Puppy Shots Schedule: A Complete Guide to Puppy Vaccinations

Your Complete Guide to First-Year Puppy Vaccinations

Contents

When you bring that soft, sweet-smelling little ball of puppy fuzz into your home, you know right away that she depends on you for, well, everything. It’s up to you to give her all the care she needs every day. It can be a little intimidating — she needs the best puppy food, plenty of attention, gentle training, safe toys, puppy socialization, a comfortable home, and proper veterinary care. And that includes puppy shots throughout her first year.

Which Shots Do Puppies Need?

Going to the vet repeatedly over several months for vaccinations, and then for boosters or titers throughout your dog’s life, may seem like an inconvenience, but the diseases that vaccinations will shield our pets from are dangerous, potentially deadly, and, thankfully, mostly preventable.

We read about so many different vaccinations, for so many different illnesses, that it can sometimes be confusing to know which vaccinations puppies need and which ones are important but optional. Here is an overview of the diseases that vaccinations will help your pet to avoid.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

This highly infectious bacterium causes severe fits of coughing, whooping, vomiting, and, in rare cases, seizures and death. It is the primary cause of kennel cough. There are injectable and nasal spray vaccines available.

If you plan on boarding your puppy in the future, attending group training classes, or using dog daycare services, often proof of this vaccination will be a requirement.

Canine Distemper

A severe and contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and nervous systems of dogs, raccoons, skunks, and other animals, distemper spreads through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing) from an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment. It causes discharges from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and, often, death. This disease used to be known as “hard pad” because it causes the footpad to thicken and harden.

There is no cure for distemper. Treatment consists of supportive care and efforts to prevent secondary infections, control symptoms of vomiting, seizures and more. If the animal survives the symptoms, it is hoped that the dog’s immune system will have a chance to fight it off. Infected dogs can shed the virus for months.

Canine Hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and the eyes of the affected dog. This disease of the liver is caused by a virus that is unrelated to the human form of hepatitis. Symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can overcome the mild form of the disease, but the severe form can kill. There is no cure, but doctors can treat the symptoms.

Canine Parainfluenza

One of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough.

Coronavirus

The canine coronavirus is not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in people. COVID-19 is not thought to be a health threat to dogs, and there is no evidence it makes dogs sick. Canine coronavirus usually affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, though it can also cause respiratory infections. Signs include most GI symptoms, including loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doctors can keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable, and help alleviate nausea, but no drug kills coronaviruses.

Heartworm

When your puppy is around 12-to-16 weeks, talk to your vet about starting a heartworm preventive. Though there is no vaccine for this condition, it is preventable with regular medication that your veterinarian will prescribe.

The name is descriptive — these worms lodge in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (that send blood to the lungs), though they can travel through the rest of the body and sometimes invade the liver and kidneys. The worms can grow to 14 inches long and, if clumped together, block and injure organs.

A new heartworm infection often causes no symptoms, though dogs in later stages of the disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite or have difficulty breathing. Infected dogs may tire after mild exercise. Unlike most of the conditions listed here, which are passed by urine, feces, and other body fluids, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Therefore, diagnosis is made via a blood test and not a fecal exam.

Kennel Cough

Also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough results from inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, or other infections, such as Bordetella and canine parainfluenza, and often involves multiple infections simultaneously. Usually, the disease is mild, causing bouts of harsh, dry coughing; sometimes it’s severe enough to spur retching and gagging, along with a loss of appetite. In rare cases, it can be deadly. It is easily spread between dogs kept close together, which is why it passes quickly through kennels. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, except in severe, chronic cases. Cough suppressants can make a dog more comfortable.

Leptospirosis

Unlike most diseases on this list, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria, and some dogs may show no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis can be found worldwide in soil and water. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be spread from animals to people. When symptoms do appear, they can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, kidney failure (with or without liver failure). Antibiotics are effective, and the sooner they are given, the better.

Lyme Disease

Unlike the famous “bull’s-eye” rash that people exposed to Lyme disease often spot, no such telltale symptom occurs in dogs. Lyme disease (or borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Transmitted via ticks, an infected dog often starts limping, his lymph nodes swell, his temperature rises, and he stops eating. The disease can affect his heart, kidney, and joints, among other things, or lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. If diagnosed quickly, a course of antibiotics is extremely helpful, though relapses can occur months or even years later.

