Now that you’ve welcomed your newest family member to the home it’s time to get a few things sorted so that everybody in the house remains healthy and happy.
These days there are heaps of different vaccinations available to prevent all sorts of diseases and conditions from developing. While some are compulsory and others are simply advisable, there are a number of vaccinations that are a must for your new puppy.
Some of the most serious diseases that are preventable with simple vaccinations include Canine Hepatitis, Heartworm, Canine Distemper, Canine Parainfluenza and Canine Parvovirus. Some of these conditions, if allowed to take hold, can cause your dog very serious health problems, discomfort or pain. Some can be so serious that they can cause death within a number of days, sometimes even hours.
Immunisation is a relatively easy task to get organised. Any and all vets have the ability and the equipment to immunize your pet against the biggest threats to their health. Furthermore, if you’re wanting to socialise your dog early or have them stay at a boarding kennel while you take a trip away, in most cases you’ll need your dog’s proof of immunisation before they will be accepted.
We’ve compiled some information on the immunisation steps you should take when you first bring your puppy home. You can find more in-depth information on puppy vaccination in our Dog & Puppy Vaccination schedules & dog vaccination costs guide.
Most vets like to see puppies fully immunised by the age of 12 weeks; this will then afford them plenty of time to socialise with other dogs while they’re young.
Infectious Hepatitis.Caused by the canine adenovirus, infectious hepatitis is highly contagious and may be spread by an infected dog via its urine. Highly infectious, even dogs that have recovered from the condition may still pass on the virus for up to six months after it has been cured.
The virus causes some serious symptoms and is most dangerous to young dogs and puppies; the younger the affected dog, the higher the chance of a fatal case. Symptoms include a fever, severe pain due to inflammation of the liver as well as abdominal infection, diarrhoea, depression and a notable loss of appetite.
Infectious hepatitis is usually immunised against early, between the ages of 6 and 8 weeks.
Canine Distemper.This condition is nowhere near as common as it used to be and it’s largely thanks to strict Australian vaccination schedules.
Canine distemper is a viral infection that affects the spinal cord, respiratory tract and the brain. The condition causes serious symptoms such as convulsions, progressive paralysis, brain damage and death. Fifty per cent of diagnosed animals will die of the virus.
Vaccinations against canine distemper are usually a part of the first vaccinations given to your puppy, somewhere around the 6 – 8 week mark.
Parvovirus. The parvovirus is perhaps one of the hardiest viruses known to humans. The virus can survive on any surface for many weeks or months and can only be killed with hospital grade disinfectant.
The virus is highly contagious and is usually passed on through one dog’s faeces to another. The virus moves very quickly and many owners have noticed symptoms develop within a matter of hours after infection. Excessive vomiting and diarrhoea containing blood will occur, as well as a high fever and severe abdominal pain.
The parvovirus has a very high mortality rate and most dogs will succumb to the infection within a matter of days. The virus is immunised against within the first 6 – 8 weeks of your dog’s life. Boosters will be required annually.
Heartworm. If you’re familiar with the effects of heartworm, you’ll know just how devastating the disease can be. Heartworms are parasitic worms that are spread by mosquitos. 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 is an important preventative measure and the heartworm injection should be given between the ages of 12 and 16 weeks. Following this, another injection should be administered each year of the dog’s life.
Parainfluenza Virus.Kennel Cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is a common infection that affects both dogs and cats. Kennel Cough is a contagious condition; it is caused by a mix of bad bacteria such as bordetella bronchisepticaand viruses like parainfluenza that targets the animal’s respiratory system.
The condition is known as Kennel Cough because the most susceptible to the disease are animals that have been exposed to overcrowded and enclosed, under-ventilated areas like boarding kennels and pounds. Even pets that spend a lot of time exercising in public dog parks have an increased chance of developing the syndrome.
Immunisation against parainfluenza and bordetella can be administered in the second round of immunisations, usually between the age of 12 – 14 weeks.
The third vaccination period will usually take place between the ages of 16 to 18 weeks of age. This round of vaccinations will target the corona virus and leptospirosis.
A few important things to keep in mind. Even if your dog doesn’t mix with other dogs or you live way out in the country, far away from other people and pets, immunisation is an essential part of any dog’s health regime.
Parasites like heartworm are carried by mosquitos and can affect any dog at any time, the parvovirus is spread through droppings and kennel cough can be brought on by bad bacteria and is highly contagious.
Most boarding kennels or puppy preschools will insist that you have all the paperwork proving immunisation before accepting your dog into their care. It is essential that your dog is not only healthy in the moment, but also free of posing any health risk to other pets.
Once you have vaccinated your puppy against these serious diseases, it’s a good idea to look into other preventative medications for other conditions. For example, worms are especially common in both dogs and cats and it’s a good idea to ask your vet about an effective deworming solution.
Flea control is another concern for dogs and cats and there are a number of simple to use topical solutions for the treatment of fleas. Puppies as young as 6 to 8 weeks can be treated with an anti-flea medication and, especially if you have multiple pets at home, it’s a good idea to get started early.
While immunisation is 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.
Remember, whilst a great preventative measure, no immunisation is 100% effective. In the unlikely case your pet does develop a serious condition after immunisation, with the right insurance, you’ll know they’re covered.
Find out more on Dog & Puppy Vaccination schedules & dog vaccination costs.