Canine Vaccination Program

posted: by: Goosepond Animal Hospital Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Many canine diseases can be prevented by having your dog vaccinated during health examinations. This can greatly contribute to good health and a longer life. Your veterinarian will prepare a vaccine schedule best suited to your pets life style.

Vaccinations are not effective if the dog is already infected by the disease. The following is a list of diseases for which vaccines are currently available.

Canine Distemper:
A highly contagious often fatal viral disease seen mainly in young dogs. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, high fevers, tremors and seizures. The disease is usually transmitted through inhalation of airborne virus particles. Vaccination should be started between six and eight weeks of age.

Canine Parvovirus:
Another highly contagious viral disease mainly of puppies that has a fifty percent mortality rate. Parvovirus causes severe vomiting and diarrhea with destruction of the intestinal lining and bone marrow. Transmission is through ingestion of infected fecal material or vomitus. Vaccination begins between six and eight weeks of age and is combined with the distemper vaccine.

The rabies virus is almost always fatal. It is contagious to all mammals including humans. The virus attacks the central nervous system and brain, and is transmitted mainly through the bite of an infected animal. It can also be transmitted through infected saliva coming in contact with mucous membranes, eyes and abraded or injured skin. Vaccination is given at twelve weeks of age. It is a New York State law to have your dog (and cat) vaccinated for rabies.

Canine Adenovirus type-1 and type-2:
These viruses cause hepatitus (liver disease) and respiratory infection (kennel cough), respectively. The hepatitis virus can be fatal. Transmission is through inhalation of viral particles. Vaccination begins at six and eight weeks of age and is combined with the distemper vaccine.

Canine Leptospirosis:
A contagious bacterial disease which may cause severe liver and kidney damage to dogs and may be fatal. Humans may be infected by leptospirosis and have flu-like symptoms. The disease is transmitted through the urine of infected mammals and contaminated puddles, streams, ponds and grass are sources of infection. Dogs may shed letospirosis bacteria in their urine even if they have no symptoms of the disease. Vaccination begins at eight weeks of age and is often combined with the distemper vaccine.

Canine Parainfluenza:

A highly contagious virus that causes upper respiratory infections (kennel cough), and may be severe in puppies. Transmission is through the inhalation of airborne virus particles. Vaccination begins between six and eight weeks of age and is combined with the distemper vaccine.

Canine Bordatella:
A highly contagious bacteria that also causes upper respiratory infections (kennel cough), and may be severe in puppies or debilitated dogs. Vaccination can be given as early as eight weeks of age.

Lyme Disease:

A bacterial disease transmitted by the deer tick. The tick must be attached to the dog for 72 hours in order to cause infection. Symptoms include high fevers, pain and lameness in one or more joints, lethargy and general stiffness. In some dogs, the kidneys may be damaged causing kidney failure and possibly death. Vaccination can be started as early as eight to twelve weeks of age.

Canine Coronavirus:

A highly contagious viral disease that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. Although not as serious as parvovirus, puppies may become very ill from dehydration. Transmission is through oral ingestion of infected feces or vomitus. Vaccination begins at eight weeks of age and is combined with the distemper vaccine.

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRD):
Better known as "kennel cough," this annoying disease is caused by many different viruses and bacteria. It is very contagious and is transmitted when an infected dog coughs and sheds the organism into the air. It may be directly passed to another dog nearby, or transmitted on dust particles that float through the air in an enclosed environment. The symptoms are: dry, hacking cough; possible fever; sensitive, painful trachea, possible lethargy. Occasionally, dogs may develop secondary bronchitis or pneumonia.

Bordetella bacteria, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus are the primary organisms causing CIRD. Symptoms generally last one to two weeks. Treatment with antibiotics to prevent secondary infections in the lungs and with cough suppressants helps to resolve the condition more quickly. Severe cases, especially in puppies, may need nebulizer treatments as well. Canine influenza is another cause of CIRD that may cause similar but more severe symptoms. Canine influenza may be fatal in a small percentage of dogs that have depressed immune systems. This disease, caused by the H3N8 virus, was first seen in southern states. It is now endemic in the northeast as well.

Newly acquired puppies may have been exposed to CIRD and may come down with symptoms within a few days to more than a week after the dog is in its new home. Adult dogs from shelters may also have been exposed. At this time there is no test to detect exposure prior to symptoms.

The canine distemper vaccine, a core vaccine for all dogs, protects against parainfluenza and adenovirus two causes of CIRD. Canine bordetella vaccine, commonly known as the kennel cough vaccine, protects against the bacterial form of CIRD, and is required by most kennels and doggie daycare facilities. The canine flu vaccine protects against the H3N8 virus. This vaccine as well as the others may not prevent CIRD, but will greatly reduce the clinical signs.

The following general recommendations have been made for vaccination against CIRD:
  • Boarding in kennels- bordetella vaccine required/ flu vaccine optional
  • Doggie day care- bordetella vaccine required/ flu vaccine optional
  • Frequent visits to groomers- bordetella and flu vaccine optional
  • Frequent visits to dog parks- bordetella and flu vaccine optional
  • Out of state travelers- bordetella and flu vaccine optional

Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Influenza Virus or CIV is highly contagious infectious disease among dogs. Canine Influenza Virus or “dog flu” is it is caused by a strain of influenza virus A, such as equine influenza virus H3N8. It is fairly new disease, first discovered in 2004 in a group of Greyhound racing dogs.

Canine Influenza can pass from dog to dog through coughing or sneezing, coming into physical contact with other dogs or coming in contact with items touched by an infected dog . This type of influenza is not contagious to humans although humans may act as a carrier for the virus.

Symptoms of CIV are: Mild, low-grade fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing and a runny nose with clear to thick and yellow or pink-tinged secretions. All dogs exposed to this disease will become infected. The reason for this is that it is a new disease and there has not yet been a chance for dogs to build up a natural immunity.  Severity of the symptoms may range from mild to severe. However, if any symptoms occur you should call your veterinarian right away.

Although there is no specific cure for CIV, infected dogs should receive supportive care while the virus runs its course. Some common treatments include intravenous fluids and supplemental feeding and if respiratory infection occurs, antibiotics.

There is a vaccine available for this virus. Thankfully this virus is not too common. However, if your dog frequents a boarding facility, daycare center or dog park you may want to consider vaccinating your dog against Canine Influenza Virus.

There are some boarding facilities and dog daycare facilities that are now requiring flu vaccine and bordetella vaccine. The above recommendations may change over time.