Parvovirus

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the most risk to contract it. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates a loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea. Extreme dehydration can come on rapidly and kill a dog within 48-to-72 hours, so prompt veterinary attention is crucial. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling the secondary symptoms can keep him going until his immune system beats the illness.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Treatment within hours of infection is essential, otherwise, death is highly likely. Most states require a rabies vaccination. Check with your vet about rabies vaccination laws in your area.

Of course, your veterinarian should weigh in and can always provide more information and guidance if needed on necessary and optional vaccinations.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

The first thing to know is that there is not just one puppy vaccination schedule for all dogs. Factors such as which part of the country you live in, and your dog’s individual risk factors will come into play. Some dogs do not need every vaccine. This decision is between you and your veterinarian. Always discuss puppy vaccinations at your regularly scheduled appointments.

That said, here is a generally accepted guideline of the puppy vaccination schedule for the first year.

Puppy’s Age Recommended Vaccinations Optional Vaccinations
6 — 8 weeks Distemper, parainfluenza Bordetella
10 — 12 weeks DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus) Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
12 — 24 weeks Rabies none
14 — 16 weeks DHPP Coronavirus, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis
12 — 16 months Rabies, DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 — 2 years DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 — 3 years Rabies (as required by law) none

Puppy Vaccinations Cost

How much vaccinations for your puppy will cost depends on several factors. Where you live is one: Veterinarians in crowded and expensive urban areas will charge more than a rural vet in a small town. In other words, there are significant differences in price. But no matter what the range in costs, some vaccines, such as the “core vaccines,” and for rabies, are necessary.

Vet Info has a helpful guide for the approximate cost of puppy vaccinations for her first year.

  • The average cost will be around $75—100. These will include the core vaccines, which are administered in a series of three: at 6-, 12-, and 16 weeks old.
  • The core vaccines include the DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza). Your pup will also need a rabies vaccination, which is usually around $15—20. (Some clinics include the cost of the rabies vaccination.)
  • Often animal shelters charge less for vaccines — approximately $20 — or are even free. If you acquired your dog from a shelter, he would most likely have been vaccinated, up until the age when you got him.

The initial puppy vaccination costs during the first year are higher than during adulthood.

Vaccinations for Adult Dogs: Boosters and Titers

There is a difference of opinion about having your adult dog vaccinated every year. Some vets believe too many vaccinations in adult dogs pose health risks. But others disagree, saying that yearly vaccinations will prevent dangerous diseases such as distemper. Talk with your vet to determine what kind of vaccination protocol works for you and your dog.

Many dog owners opt for titer tests before they administer annual vaccinations. Titer tests measure a dog’s immunity levels, and this can determine which, if any, vaccinations are necessary. One key exception to this is rabies: a titer test is not an option when it comes to the rabies vaccine. This vaccination is required by law across the United States. Your vet can tell you the schedule for your particular state.

And it’s all worth it. For your effort and care your puppy will lavish you with lifelong love in return. This critical first year of her life is a fun and exciting time for both of you. As she grows physically, the wonderful bond between you will grow, too.

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How to Vaccinate Your Dog or Cat

Subcutaneous Vaccines (SQ)

This is the most common and safest method for administering vaccines. The best place to give SQ vaccines is the loose skin over the pet’s shoulder, because it’s the least sensitive area. Avoid the area between the pet’s shoulder blades. Lift the skin and insert the needle into the tented area. Pull back on the plunger to make sure the needle isn’t in a blood vessel — if it is, blood will enter the syringe and you will have to find a new location. If the needle location is okay, gently administer the vaccine.

Intramuscular Vaccines (IM)

If you have the choice, the SQ method is the safest and easiest way to give vaccines, but some vaccines can only be given intramuscularly. IM vaccines are generally given in the thick muscle at the back of the thighs. Gently and quickly push the needle into the muscle at a 90 degree angle. Just like SQ vaccines, pull back on the plunger slightly to check for blood, then administer the vaccine. You should have a veterinary professional show you how to give an IM vaccine before you try it for yourself.

Intranasal Vaccines

Most intranasal vaccines are mixed like injectable vaccines, then a dropper or adapter is placed on the end of the syringe to administer the vaccine intranasally. Give the entire dose to your pet. Your pet will probably shake his head or sneeze afterwards, but don’t worry — the vaccine will still be effective.

After you have given a vaccine, it is very important to dispose of the needle and syringe according to your state or county’s regulations. Read Safe Disposal of Needles and Syringes for more information.

