Vaccinating your pets is an essential part of their preventative health program. There are a number of highly infectious and life threatening diseases that they are susceptible to but you can vaccinate against some of them. Vaccination and prevention is always better for your pet, as well as being more cost effective than having to treat your pet if they contract one of these diseases.
Vaccinations are available to protect dogs from some of the most contagious and life threatening diseases including;
Canine Parvovirus – is particularly dangerous for puppies but also adult dogs and it can cause death within 7 days of contracting the disease. Signs include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea (often bloody), dehydration and depression. Even when dogs are treated by a veterinarian for Parvovirus it can still be fatal.
Canine Distemper – is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the nervous system of the dog. Signs include fever, nasal discharge, eye discharge, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle spasms and convulsions. Although dogs can be treated and survive Distemper they may suffer from lifelong neurological damage.
Canine Hepatitis – is caused by canine adenovirus and is a highly infectious and potentially life threatening, especially in puppies. Symptoms include abdominal pain – due to an inflamed liver, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and depression. A dog that has had Hepatitis can become a carrier of the disease and spread the virus in its urine for up to six months following infection.
Canine (Kennel) Cough -the two most common and significant causes are the virus Canine parainfluenza and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is not usually fatal but it can cause the dog to become quite sick, depressed, feverish, lose their appetite and have a characteristic persistent hacking cough. It is easily transmitted, not only in kennels (like the name suggests) but anywhere that dogs can come into contact with each other.
All dogs should be vaccinated regardless of whether or not they go outside, visit kennels, play in parks or even if they don’t come in direct contact with other animals. Dogs are generally social animals and it is very easy for them to contract diseases. Highly contagious diseases can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal, contact with an infected animal’s faeces or urine or they can even pick it up just walking and sniffing in an area that an infected animal has been. Many of these diseases can survive in the environment for months and infected animals can continue to be carriers even after symptoms have subsided. It is also possible for people to transfer diseases to their pets by walking through an infected area or patting an infected animal and then going home to their own pets. This is why it is necessary to vaccinate your dog even if they do not come in direct contact with other animals.
Speak to your veterinarian about the right vaccination program for your pet and help prevent them falling victim to these terrible diseases by keeping their vaccinations up to date.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Summer 2015/16.
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