Keep your dog healthy

Dogs are phenomenal pets. It doesn’t matter if you get a puppy or a more mature rescue dog. Furry friends return the love and affection you give them, with bonding time helping you destress as well. Pets are great for your mental and emotional well being as well as being wonderful company. Big or small, fluffy or smooth our dogs become part of our family. That is why it is important to keep them healthy by keeping their vaccinations up to date.

Why you should vaccinate?

There are several life-threatening diseases that are preventable through the administration of vaccines. Veterinarians use vaccines to prevent the spread and severity of deadly diseases. We want our dogs to be with us for a long time, and have the best quality of life, which is why vaccines are so important.

What are vaccinations?

Vaccinations are a modified form of a specific disease or a combination of diseases. Synthetically modified versions of the vaccine are injected into your healthy dog. The dog’s immune system then creates antibodies to the vaccinated diseases. Vaccinated canines that come into contact with the disease have the tools to effectively fight the otherwise deadly viruses.

There are two types of vaccines, the core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Crofton Down Vets are experts and will advise you which of the non-core vaccines, if any your dog will require.

Core Vaccinations

Core vaccinations are important for every dog. They protect your puppy and adult dog from these viruses:

  • Canine Distemper – a difficult virus to treat, but fortunately is well under control in New Zealand thanks to vaccinations. Canine distemper presents with lethargy, fever, neurological problems – such as seizures, imbalance and unresponsiveness. The virus attacks the animals’ lungs too.
  • Parvovirus – the virus is spread by dogs coming into contact with infected stool. Vaccines are proven to help prevent the spread of the virus, which is good thing because it is a resilient virus. Symptoms of canine parvovirus are diarrhoea, lack of appetite, vomiting and nausea and lack of energy and interest. The virus attacks the gastronomical tract and is highly contagious.
  • Canine Adenovirus – which is also called Infectious Canine Hepatits is contracted by contact with infected saliva, urine or faeces. Canine Adenovirus has two distinct strands type I and type II. Type I causes diabetes and attacks organs like the liver and kidneys. This strain is fatal if untreated. Type II attacks the respiratory tract of your dog. Vaccinating against Type II Canine Adenovirus protects your pet from both types.

  • Parainfluenza – has similar symptoms to kennel cough, and is linked to causing kennel cough but it is not the same. Parainfluenza can lead to pneumonia in puppies or chronic bronchitis in older dogs. The mucus secretions of infected dogs spread the virus. Dogs with parainfluenza cough persistently, likely develop a fever, have a runny nose and are lethargic. Your dog may experience difficulty in breathing normally. The symptoms are much the same as you having a really bad cold. Generally parainfluenza is not life threatening but it is part of the core vaccinations because it is highly contagious.

Non Core Vaccinations

Crofton Down Veterinarians will guide you regarding what non-core vaccinations. These are vaccinations that only certain dogs will need, the need depends on location, contact with other animals and the amount of strays in your area. Your travel habits will have an impact on what vaccinations your dog requires too.

  • Kennel Cough – Kennel cough vaccines help protect social dogs, or dogs that go to puppy school or to kennels from airborne bacteria. This virus which spreads easily, especially in a place where there are a lot of dogs causes a dry persistent cough, a low-grade fever, sneezing and can cause a runny nose. Kennel cough is treatable and lasts for 7 to 14 days, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the vet could prescribe antibiotics.
  • Leptospirosis – depending on your geographical location your dog could be required to get the vaccination for this life-threatening virus. Leptospirosis affects numerous organs including the kidney and the liver. The virus spreads through contact with infected urine. Dogs become sleepy and lethargic, can show signs of jaundice, don’t want to eat, start to vomit and have diarrhoea if they become infected.
  • Rabies – though we are fortunate to have no active rabies cases in New Zealand, people coming to New Zealand with a pet or leaving New Zealand have to have their dogs vaccinated against this deadly virus. Rabies spreads by getting bitten or scratched by an infected animal.

Are these viruses transferable to humans?

Having a pet is incredibly rewarding, but if you have a family you want to make sure they are safe too. The canine viruses mentioned above are not transferable to humans, except for rabies.

Bacterial infections are transferable between dogs and humans. Especially if they are exposed to garbage. Always keep your dog clean and their sleeping area hygienic. Ticks, fleas and worms are transferred from canines to humans. Make sure to discuss parasite prevention and control with your vet.

Vaccination Schedule

It is important to set up a schedule with the vet as soons as you get a new dog. You need to find out any vaccination history you can from the breeder or the shelter. Our Crofton Down Veterinary clinic vets will examine the dog to determine health status before administering any vaccination. If your pet has missed a vaccination you need to urgently contact the veterinary office to set up an appointment to get your furbaby back on track. Here is the standard schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks your puppy will get their initial injection which combats the core disease, every dog needs to get this vaccination. The vet will vaccinate your puppy against kennel cough at this stage.
  • 10-12 weeks is when the vet gives your puppy their first booster shot.
  • 14 – 16 weeks is time for the second booster.
  • At 16 months your pup will need to get their third booster.
  • Depending on the brand and specific vaccine used the vet will need to administer shots every year or every three years.

Keeping your dogs vaccinations up to date keeps your dog and the neighbourhood pets safe.