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Puppy Vaccination Schedule Chart (Printable)

https://barkingroyalty.com/ Published: April 13, 2016 Updated: December 15, 2016 BARKING ROYALTY

If you want your puppy to stay healthy, you need to stick to the puppy vaccination schedule. Find out why and when your dog should get vaccinated.

Dog vaccination is a constant debate and many people are against it. However, all the vets agree that all puppies must receive vaccinations in order to stay healthy.

Although debatable, according to many studies, every dog should be vaccinated not only for the sake of their health, but also the health of people around them.

Many of the diseases dogs can get, as a result of not being vaccinated, can be transferred to people. Therefore, if you are getting a puppy, consult with a vet when your puppy should be vaccinated and how to take care of them.

Shot Schedule For Puppies:

Puppy’s Age Recommended Vaccinations Optional Vaccinations
6 to 8 weeks Distemper, measles, parainfluenza Bordetella
10 to 12 weeks DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus) Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
12 to 24 weeks Rabies None
14 to 16 weeks DHPP Coronavirus, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis
12 to 16 months Rabies, DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 to 2 years DHPP Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 to 3 years Rabies (as required by law) None

The chart shows a schedule when your puppy should be vaccinated and which vaccines they should get. Recommended vaccines are core vaccines, which your dog must get, whereas optional are non-core.

Depending on your environment and lifestyle, your vet will determine which of them your dog needs. If you want your dog to be healthy, stick to the schedule.

Basics Of Vaccination

Before we start getting into the details of the vaccines your puppy should get, you need to know that there are two types of vaccines: core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

First type of vaccines are the essential ones, which every dog should get on time i.e. according to the strict schedule recommended by vets and law.

On the other hand, non-core vaccines are optional, but that doesn’t mean your dog shouldn’t get them. Depending on the place you live in and environment in general, your vet will inform you which vaccines of the non-core ones your dog should get and which not.

In the chart core vaccines are the recommended ones, and non-core are optional.

Why You Should Vaccinate Your Dog

Vaccination against some infectious diseases keeps both your dog and your family healthy. Most of the diseases are fatal, and to prevent them there’s only one option – vaccination. Some of them cannot be treated and cured.

If you think that there is a low risk of your puppy getting infected or if some dog gets better on his own, know that even though some dogs survived some illnesses, it doesn’t mean yours will too.

People are often worried about the side-effects, but the veterinarian will inform you how to help your dog if it has any reaction to the vaccination. Don’t skip the shots, stick to the schedule and your dog will be your family member for a long time.

Don’t panic if your dog experiences loss of appetite or depression, because it can be many things, and not some disease or reaction to vaccination. Watch for other symptoms and consult with professionals.

Schedule: When To Vaccinate Your Puppy

As seen in the chart, there is a strict schedule of puppy vaccination, which you should follow. When you get the puppy, check if it has received any vaccines and inform your vet. Whether you are buying or adopting a dog, you will be informed about their medical history.

6 – 8 weeks

Core vaccines: Distemper, measles, parainfluenza Non-core vaccines: Bordetella

Starting from 6 weeks to 8, your puppy should receive vaccines against distemper, measles and parainfluenza.

Canine distemper is a fatal infection, which your puppy can get if in touch with the infected dog, or contaminated area by a sick dog. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and in some cases, seizures.

Parainfluenza or kennel cough is contagious and can be spread through the air. It is a respiratory infection, and the symptoms are sneezing and coughing.

A non-core vaccine that many dogs get during this period, is against Bordetella bronchiseptica. It also causes kennel cough, and is spread through the air. This vaccine is recommended for dogs who are constantly in touch with many dogs in park, doggy day care or if you have more dogs at home.

10 – 12 weeks

Core vaccines: DHPP Non-core vaccines: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Between 10 to 12 weeks your puppy must get the DHPP vaccine, which will protect it from diseases which are actually initials of this vaccine – (D) distemper, (H) hepatitis, (P) parvo and (P) parainfluenza.

As explained above, distemper results in death and is followed by diarrhea, runny nose and vomiting, while parainfluenza is a respiratory infection.

Parvo is another dangerous disease that can be fatal, and its most common symptom is bloody diarrhea. Canine hepatitis is an infection of liver and kidneys, which is caused by canine adenovirus type – 1. The symptoms are loss of appetite, coughing and depression.

All of these are prevented by the DHPP vaccine, and because of that your dog needs to get one. Depending on your environment, it can be combined with some other to prevent further illnesses.

