Bringing home a new puppy can be an amazing experience for the whole family. A cute bundle of energy brings plenty joy in to a home. We want what is best for our pets and this means more than just feeding and bathing them. We have to look at disease prevention and control of parasites for a longer life.
Vaccinations for puppies:
It is important that you have your puppies and dogs vaccinated against highly contagious diseases as this can help prevent them contracting and possibly spreading these potentially fatal viruses and bacteria. Vaccination becomes even more important when the puppy is exposed to other animals such as at training or boarding facilities or even in the local park. Most puppy training and boarding facilities will not accept unvaccinated animals, particularly for this reason. Puppies should be vaccinated according to the recommended schedule for initial basic immunity and subsequent boosters as needed. Talk to us about a vaccination plan for your new puppy.
The common vaccinations given include protection against:
Canine Parvovirus (Parvo)
This is a potentially fatal disease which causes damage to the puppy’s lymph nodes, intestines, bone marrow and even the heart in some cases. It is highly contagious and can affect dogs of all ages but young puppies under 20 weeks are most at risk. Vaccinations for Parvo start at 6 to 7 weeks and should be completed by around 16 to 17 weeks of age. There are 3 vaccinations in the series.
Distemper affects the tonsils and lymph nodes and eventually the urogenital and gastrointestinal systems if it is not treated. Puppies have lower resistance and if they have a weak immune system the disease can be fatal within two to five weeks of infection, even if they are treated. Puppies should have the distemper vaccination from 6 to 7 weeks and then 2 more vaccinations at regular intervals to gain initial protection before 20 weeks of age.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)
Caused by the canine adenovirus, this is another contagious disease that should be vaccinated against. Infected dogs will have symptoms such as jaundice, vomiting, fever and diarrhoea. If this is not treated early if can also prove fatal. Puppies should be vaccinated at 6 to 7 weeks in a 3-step schedule to complete the initial protection by 20 weeks.
Infectious canine tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
This is a highly infectious disease, which is airborne and easily transmitted, which causes a nasty cough. While it is generally not life threatening, it is uncomfortable for the animal and can get passed on to other dogs quite easily. Most kennels will not board a dog that is not vaccinated against kennel cough.
The recommended vaccinations for puppies are:
- 1st vaccination at 6-7 weeks: parvovirus/distemper/hepatitis
- 2nd vaccination at 10-11 weeks- parvovirus/distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/B.Bronchiseptica
- 3rd vaccination at 14-15 weeks- parvovirus/distemper/hepatitis
Protection against these diseases is only effective 2 weeks after the 3rd vaccination. An annual booster is also recommended to keep your dog protected.
Puppies and dogs can contract roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Worms can make puppies very ill and can cause them not to grow and thrive. Treatment with wormers can help get rid of these parasites. Puppies are often born with round worm and hook worm or ingest them while feeding from their mother. Severe infestations can lead to a very young puppy dying. Round worms can cause vomiting, coughing and intestinal blockages. Whipworms cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fever. Tapeworm can be passed to the puppies through fleas. Some worms such as hookworm and roundworm can be passed to humans as well. The heartworm is a very serious infestation which can kill. It is important that puppies are treated for worms at regular intervals to prevent and get rid of the parasites.