first set. Some breeders or re-homing centres give puppies their first set of injections before they go to their new homes. Don’t let your puppy mix with any other unvaccinated dogs until they’ve had all their jabs and are fully protected – this is usually 2 weeks after their second injections. Imported puppies must be fully vaccinated. Your dog will need booster injections throughout their life to keep them protected from deadly diseases. Dogs need vaccination when travelling abroad. Your vet will issue a passport once fully vaccinated and micro-chipped.