For example, DHLPP, except for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvo, includes immunization of your dog against leptospirosis.

Other illnesses that your vet may suggest vaccinating against are Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordatella, and Lyme disease.

12 – 24 weeks

Core vaccines: Rabies Non-core vaccines: None

Rabies affects both humans and animals, and leads to death. Dogs can get the disease if an infected dog bites them, or if infected saliva comes in contact with a wound.

Dogs can get infected even if saliva gets in contact with a little scratch. The symptoms include aggression, and your happy bundle of joy may become easily irritable, which usually leads to attacking people, and other animals.

After aggression, your dog will start to hide and will become disoriented. Other symptoms are loss of appetite, weakness, and seizures.

If your dog was bitten by another dog or some other animal, take them to vet and check for any diseases. Also, as it may happen that you aren’t around when this happens, watch your dog to see if they are licking and biting one site. Check for any wounds and consult with a vet.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for rabies, and it can be determined only after the dog’s death, as the brain tissue is needed. The symptoms may show that your dog has rabies, but the accurate test can be done only after their death. Therefore, all dogs who are assumed to have rabies are euthanized.

The best prevention is vaccination, so be responsible and stick to the schedule. Also, supervise your dog when taking them to the park and walk them on a leash.

14 – 16 weeks

Core vaccines: DHPP Non-core vaccines: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

During this period, your dog will need to get the DHPP vaccine again. If there are some other needed, your vet will inform you and make the needed combination.

12 – 16 months

Core vaccines: Rabies, DHPP Non-core vaccines: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Your dog will need to get another DHPP and a vaccine against rabies. The vaccines aren’t effective if your puppy gets only one.

The DHPP is then given to dogs every 1 to 2 years, whereas vaccine against rabies is given every 1 to 3 years, as required by law.

This complete guide shows you the importance of dog vaccination, so don’t risk your dog’s life, but prevent various diseases.

Hope you found this article interesting. If so, feel free to spread the word!

COMMENTS FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM:

If you have been thinking about a new puppy or have already brought a new pup into our family, this BARKING ROYALTY’S article is a must. It even includes a drop down attachment to the article of the concise information needed to ensure that new pet parents are familiar with the recommended schedule for puppy vaccinations.

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Puppy and dog vaccination schedules and vaccination costs

Many of the most serious canine diseases – including Canine Hepatitis, Canine Distemper, Canine Parainfluenza and Canine Parvovirus – are preventable with simple dog vaccinations, Some of these conditions can cause very serious health problems, discomfort or pain for your dog. Some can be so serious that they can cause death within a number of days, potentially even hours. This article gives you all the information you need to know to ensure your best friend gets the protection they need.

Why should you vaccinate your dog or puppy?

Dog vaccinations will help your dog to be protected against some of the most common and most dangerous infectious diseases. For young dogs especially, it is critical to get the right vaccinations according to the puppy vaccination schedule to help build up their immunity.

Dog vaccinations will not only protect your dog, they will also ensure your dog can’t infect others in their local dog community. Early dog vaccinations (see below for the adult dog vaccination schedule as well as the puppy vaccination schedule) will also allow you to socialise your dog earlier with other dogs. An up to date dog vaccination history is often required in places where dogs will closely interact with each other, such as boarding kennels, dog training classes and doggy day care.

Immunisation is a relatively easy task to get organised. All vets have the ability and the equipment to quickly and easily immunise your pet against the biggest threats to their health.

Even if your dog doesn’t mix with other dogs or you live far away from other people and pets, immunisation should be an essential part of any dog’s health regime.

What are vaccines and how do they work?

Vaccinating your puppy or adult dog means the same as it does for humans. Vaccines are health products that trigger the animal’s immune system to fight a specific infectious agent, without making the animal sick. Generally, the germs in the vaccine are weak or dead. In fact some don’t even contain any of the germs, they are simply there to mimic the germs.

Dog and puppy vaccinations are basically a training camp for your dog’s immune system. The white blood cells in his body will produce proteins (so called antibodies) that will, together with other white blood cells, fight the infectious agent (called antigens). It is recommended to top up your dog’s vaccinations frequently to make sure his body still has enough of the trained antibodies to be able to fight the infectious germs when needed.

Which are the most common dog and puppy vaccinations?

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) splits recommended dog vaccinations into “core” and “non-core” vaccines.

