Newborn puppies receive disease-fighting antibodies in their mother's milk. However, these antibodies normally last only the first few weeks of life. After that, vaccinations protect your puppy by introducing modified disease-causing agents into their body to stimulate their immune system to produce their own antibodies.
What is the best Vaccination Schedule?
Puppies usually have a course of three vaccinations, normally given 4 weeks apart:
6 – 8 Weeks First Vaccination - Temporary
10 – 12 Weeks Booster Vaccination
14 – 16 Weeks Final Vaccination
Adult dogs require an annual vaccination booster for life. Your vet clinic will send you a reminder a few weeks before your dog is due for their yearly booster.
What do vaccinations protect against?
Dogs need to be protected against the below serious and sometime fatal diseases:
- Canine Distemper- Canine distemper is a highly contagious and potentially fatal viral disease that can affect any dog, especially young puppies and unvaccinated dogs. This virus affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. Symptoms of Canine Distemper are sneezing, coughing and thick discharge from the eyes and nose, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Canine Distemper is closely related to the human measles virus, many years ago this infectious disease was a leading cause of deaths in canines, but due to the development of effective vaccines it is rarely seen by vets today.
- Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus)- Adenoviruses are a family of viruses two forms of these viruses can cause serious disease in dogs; Canine adenovirus type 1, causes Infectious Canine Hepatitis (IHC) and Canine adenovirus type 2, can be a part of Infectious tracheo-bronchitis (Kennel Cough).
- Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious and can affect the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. Symptoms can include: Vomiting, Coughing, Drinking and urinating a lot, Loss of appetite, Jaundice, Abdominal pain, Weight loss, Pale tongue, gums, and nose.
- Parvovirus- Parvovirus or Parvo as it is commonly known as is one of the most common fatal infectious diseases that dogs can come in contact with. Canine parvovirus is a relatively new disease that first appeared in the late 70's. Parvo affects dogs rapidly by diving cells in the lining of the digestive system, and bone marrow tissue, it causes the deterioration of the immune system and white blood cells making the dog vulnerable to any secondary infections.
- The symptoms of Parvo are and come on quite rapidly; Loss of appetite, Depression, Vomiting, Foul smelling, bloody diarrhoea and severe dehydration. If your puppy shows any of these signs it is strongly recommended that you take them straight to the vet.
- Parainfluenza virus (bordetella) or Infectious tracheo-bronchitis - is a very contagious respiratory disease among dogs, it is commonly called “Kennel Cough”. If young puppies contract Kennel Cough they can suffer quite severe complications as their immune system is developing and may not be strong enough to fight off this infection. Older dogs are also at risk as they have decreased immune system.
- The most common symptoms of Kennel Cough are: A dry hacking cough, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and in severe cases, these symptoms progress to pneumonia.
- Leptospirosis- is an infection of Spirochetes which are a corkscrew-shaped bacteria which penetrates the skin and spreads through the body by the bloodstream. Leptospires can spread throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous and reproductive systems.
- Symptoms of Leptospirosis may include; Sudden high temperature, reluctance to move due to stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait, Lack of appetite, Rapid dehydration, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Coronavirus- is a highly contagious disease that affects the gastrointestinal system. The symptoms of a Coronavirus can vary. If an adult dog contracts this disease you are likely mild symptoms if none at all the most common sign in adult dogs is loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
The symptoms in puppies are a little more severe and may exhibit vomiting, diarrhoea, high temperature and dehydration, puppies are also most at risk of developing serious complications with this virus such as severe enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) which can be fatal.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.