Pups should be vaccinated from 6 weeks of age , receiving a second vaccine four to five weeks after the first shot.
What disease are covered in Puppy Shots?
Vaccinations routinely given to pups cover the following diseases Distemper, Heptatitis, Parvovirus (DHP), Leptospirosis (Lepto) and Parinfluenza and Bordetella (Canine Cough).
Distemper and Hepatitis are viruses that were very common before vaccination of puppies became routine. The diseases are serious and very often fatal, however are rarely seen any more due to high levels of vaccination.
Parvovirus is unfortunately still seen in Ireland and the UK and there have been some recent outbreaks in Ireland. As the name suggests it is a disease caused by a virus and as such vaccination is extremely effective to prevent your dog catching the disease. Dogs with parvovirus develop a severe bloody diarrhoea, often with vomiting, and the disease can take 5-7 days before the dog can start recovering. Many dogs do not make it in spite of intensive hospital treatment. Parvovirus is still prevelant due to some puppies not getting correct vaccinations and also as the virus can survive in the environment for a long time.
Leptospirosis is also known as Weil’s Disease. It is a bacteria that is spread via the rat. Rats can carry this bacteria in their kidneys for a long time without becoming sick, and as such healthy wild rats in the neighbourhood will helpfully shed the bacteria in their urine. It is a particular risk when the weather is warm and wet, as the bacteria will love this weather to grow in surface water such as puddles and canals. If your dog walks through a puddle and then licks their paws dry or drinks from one that is heavily contaminated with bacteria they can develop the disease Leptospirosis which is very serious, can be fatal and can spread to humans in the household. If your dog survives they may shed the bacteria in their urine for several months after recovery posing a risk to humans in close conact. The vaccination for Leptospirosis is less effective as it is a bacteria rather than a virus, however it reduces the chances of your dog contracting or passing away from the disease and also reduces the amount Lepospirosis is shed after recovery.
Canine Cough is a vaccine that is administered into your dogs nostril! This can be a bit confusing for them and for you! But it makes sense as the vaccine protects against a bacteria that affects the respiratory mucosa. Dogs that go into kennels or puppy training classes are recommended to have this vaccination as when dogs get extremely excited they can whine and bark quite a bit. This causes the mucosa (the lining of the throat) to become raw and susceptible to infection with Canine Cough. This is a clinical harsh rough cough that is a mixture of infection with the bacteria Bordetella and virus Parinfluenza, as well as secondary bacteria. The vaccine contains elements of both these parts. As with Leptospirosis, the Canine Cough vaccination is less effective than the viral vaccines, however it does reduce the severity of the disease and reduces the spread of it in highly populated areas like kennels and doggy day care facilities. At Petcare Vets we recommend giving Canine Cough TWO WEEKS before exposing your pup to a high risk facility such as doggy day care or boarding kennels.
How soon after vaccinating can I bring my Puppy out walking?
This is a really important question as it is important to get your dog out walking as part of their socialisation and training window, which for many dogs closes between 12 – 14 weeks. Dogs older than this are not untrainable, but will be much more fearful if they have not been exposed to a wide variety of stimuli before this age. At Petcare Vets we generally recommend taking your puppy outside for short walks one week after their first parvovirus vaccination, however, we would also recommend getting tailored advice for your pup from Your Local Vets, as there will be restrictions in place as to where your dog can walk, and how long they can go for, depending on breed and which vaccinations they have been already given and the particular risk the local area in which you live represents. Dogs will not be covered for Leptospirosis and so it is recommended to avoid high risk areas and drinking from puddles until they are covered (see above)
Vaccinating Adult Dogs
Once your dog has had their puppy shots, they will then require a booster shot at 15 months of age and then yearly thereafter. DHP is given every three years and Lepto and Canine Cough are given annually.
What Will My Pet Be Like After Vaccinations?
As with human vaccinations, there can be a flu like reaction to vaccines where pets may feel unwell and may spike a temperature. For this reason it is recommended to avoid heavy exercise and restrict play with other dogs for 2-3 days after vaccination.
Normal reactions involve a lowered appetite and being quiet or tired, being tender around the area , and for Canine Cough, a mild sniffle for 1 – 2 weeks. Adverse Reactions can happen, these are generally within the first 24 hours of vaccination and could look like trembling, seizures, changes to consciousness, extreme lethargy, repeated vomiting. If this happens it is an emergency and your pet should return to the vets immediately. If your pet has a bad reaction to the vaccination your vet will carry a risk benefit assessment out on giving future vaccines.
For Dogs Blood tests such Vacci Check can be useful to check the level of protection your puppy currently has and see when repeat vaccinations are required.
Vaccines are covered in all of our PetCare plans and we can send you reminders too!