Core Dog Vaccines:

These vaccines are recommended for all animals, to protect them against severe and life threatening diseases.

These vaccines are for canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus (hepatitis) – a combination of these 3 vaccines is commonly known as C3 vaccination.

Non-Core Dog Vaccines:

Animals whose local environment or lifestyle might expose them to the risk of the below infectious diseases require these non-core vaccines:

The non-core vaccines are for parainfluenza virus and bortadella bronchiseptica, which can both cause kennel cough. The vaccine for leptospira interrogans is also a non-core vaccine, which can be given in addition to the above but not at the same time.

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When you get your dog vaccinated you will often find the reference to something like a C3 or C5. Here is what this means, with C3 and C5 being the most common:

  • C3 (core) = Parvovirus, distemper and infectious hepatitis
  • C4 = C3 + parainfluenza virus
  • C5 = C4 + Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • C6 = C4 + corona virus and leptospirosis
  • C7 = C5 + corona virus and leptospirosis

Average Dog Vaccination Costs

  • Dog vaccination costs can vary considerably, however the following prices are indicative: C3 vaccination around $60-70, C5 is around $85 – 90 and C7 can be $100 (prices as per October 2016). Prices can change and vary from location to location, so always check with your local clinic for prices.
  • You can check with your pet insurer if they are able to cover some of the costs of your dog’s vaccinations. Bow Wow Meow can help you with the Routine Care cover to cover some of these costs. (Find out how much pet insurance will cost for your dog).
  • If your dog needs to be hospitalised and treated for Parvo virus, costs can easily exceed thousands of dollars. Parvovirus is also life threatening for your dog, so getting your puppy vaccinated will not just save money, it could also save your pup’s life.

Vaccination Schedules for Puppies and Dogs

The following dog vaccination schedule is based on the recommendation of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). However, your local vet will advise on the recommended dog vaccination schedule for your pet.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

  • 1 st puppy vaccination: C3 at 6 to 8 weeks
  • 2 nd puppy vaccination: C5 at 12 weeks
  • 3 rd puppy vaccination: C3 booster at 16 weeks
    (Some vaccines are registered for completion in puppies at 10 weeks, meaning a 3 rd vaccination would not be required. But this should be up to your vet to guide you through the process.)
  • 1 st annual dog vaccination at 15 months

Adult Dog Vaccination Schedule

  • Annual Canine Cough vaccination
  • C3 vaccination every 3 years
  • Your vet may also recommend an annual C5 booster vaccination

Dog and Puppy Vaccinations Explained

The recommended puppy and dog vaccinations will help protect your dog against a number of very serious diseases. Below we outline some of the more common diseases and how vaccinations help prevent them.

Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

The parvovirus is one of the hardiest viruses. It can survive in the environment for 12 months or more and can only be killed with hospital grade disinfectant. The virus is highly contagious and is usually passed on through contact with contaminated faeces or soil. Examples of such contaminated areas are parks, nature strips, show grounds and kennels. Direct contact with another dog is not required to spread the disease.

Parvovirus Symptoms

The virus moves very quickly and symptoms often develop within a matter of hours after infection. Symptoms include:

  • Excessive vomiting
  • Diarrhoea containing blood
  • High fever
  • Severe abdominal pain

The parvovirus has a very high mortality rate and most dogs will succumb to the infection within a matter of days.

Parvovirus Prevention

Vaccinating your dog will help prevent the infection and spread of the disease. If you are in doubt, it is best to carry your dog (using a handbag, stroller etc.).

Parvovirus Treatment

Chances of survival are dependent on how quickly your dog receives medical treatment. Usually, treatment involves several days of intensive care at a vet hospital.

Infectious Hepatitis (Canine Adenovirus)

What is Infectious Hepatitis?

Caused by the canine adenovirus, infectious hepatitis is highly contagious. The primary mode of any infected dog spreading the virus is via direct contact with another dog through bodily fluids incl. nasal discharge and urine. In addition to this, sharing cages, runs, bowls, toys and even human clothes and boots can be a source of transmission.

Highly infectious, even dogs that have recovered from the condition may still pass on the virus for up to 6 months after it has been cured. The virus causes some serious symptoms and is most dangerous to young dogs and often fatal in puppies.

Infectious Hepatitis Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Severe pain due to inflammation of the liver
  • Abdominal infection
  • Diarrhoea
  • Depression
  • A notable loss of appetite
  • Coughing

This disease can be fatal within 36 hours. You may often see a “blue eye” as a symptom, which is a corneal opacity.

