Preventive Health Care Recommendations For Dogs
Distemper Combination (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvo viruses)
Canine Distemper Virus causes diarrhea, fever, respiratory disease, seizures, muscular twitches, and a discharge from the eyes and nose. While it is no longer a common disease, it is still seen in unvaccinated animals, particularly from shelters, and in puppies.
Canine Hepatitis is a disease common to young and unvaccinated animals. The virus attacks organs throughout the dog’s body producing fever, respiratory disease, enlarged lymph nodes, and abdominal pain.
Parainfluenza Virus causes respiratory disease. It usually is not life threatening unless pneumonia develops. It is one of the organisms implicated in “Kennel Cough.”
Parvo Virus causes severe intestinal problems in dogs. Infected individuals have bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and become quite depressed and dehydrated quickly.
Begin vaccinations at 6–8 weeks of age
Continue vaccinations every 3 weeks until 16–17 weeks of age
Revaccination 1 year later, then every 3 years to maintain adequate protection
Leptospirosis is a bacterium most commonly affecting the kidneys, although it can affect many of the major organs. It is introduced to the environment in the urine of livestock and wildlife, especially raccoons (who will urinate on your lawn, and then your dog will eat the grass). This organism is also transmissible to humans.
Two puppy doses at approximately 12 and 15 weeks of age
Annual revaccination to maintain adequate levels of immunity
All warm-blooded animals (dogs, cats, livestock, and wildlife) can become infected with rabies virus. Because rabies is also a threat to humans, many states require vaccination of all dogs and cats. Even indoor animals can be exposed to rabies, often by wildlife (especially bats) entering the house.
Rabies is a virus that attacks nerve tissue. The disease develops slowly over 10 days to several months. Infected animals may withdraw and avoid contact with people and other animals. Others become unnaturally aggressive and may attack. Death always occurs once a rabies-infected animal shows signs of disease.
In North America, most rabies exists in wildlife, especially raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Rabies is spread by bite wounds and exposure to the saliva of infected animals. Therefore, an unvaccinated dog involved in a fight with a wild animal, or with wounds from an unknown animal encounter should be suspect for rabies exposure. When rabies is diagnosed, by law, any exposed, unvaccinated animals must be quarantined for six months or euthanized. In contrast, an exposed, vaccinated animal is given a booster vaccine and is then considered safe from infection.
If humans are infected, they can be vaccinated successfully in early stages of the disease. Treatment, however, is unpleasant and costly.
First vaccination is given at 3 months of age or older
Revaccinate in 1 year, and then revaccinate every 2-3 years, or annually in some outdoor dogs or those at high risk of exposure to the disease
Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
Bordetella is the principle organism involved with Kennel Cough. Transmission usually occurs when dogs are housed together in close proximity such as in a boarding kennel, grooming parlor, or at a dog show. It causes a dry, hacking cough that can persist for days or even weeks. We primarily recommend this vaccine for “at-risk” dogs that are to be boarded or that are groomed on a regular basis.
First dose given at 3 weeks of age or older, at least 1 week before boarding, then annually as indicated
This has become a major health concern for our pets and we recommend vaccination of all dogs.
First of two initial doses given at 7 weeks of age or older, then annually as indicated
Influenza is another respiratory disease of dogs. It is similar in signs to kennel cough initially, but can progress to pneumonia and even death in severe cases. We have primarily seen the H3N8 strain and that is what we currently vaccinate to prevent. However, there was an outbreak of another strain (H3N2) in Chicago in 2015 and we continue to monitor that situation carefully as there have been reports of cases elsewhere across the country. Again, we primarily recommend this vaccine for the “at risk” dogs that are to be boarded, groomed regularly, or visit dog parks.
Two initial doses given 2-3 weeks apart for at risk dogs and annual revaccination.