Vaccinations teach the immune system to recognise and respond quickly to certain infections before they can cause serious illness. They contain harmless strains of the viruses and bacteria that your dog needs protection against. Most of the diseases that are vaccinated against have no specific cure, and treatment can only support the animal before its immune system can hopefully fight off the disease. Recent advances in vaccine technology mean that they are safer than ever and can protect against even more diseases.
When To Vaccinate?
Vaccines are usually first used in pups from six weeks of age. Generally a double dose of vaccine is given 2-4 weeks apart and then every year a single booster injection is given to keep their immunity at fully protective levels. It is essential to ensure that your pup is fully vaccinated before coming into contact with other dogs’ as they may be carriers of the diseases.
Which Diseases Are Covered By Vaccination ?
Canine Parvovirus An aggressive disease that attacks the immune system and cells lining the intestines, causing serious, often fatal, vomiting and diarrhoea. Young unvaccinated pups are especially susceptible.
Canine Distemper (Hardpad) This virus attacks the gut, lungs and nervous system and is usually fatal.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis This virus rapidly attacks the liver, lungs, kidneys and eyes. Many cases are fatal but some dogs can recover.
Canine Parainfluenza Virus This virus is an important component of `kennel cough’ , a highly infectious upper respiratory tract infection of dogs which causes a dry hacking cough.
Leptospirosis This disease is caused by bacteria from the family Leptospira. Two types of disease are seen but both can be protected against. The first is passed on in watercourses from the urine of infected rats and this strain can also affect humans. The second is caught from the urine of infected dogs. Whilst antibiotics can help to treat Leptospirosis, cases can often be fatal or cause lifelong damage to the kidneys.
Newer vaccines can also give protection against canine coronavirus, which can cause serious diarrhoea in infected animals.
Kennel cough vaccines protect against a bacteria called bordetella bronchiseptica which is one of the more serious strains of `kennel cough` infection. Vaccination is often a requirement of boarding kennels to reduce its spread.
Rabies vaccines are used only occasionally but can enable pets to travel freely from the UK to Europe provided they comply with the rules set down under the Pet Travel Scheme.
Why Does My Dog Need Annual Boosters?
Although some components of the routine vaccine do stimulate a long-term immunity that can last for a few years, most components do not and so an annual booster is essential to ensure full protection. The specific interval between booster injections will vary depending on which product is used and so it is essential to consult your veterinary surgeon, who will know your own dogs` requirements.
How Are Vaccines Given?
Most dog vaccines are given by injection into the scruff of the neck. The procedure goes unnoticed in most cases.
Kennel cough vaccines as previously mentioned are given as nasal drops.
Rabies is a viral infection affecting the nervous system (peripheral and central), typically causing encephalitis and death. There are many deaths worldwide every year and prevention of the disease deserves more attention.
IF YOU ARE IMPORTING A DOG FROM EUROPE INSIST ON THE BREEDER NOT VACCINATING YOUR PUPPY UNDER 14 WEEKS OTHERWISE YOU RUN THE RISK OF YOUR PUPPY BEEN QUARANTINED ONCE IT GETS TO THE UK
Rabies is caused by the rabies virus, genus Lyssavirus and family Rhabdoviridae. The genus Lyssavirus consists of over 80 viruses. There are about 10 viruses in the rabies serogroup, most of which only rarely cause disease in humans. The most common cause of rabies is the genotype 1 virus (classical rabies virus). It is an RNA virus, bullet-shaped with three component parts:
It is transmitted in saliva by the bite of an infected mammal. The virus is fragile and inactivated by drying, ultraviolet rays and detergents. The rabies-related lyssaviruses - European bat lyssaviruses (EBLVs) and Australian bat lyssaviruses (ABLVs) - cause rabies much less often. The clinical presentation is indistinguishable from the classical rabies virus.Pathophysiology
After inoculation the following ensues:
The stages of the disease in clinical context are:
It may be appropriate for suspect animals to be observed in quarantine for 15 days.The contact animal in some cases may be available to be examined. The brain tissue in such cases (often bats) or when the animal is symptomatic is examined. Bats may transmit rabies without an obvious history of biting.Investigation in humans
Assessment of patients with suspected rabies may involve a number of investigations.
Postmortem diagnosis can be achieved by virus isolation, immunofluorescence of viral antigen in the brain and elsewhere, PCR analysis and electron microscopy of the brain.Management
Management after development of symptoms:
It is essential to administer post-exposure prophylaxis correctly. Death is almost certain if early treatment fails to prevent progression to infection and prodromal symptoms.Prevention
What is Parvo?
Parvo is a common and potentially serious viral disease in dogs. The virus is officially known Parvovirus. The disease caused by this virus is commonly referred to as Parvo. The virus first appeared clinically in 1978, and there was a widespread epidemic in dogs of all ages. Since no dogs had been exposed or vaccinated (the vaccine didn't exist at the time), dogs of all ages died from the infection. The virus can "adapt" over time, and other strains of the virus have appeared since then, but properly administered vaccinations are the best protection. Canine Parvovirus is thought to be a mutation from the feline Parvovirus, also known as FELINE DISTEMPER VIRUS
What are the signs seen with Parvovirus infection?
There are three main manifestations of Parvovirus infection:
The intestinal signs include:
The onset of clinical signs is usually sudden, often 12 hours or less. The incubation from exposure to seeing the clinical signs varies from 3 to 10 days.
How is Parvovirus infection diagnosed?
This disease is diagnosed by physical examination, signalment (age, vaccination status, breed, etc.), and a fecal Parvo (ELISA) test. Additional diagnostics include blood work and radiographs. Dogs infected with Parvo typically have a low white count. Radiographs help rule out other potential causes for vomiting and diarrhea.