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Vaccines for your dog's health

Vaccinating your dog

A responsible dog owner makes sure that their dogs have all the proper vaccines they need. Vaccinations prevent severe illnesses by preparing the dog's body immune system to fight off disease-causing organisms. Generally, dogs are vaccinated for the first time at 7-9 weeks of age, then at 12 weeks, and again when they reach the age of one year. 

Kennel cough

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a common disease. It is also known as Kennel cough. The disease can be caused by several different viruses and bacteria, but the most common causes are Canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV) and Bordetella bronchiseptica -bacteria. Many dogs that become infected with Bordetella are infected with a virus at the same time. Dogs get infected, when they inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract.  Usually the respiratory tract is covered with mucus, which traps the pathogens, but there are some factors, that can weaken the protection:

 

  • Spaces which have a poor ventilation and which are crowded - such as some kennels 
  • Cold temperature
  • Stress

The most recognizable symptom for Kennel cough, is forceful, persistent coughing. The sound might resemble a goose honking, and it can even sound like the dog is choking. Kennel cough can cause sneezing, runny eyes, loss of appetite and general illness. Sometimes secondary infections can occur and the dog can then develop pneumonia. Kennel Cough is common and contagious. The vaccine against kennel cough provides short-term protection and should therefore be given annually.

There are two types of kennel cough vaccines, which contain attenuated (weakened) viruses. The trade marks are:

 

  • Nobivac KC dripped in the nose (freeze dried Bordetella bronchiseptica-bacteria and attenuated Canine Parainfluenza virus)
  • Nobivac PI, Versican Plus PI and Duramune PI, injected under the skin (attenuated Canine Parainfluenza virus)

NOTE! trade marks can vary in different countries

Rabies

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries. Rabies is a zoonosis disease, meaning that it can it can be transmitted from the dog into a human. Dog is, globally, the primary carrier of the infection, but other sources for the infection are foxes, bats, cats, wolves and raccoons. In up to 99% of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs. The infection is relatively common in Eastern Europe but rare in the rest of Europe. In Africa, Asia and the Americas, the disease is fairly common. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people.


Rabies vaccination requires an EU passport, which you can get issued by the vet. The dog must be at least three months old, before being vaccinated. It is recommended to get a second basic vaccination one month after the first vaccination. The dog may travel only after 21 days have passed from the last vaccination. Usually the department of agriculture’s website gives the instructions for current regulations of the particular country you're traveling to. Vaccination can be done every three years with deactivated rabies virus. The trade marks are for example  Nobivac Rabies, Rabisin Vet and Rabdomun Vet. Note that some countries may require annual vaccination despite EU rules.

Canine distemper

Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus (CDV) that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of dogs. Dogs usually become infected through airborne exposure  to the virus from an infected dog or wild animal.  Infected dogs can shed the virus for months, and mother dogs can pass the virus to heir puppies through the placenta. The virus gives only vague symptoms such as cough, runny nose and eyes, but can then turn into neurological symptoms or death.  If the virus attacks the nervous system, infected dogs develop circling behavior, head tilt, muscle twitches,  jaw chewing movements and salivation, seizures, and partial or complete paralysis. Distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage. 


The puppy is first vaccinated at 12 weeks of age, and this is repeated at one year of age. The dog should then get vaccinated against canine distemper every three years (this may vary depending on the country). Puppies that don't have a strong immune system yet, can be in higher risk to catch the virus. Be when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs at parks, obedience classes, doggy day care and other places where dogs can congregate. It is not recommended to let an unvaccinated puppy to meet other dogs, until the vaccination program is going on.

Parvovirus infection

Parvovirus mainly affects young puppies and older animals very hard. The disease is fatal when the virus attacks the intestines, causing serious infection with severe vomiting and diarrhea. Parvovirus is spread throughout the world and is probably relatively common. The puppy is vaccinated for the first time by the breeder at about 7-8 weeks of age and then at 12-13 weeks of age. The reason that two vaccinations should be done is that during the first months, antibodies that the puppy get from the mother may interfere the puppy's own antibody production after vaccination. After 12 weeks of age the mothers antibodies are gone and the puppy can form their own protecting until the next vaccination visit at 1 year old. The dog should then get vaccinated against Parvo every three years. To protect their adult dogs, pet owners should be sure that their dog’s parvovirus vaccination is up-to-date. 

Infectious hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH, or sometimes called HCC hepatitis contagiosa canis) is a rare viral disease that causes a severe form of hepatitis - often fatal.  The virus is spread in the faeces, urine, blood, saliva, and nasal discharge of infected dogs. The virus sets into the mucous membranes, and it replicates in the toncils. The main infected organs are liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs. The symptoms of the disease are apathy,  thirst, conjunctivitis, serous discharge from the eyes and nose, and occasionally abdominal pain and vomiting. Also the toncils can be swollen. Advanced infection can cause damage in the internal organs, including internal bleeding and lesions. The puppy is vaccinated at 12 weeks of age, and this is repeated at one year of age. The dog should then get vaccinated against ICH/HCC every three years.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria which mainly attack and damage the liver and kidneys. The disease is common abroad, vaccination is done only when traveling to countries with high risk of infection. Basic vaccination is done by two vaccinations one month apart and then every six to twelve months for sustained protection.