Infectious Hepatitis Prevention

Vaccinating your dog will help preventing the infection and spread of this disease.

Infectious Hepatitis Treatment

Treatment of symptoms is through administering of intravenous fluids and supportive care. There is no specific treatment for this virus.

Canine Distemper

What is Canine Distemper?

Thanks to highly effective vaccines, Canine distemper is no longer as common anymore as it used to be. Canine Distemper is a viral infection that affects the spinal cord, respiratory tract and the brain. 50% of diagnosed animals will die from the virus.

Canine Distemper is airborne and transmitted by the infected dog or wild animal through sneezing or coughing. Transmission can also occur through sharing of dishes and equipment. Once a dog is infected, it can shed the virus for months. The virus can be passed on through the placenta of the mother dog to her puppies.

Canine Distemper Symptoms

Early signs of Canine Distemper include

  • High fever
  • Reddened eyes
  • Watery discharge from nose and eyes

Infected dogs become lethargic, tired and lose their appetite. In addition to this, vomiting, diarrhoea and coughing will often occur.

The condition causes serious symptoms such as convulsions, progressive paralysis, brain damage and can lead to death.

Canine Distemper Prevention

Vaccinating your dog will help prevent the infection and spread of this disease. Avoid contact with infected animals and wildlife.

Canine Distemper Treatment

Treatment of symptoms is through supportive care and prevention of secondary infections. There is no specific treatment for this virus.

Kennel Cough

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is a common infection mainly caused by two bacteria: namly, bordetella bronchiseptica and the parainfluenza virus, which target the animal’s respiratory system.

Kennel Cough is highly contagious and effects dog usually where they socialise, such as dog shows, dog training classes, parks and kennels. Kennel Cough got its name because most kennelled dogs are susceptible to the disease because they have been exposed enclosed areas together with other dogs like boarding kennels and pounds.

Kennel cough can be very easily spread, through airborne droplets produced by sneezing and coughing. It is not only spread by direct contact between the animals but also contact with contaminated surfaces including your hands and clothes.

Kennel Cough Symptoms

  • The common sign of Kennel Cough is a harsh hacking cough that often finishes with gagging.
  • Exercise, pressure on the throat (like pulling on the leash when wearing a collar) and excitement tend to make it worse.
  • Severe cases can lead to fever, lethargy and a reduced appetite.
  • Most dogs recover within 3 weeks, however depending on their health. If your dog is older, recovery can take up to 6 weeks.
  • Kennel Cough can lead to pneumonia, which is a serious condition and be sure to consult your vet immediately if your dog doesn’t improve within the expected time frame. If your dog shows any symptoms of rapid breathing, not eating, or listlessness, these could be signs of a more serious condition so it is very important to contact your vet right away.

Kennel Cough Prevention

Sticking to the recommended dog vaccination schedule will help prevent the infection and spread of this disease.

Keep in mind, infectious tracheobronchitis can be caused by many bacteria and viruses and therefore vaccinating your dog will help prevent infection with the two major organisms. There is still a chance your dog may catch some other virus causing Kennel Cough.

Kennel Cough is not covered under Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.

Kennel Cough Treatment

Most cases of Kennel Cough will resolve without treatment, however antibiotics and cough medicines can help to reduce the symptoms. It is advisable to use a harness instead of a collar until your dog is better. You should also make sure your rooms are well humidified.

Canine Leptospirosis

What is Canine Leptospirosis?

Tough it can occur anywhere, the Leptospira bacteria can be found in soil and water and is very common in areas with a warm climate, high annual rainfall and swampy conditions.

Dogs can catch Canine Leptospirosis if they drink water contaminated with urine from infected animals (incl. mice, rats and even native marsupials). According to the AVMA, common risk factors include drinking from rivers, lakes or streams; roaming on rural properties (because of exposure to potentially infected wildlife, farm animals, or water sources); exposure to wild animal or farm animal species, even if in the backyard; and contact with rodents or other dogs.

All it take to catch the Leptospira bacteria, is for the dogs mucous membranes (or skin with any wound, such as a cut or scrape) to come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding. The dog can also catch the bacteria through a bite from an infected animal or by eating infected tissues or carcasses. Whilst rare, it can be passed through the placenta from the mother dog to her puppies.

Canine Leptospirosis can be passed on to humans. Avoid contact with your dogs urine.

