Understanding what diseases are dangerous for your puppy and vaccinating them will give your pup a healthy start to life.
Vaccinations are an important cornerstone for keeping your puppy healthy. The core vaccine will provide protection against life-threatening diseases. It is also important to keep your puppy at home until all the vaccinations are given, so avoid going to the parlour, dog park or socializing with dogs that are not healthy. Puppies are susceptible to contracting diseases after weaning. This is a very stressful period in a puppy’s life and this stress affects the immune system. It is advised to keep a puppy with the mother until 8 weeks of age as this will reduce the stressful period as well as cementing the learning of appropriate social behavior.
Puppy vaccinations are most effective when they are given at fixed dates with boosters. The vaccine administered to your puppy will include protection against canine parvovirus, canine distemper virus, canine parainfluenza and canine infectious hepatitis. Here is the recommended vaccine schedule for your little pooch to ensure optimal protection against life threatening diseases. Here are a number of diseases your puppy should be vaccinated against.
Canine parvovirus is a very resilient virus that can stay in an environment for a very long time and the only way to protect your puppy from this horrible disease is through vaccinations. Canine parvovirus is a highly infectious virus that causes high morbidity and mortality in puppies, from 6 weeks and dogs that have never been vaccinated. The virus can be transmitted mainly through the vomit and diarrhoea of animals that have the virus but it can also be transmitted through human’s clothes and hands to other animals. It attacks all the rapidly dividing cells and therefore the intestine, heart and bone marrow will be affected. Because it is a virus it cannot be killed and treatment is supportive. What you need to know:
- Transmitted through bodily secretions and unvaccinated dogs
- Starts with a fever, followed by vomiting and bloody diarrhea
- Vomiting/profuse hypersalivation
- Diarrhoea (can be smelly and bloody)
- Fever can be present or not
- Puppies become dehydrated and weak
- Hospitalization is necessary for treatment
- Can be fatal if puppy is not vaccinated
Vaccinate against parvovirus!
Canine Distemper virus – commonly known as cat flu or “katgriep”. Canine distemper virus is also a very contagious virus but not as resilient as canine parvovirus. The virus is excreted in discharges and urine as well as through direct dog-dog contact. Treatment is also supportive but the bad news about canine distemper is if your puppy survives it, the disease can lie dormant and break out again when they are older. It can also take weeks to recover from canine distemper. Signs of Canine distemper are not always specific but the following can be seen.
- Sneezing and eye discharge – can develop into pneumonia
- Can lead to neurological problems such as a fatal encephalopathy (brain damage) or seizures
- Treatment requires inpatient supportive care
- It can take weeks to recover
- The disease can lie dormant and break out again
- Fever and listlessness
- Gastro-intestinal signs: – Vomiting – Diarrhoea
- Respiratory signs:
– Nasal discharge
– Ocular discharge
– A harsh dry cough
– Viral pneumonia that can go into a bacterial pneumonia
- Neurlogical signs:
– Chewing gum fits that makes it difficult for the dog to eat
– Temporal muscle wasting
- Once the virus is in the neurlogical system the prognosis is poor
Vaccinate against distemper!
Yes, dogs can also catch a cold but at the most it is not a serious disease, except when it causes pneumonia. If untreated, it can lead to pneumonia. The viral component can affect the local immune system in the upper respiratory tract and result in a bacterial infection. Puppies and dogs usually make an uneventful recovery. What you need to know:
- Airborne and highly contagious
- Dry hacking cough, loss of appetite, depression and a runny nose and sometimes a fever
- If untreated, can lead to pneumonia
- The main cause of kennel cough
- Swollen glands
- Ocular discharge (watery or mucoid)
- Depending on how sick your puppy is they can be either treated as an outpatient or in hospital.
Vaccinate against Parainfluenza!
INFECTIOUS CANINE HEPATITIS
Infectious Canine Hepatitis is a virus that causes acute viral hepatitis and can be fatal. Treatment will mainly be to support the liver and other organs affected by this virus. It is a highly contagious disease and is shed through the urine, saliva and faeces. Direct dog-do contact or other vomites like clothes and utensils can also cause infection. The mortality rate ranges from 10% to 30% and is typically highest in very young dogs. What you need to know:
- Bloody diarrhoea
- Blood in urine
- Abdominal pain
- Corneal oedema(blue eye)
- Inflammation in the kidney structures
- Persistence of the virus can occur in the structures of the eyes and kidneys of dogs that survived.
If you puppy shows any of the symptoms above, please consult your vet immediately. Treatment can be very costly and even with treatment your puppy can die.
Please vaccinate to ensure your puppy is protected against these diseases