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  • Jo De Klerk

    I Must Get My Puppy Vaccinated...

    I’ve just bought a little Patterdale puppy, and I know I must get him vaccinated. But what must I get him vaccinated against? I guess the vet will tell me at the consult, but I’d like to understand what my puppy is being injected with - Marcus

    I’m glad you’re looking into getting your puppy vaccinated Marcus, as there are a lot of deadly diseases out there. There are a lot of anti-vaccine campaigners, but the reality is, vaccines are exceptionally safe, and the risk is just not worth taking.

    The initial vaccine course will vary depending on the brand of the vaccine, but in general, it will require two or three injections, roughly 3-4 weeks apart. After that, an annual booster vaccination is all that is needed to keep up the immunity. The following diseases are routinely vaccinated against:

    • Distemper – This vaccination is in the form of an injection. Distemper is a disease which causes coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and reddened eyes, before it spreads to the brain and causes symptoms such as seizures. It also causes hardening of the pads and the nose.
    • Hepatitis – This vaccination is in the form of an injection. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by Canine Adenovirus. This causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, swelling of the brain and eventually death.
    • Parvovirus – This vaccination is in the form of an injection. Parvovirus is a life-threatening disease that is common among puppies. It causes profuse bloody diarrhoea and occasionally vomiting. Puppies die rapidly of dehydration. It is extremely contagious.
    • Leptospirosis – This vaccination is in the form of an injection. Up to four strains are vaccinated against depending on the vaccine brand. Dogs come into contact with Leptospirosis through contaminated water. It affects the kidneys, liver, central nervous system and reproductive system and causes symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, fever and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
    • Parainfluenza and Bordetella – These vaccinations are given in combination in a vaccine which squirts up a nostril of the dog. Not all vets offer this vaccine as standard, but it is worth opting for if your puppy is going to socialise with other dogs. Together they form a complex disease called ‘Kennel Cough’. This is a highly contagious respiratory disease which causes an inflamed trachea, a hacking cough and copious phlegm.
    • Rabies – This vaccination is not required for the UK but is required if you travel. It comes in the form of an injection. Rabies is a very dangerous virus which can be transmitted to humans through bites. It causes excessive drooling, aggression and behaviour changes which rapidly progresses to death within a week for 100% of cases showing clinical symptoms.

    While this seems like a lot of vaccinations, most manufacturers will combine the first four into one injection, so that your dog does not seem like a pin cushion!

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    Jo De Klerk

    Jo is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College, London. She has a Masters degree in Tropical Animal Health, and has spent most of her career working in mixed veterinary practice.

    Recently, she has become involved in one of the UK’s fastest growing veterinary telemedicine services for dogs and cats.

    She is a published author of several books, and enjoys working as a freelance veterinary writer around her clinical work.


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