Canine Leptospirosis Symptoms

The symptoms include

  • Lethargy, reluctance to move, muscle tenderness, shivering
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite, increased thirst, changes of frequency and amount of urination
  • Usually associated with a fever

Yellow gums are also common.

The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure.

The signs usually start very suddenly as the disease is dramatic, causing death within a few days.

Canine Leptospirosis Prevention

Vaccinate your dog if you live in a high-risk area. For example there have been cases reported in the area around Darwin. Your local vet is the best person to advise whether you should vaccinate your dog.

Avoid any areas where your dog could come in contact with contaminated water, animals or any surfaces.

Canine Leptospirosis Treatment

Antibiotics and supportive care are used to treat Canine Leptospirosis. If treated early and aggressively, the chances of recovery are good however permanent damage to the liver or kidney can still occur.

Canine Coronavirus

What is Canine Coronavirus?

The Canine Coronavirus is highly contagious and is one of the leading viral causes for diarrhoea in puppies. The virus primarily attacks the intestinal tract and spreads via shedding in faeces of infected dogs. Once infected, the incubation time can be somewhere between 1 to 4 days.

Canine Coronavirus Symptoms

  • The primary symptom is diarrhoea.
  • Adult dogs are often naturally immune, or develop just a very mild, often not noticeable, case of the Canine Coronavirus Infection.
  • Puppies less than 12 weeks old however are at greatest risk and weak ones especially can die from this disease. Most puppies will recover from medium to severe diarrhoea after several days.
  • Unlike parvovirus, vomiting is not common.
  • The diarrhoea is similar to when your dog is infected with the parvovirus but tends to be a bit milder. The only way to make sure it is not parvovirus is with a laboratory test.

Canine Coronavirus Prevention

Vaccines can protect your dog in areas where the Canine Coronavirus is prevalent. Areas such as breeding and grooming facilities, kennel housing and hospitals should be disinfected with commercial grade products.

Canine Coronavirus Treatment

There is no specific treatment for Canine Coronavirus, however supportive care is very important. Make sure the dog stays well hydrated even if water must be force fed or fluids given intravenously.

And one more: Heartworm

Heartworms are parasitic worms that are spread by mosquitos, and this disease can be devastating. When the worms enter the dog’s body, they find their way to the heart and lungs and grow and multiply until the organs become clogged and eventually fail.

Heartworm prevention medication can be administered as an injection between the ages of 12 and 16 weeks with an annual booster. Alternatively, the medication can be given as a tablet, which is very common, with most of them being given monthly or bi-monthly.

Worried about ‘over-vaccinating’? Titre testing may be an option for you.

Over the last decade there has been increasing debate about the over-vaccination of pets. Depending on the vaccine used and the individual animal, immunity can last significantly longer than 12 months. Some pet owners worry about vaccinating their pet whilst its immunisation is still sufficient.

If you are concerned about this, and would like to test if your dog’s immunisation is still sufficient, an antibody titre test may be an option to consider. In this process, a small amount of blood is taken from your pet and a laboratory test is used to determine the level of antibodies in your dog’s body.

Titre testing will test the antibodies for the 3 core diseases of dogs:

  • Infectious Hepatitis (ICH)
  • Parvovirus (CPV)
  • Distemper (CDV)

Your vet will then be able to recommend if your dog will need to be re-vaccinated or not.

In a nutshell

While immunisation may be costly, it is an essential part of ensuring your dog lives a happy and healthy life. Seeking out pet insurance is a great way to help cover these costs. Bow Wow Meow can help you with Routine Care cover to contribute towards some of these costs. To cover your pet with pet insurance and our Routine Care cover option, call us on 1800 668 502, or get an online quote now.

See also:  What To Do To Get Rid Of Raccoons

Remember, whilst it is a great preventative measure, no immunisation is 100% effective. In the unlikely event that your pet still develops a serious condition after immunisation, with the right insurance, you’ll know they’re covered.

(Any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Not all conditions are covered by Pet Insurance. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.)

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Terms, conditions, waiting periods, limits, sub-limits and exclusions apply. Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance is issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard), promoted by Pet Tag Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 76 124 601 127; AR no. 318913) (Pet Tag Holdings), arranged by One3Six Pty Ltd (ABN 80 155 843 315; AR no. 1264853) (One3Six) and arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). Pet Tag Holdings and One3six are Authorised Representatives of PetSure.

Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking in to account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance.

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