Dog Vaccinations

No matter how much care you give to your dog, there is always the possibility for them to become sick. Fortunately, for most infectious diseases there is a vaccine. After a series of inoculations, resistance is built up to ensure that your puppy is protected from these dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases.

 

Vaccinations work with pathogens that are dead or are weakened, so they do not cause symptoms of the pathogen but help build up an immunity to the disease. If the dog is vaccinated with such a vaccine, it will start to react to the pathogen by producing antibodies. The results from this is that your dog will have a built-up immunity for a period.

You should start vaccinating your dog at a young age and should be three times. Immediately after birth, the puppy should get antibodies along with the mother. These anti-substances are sufficient to protect your puppy the next six weeks against invading pathogens. At the age of 6 weeks, your puppy gets a vaccine called the puppy vaccination; it is intended to protect against distemper and parvovirus. This vaccination typically takes place at the breeder.

At about the age of 9 weeks, your puppy gets his first adult immunization. This is a cocktail vaccination which protects against distemper (distemper), parvo, Weil’s disease (leptospirosis), infectious liver disease (HCC) and kennel cough.

At the age of about 12 weeks, this cocktail vaccination is repeated, and your dog is protected for the coming year.

 

Explanation of Diseases:

 

Parvovirus:

This disease is caused by a small virus (parvovirus). Infection occurs by ingestion of the virus particles that are excreted through the feces of infected animals, and this virus is resistant to many disinfectants. The virus particles can remain in the environment for a long time, and young animals are susceptible to infection, but older animals can protect themselves naturally. The disease is often characterized by fever and vomiting, followed by diarrhea, in very young animals may also affect the heart muscle.

Parvoviral Enteritis
Parvoviral Enteritis” by hillsvet licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

Distemper (Carré’s disease):

This disease is caused by a virus which especially young dogs are susceptible. Infection occurs by virus particles secreted by infected animals and infects sensitive animals. The disease often begins with ocular and nasal discharge combined with fever. Also, it may affect the lungs, intestines, and the infection is sometimes exacerbated with nervous symptoms (called “tics”).

Distemper sites targeted
Anatomic sites targeted” by veteriankey licensed under CC BY 2.0

Infectious liver disease (HCC):

The disease is caused by a virus and is often found in young dogs. Infection occurs by inhalation or by ingestion of virus particles in the mouth. Animals that have had the disease and its cure can still excrete virus particles months after symptoms are gone. Often one can see an acute onset disease that is characterized by high fever, accumulations with bloody fluid in the body cavities, and an enlarged liver. The second type of this virus causes diseases of the respiratory system and can be a part of the kennel cough complex.

end stage liver disease
end stage liver disease” by hillsvet licensed under CC BY 2.0

Leptospirosis:

This disease is caused by the so-called Leptospira; these bacteria are transmitted by infected animals mainly by the excreted urine. The brown rat plays a role in spreading this disease along with other dogs. The symptoms can occur suddenly or more gradually and include malaise, fever, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney inflammation and sometimes jaundice by the inflammation of the liver.

Leptospirosis cycle” by mississippivet licensed under CC BY 2.0

Additional dog vaccinations

For various reasons your next annual cocktail vaccination against several other diseases listed below.

Kennel Cough:

A kennel cough is a contagious throat infection that can cause pneumonia. As the name suggests the chance that your dog catches this illness rises highest when it comes to locations where dogs are together. A few days after infection, the dog gets a dry, persistent cough that is often accompanied by gagging and vomiting. These symptoms may last several weeks but this disease can be prevented with the protection of an annual cocktail vaccination providing built up immunities of the viral agents of a kennel cough but, protection against the bacteria Bordetella brochiseptica requires a special vaccination. It is effective for 1 year and can be given in conjunction with the annual cocktail vaccination. Most kennels and dog schools impose this additional vaccination.

Rabies:

Rabies bite cycle
Rabies bite cycle” by thedogplace licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rabies is the most feared disease in the dog world. The virus is fatal to humans within seven days after getting the symptoms from a dog. The virus is transmitted by saliva by the bite of an infected animal, and then the brains are affected. Dogs and foxes suffering from rabies exhibit different behavior than before one moment, it crawls the affected animal anxiously in a corner, the next moment it reacts wildly and fiercely aggressive and bites into anything that comes within reach.

When you take your dog on a foreign holiday, it is mandatory to vaccinate your dog against rabies for the trip. Even if you live in a border region and regularly cross the border, it is recommended to get a rabies vaccination. The vaccination against rabies is effective for 1 year and can be given in conjunction with the annual cocktail vaccination.