Vaccines provide your dog with protection against many serious diseases; some that can be fatal and some that can be transmitted to humans. Vaccinations are an important part of any preventive health care plan and they are generally safe, with very few risks to your pet.
We base our vaccination protocols on recommendations from American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The AAHA has a group of highly respected specialists in veterinary immunology and internal medicine who have agreed on a basic protocol that provides excellent protection, while minimizing exposure to vaccines.
We recommend a vaccination schedule based on your dog’s lifestyle. We will discuss and consider the administration of the following: Canine Cough Vaccine, Lyme Disease, Rabies. There are other vaccinations available for dogs beyond those discussed above and we are happy to discuss all of the options with you and help determine if they would be helpful for your pet.
Canine Cough Vaccine
Leptospirosis Vaccine, Rabies Vaccine, DAP or DAPP Vaccine
Lyme (BORDETELLA BACTERIA AND PARAINFLUENZA VIRUS).
Any dog that goes to dog parks, kennels, daycares, groomers or interacts with other dogs should be vaccinated annually. We see many dozens of cases of Canine Cough in our own practice each year. The vast majority are unvaccinated dogs. Canine cough is characterized by a harsh, hacking cough which most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in my dog’s throat.” It is an airborne, highly contagious disease. Some dogs get better without treatment, but some dogs may develop pneumonia without antibiotics.
Leptospirosis – This vaccine is given annually only to dogs deemed “at risk.” Any dog that has access to stagnant water (puddles, even in the back yard/slow moving water/ditches) should be vaccinated against this serious disease that may be transmitted to humans. There are generally a few dozen cases a year in the region. The signs of the disease can vary, but usually include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, dehydration, lethargy and fever. The Leptospirosis bacteria cause liver and kidney failure and those affected often die without treatment. As stated above, humans can get this disease as well.
Lyme Disease Vaccine
This is serious disease spread by ticks. We are fortunate we don’t see as much of this as other parts of the continent but it does still exist here and we certainly have large numbers of ticks in the Sea to Sky corridor. The symptoms of Lyme disease can vary but can include: fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness/limping, generalized stiffness or discomfort and swelling of joints. Severe cases can progress to kidney failure which can be fatal. If you have concerns about this or are travelling to areas known to have a high prevalence of Lyme disease with your pet then please discuss with us so we can make sure your pet is protected.
ADULT DOGS EVERY 3 YEARS
We will always recommend the rabies vaccine. Rabies is a highly fatal virus that causes neurological disease in affected animals. Dogs, cats, bats, skunks, raccoons and many other animals can get this disease. Humans can become infected and die from rabies as well. Once a person/animal shows signs of rabies, it is fatal and there is no treatment. In British Columbia, the primary source of rabies is bats.
ADULT DOGS USUALLY EVERY 3 YEARS
D = Canine Distemper – The symptoms begin with gooey eye and nose discharge, fever, poor appetite, coughing and the development of pneumonia. Then the virus causes vomiting and diarrhea, callusing of the nose and foot pads. The virus finally proceeds to the central nervous system leading to seizures, tremors, imbalance and limb weakness. Signs may progress to death or may become non-progressive and permanent. Recovery is also possible. While we don’t see a lot of this disease in BC, it still important to protect dogs against this highly contagious, highly fatal disease.
A = Canine Adenovirus – Canine Adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. The virus invades the dog’s liver, causing damage, sometimes uncontrolled bleeding in the liver and often acute death due to shock. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, tonsillitis, abdominal swelling and pain and loss of appetite. Often, there is vomiting. In severe acute cases, especially in puppies, death can occur in 1 to 2 days. If dogs can survive the initial few days, they should recover and have lifelong immunity. Vaccination is highly effective against this serious disease.
P = is for Canine Parvovirus – This disease is highly contagious and generally presents with severe vomiting and diarrhea, severe dehydration, loss of appetite and weakness. The diarrhea is frequent, uncontrolled, very liquid and often laced with blood. These are very sick dogs. Death occurs in 60% or more of affected individuals. There are many cases of Parvovirus seen every year in our region.
P = Canine Parainfluenza – This is another highly contagious disease that is part of the Canine Cough complex. If you read the information on Canine Cough, you’ll get a great idea of what problems this virus causes.