Prevention is better than cure
We occasionally see pets that have become ill, yet their illnesses could have been prevented or kept to a minimum if they had been vaccinated. A vaccine is designed to stimulate your pet’s immune system so they have a ‘memory’ of a certain disease. This means that if they come across this disease, they will have a faster and stronger immune system reaction to battle against it.
Puppies are given an initial course of two vaccinations (primovaccination), the second being given after 12 weeks of age. This is followed by yearly boosters (rappels) to ensure that your pet’s immune system is always vigilant and prepared in its constant fight against disease. In addition, your dog will have a clinical examination that can pick up other problems ranging from bad teeth to heart disease. It is an ideal opportunity to bring up any concerns or queries about your pet with your vet.
Older animals have a weaker immune system so it is just as important to keep their boosters up-to-date.
Most reputable kennels will refuse to take pets for boarding unless they have an up-to-date vaccine record including the kennel cough Bordetella vaccine.
The key vaccinations are:
- Parvovirus (parvovirose)
This is very contagious and often fatal. It causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to dehydration. It is a tough virus and difficult to kill in the environment.
- Distemper/hardpad (Maladie de Carré)
This is less common, but there are still cases seen each year. Vomiting, Diarrhoea, pneumonia and brain disease often followed by death are the unfortunate consequences of this horrible disease. Dogs which appear to recover often suffer seizures as they get older.
- Canine Hepatitis (L’hepatite de Rubarth)
This virus (not dangerous to people) causes severe damage to the liver with high fevers and gastro-enteritis. Again it is often fatal.
- Leptospirosis (leptospirose)
The canine equivalent of Weils Disease in humans, this is caught if the dog swims in or drinks from water exposed to rat urine. Examples are canals, ponds, streams etc. The dog suffers haemorrhagic gastro-enteritis and jaundice, often complicated with damage to the kidneys, heart and nervous system. Humans can catch this disease from infected dogs.
- Adenovirus – part of the Kennel Cough group
- Parainfluenza virus – part of the Kennel Cough group
- Bordetella bacteria – part of the Kennel Cough group
- Kennel Cough/infectious tracheo-bronchitis (toux de chenil)
This is called kennel cough as it so contagious. It is spread where groupings of dogs occurs, e.g. parks, kennels, agility clubs, shows etc. A harsh hacking cough is the main symptom of this disease. It has many causes; one of the viral components is included in most yearly vaccinations. The Bordetella component is given by a separate vaccination, usually intra-nasally.•With thanks to Diana James
Photo by Winsker