What do dog vaccinations protect against?

August 21, 2022

This month is immunisation month, so what better time to discover why vaccinating your pet is so important? Our veterinary team in Giffnock have some advice to help dog owners understand more on this topic below.

Book a dog vaccination

Vaccinations are key to preventing the spread of disease in your pet as well the wider canine population. They improve the immune response your pet would have after being exposed to a specific disease, drastically increasing their likelihood of survival.

Core dog vaccines

The core canine vaccination protects dogs against 4 harmful diseases that can stay in the environment for months and spread between healthy dogs:

  • Canine distemper virus – attacks brain, lungs & intestines
  • Infectious canine hepatitis – causes severe liver disease, including jaundice, vomiting & diarrhoea
  • Canine parvovirus – attacks bone marrow and gut lining, weakens immune system, causes bloody vomiting & diarrhoea, puppies can die from dehydration and sepsis
  • Leptospirosis – hard to diagnose, transmitted by rat’s urine, usually picked up from farms, puddles, or watercourse – causes kidney & liver failure

According to our Vet Richard Black, this vaccine would be administered whilst your puppy is 6-10 weeks of age and consists of 2 injections 2-4 weeks apart. If you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder or a rescue centre, always check their vaccination status. Most of the time, your puppy will have received their primary injections before you take them home.

Richard advises that in some circumstances, puppies may need to restart their initial vaccination course. If your puppy’s first vaccine is not compatible with the vaccines stocked at your vet practice, or if the second vaccine is not given in time, the initial course may need to be restarted.

Being immunised gives your pet a high level of protection against diseases whilst preventing the spread of infection from animal to animal. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations are highly recommended for optimal ongoing protection.

Additional dog vaccines

Some other ‘non-core’ vaccines may be available for your dog if they are at risk of being exposed to other diseases. These diseases include:

• Rabies (if travelling under the Pet Travel Scheme)

• Leishmaniasis (if frequently travelling to the EU)

• Borrelia burgdorferi – for Lyme disease (if you live near/frequently visit tick-infested areas)

Kennel cough

Although the Kennel Cough vaccine is technically considered a non-core vaccine, Richard and the team at our Giffnock practice recommend that dogs receive this with their core vaccinations annually. It is administered via a spray up the nostrils and protects dogs against this highly contagious disease.

Kennel cough doesn’t typically cause a serious illness in healthy dogs, but it can make your dog feel very uncomfortable and can expose some dogs to secondary infections. Kennel cough not only affects dogs in kennels, but unvaccinated dogs are at risk at the park, doggy day care, training classes, dog shows, and anywhere else they mix socially.

Book a dog vaccination

It is important to remember that all vaccines on the UK market are meticulously checked for safety, efficacy, and quality; serious adverse reactions to vaccines are rare and the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh this small risk.

The take home message is that puppy and dog vaccinations are vital for the health and wellbeing of your dog and the wider canine population.

If you have any questions or want to book a dog vaccination in Giffnock, get in touch with our team.

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