Canine Distemper Virus: This is a potentially fatal disease of dogs, wild cats, ferrets and a variety of other wild animals. Unfortunately, it is relatively common in unvaccinated dogs around Saskatchewan. Affected dogs will typically develop runny eyes, nose, a cough which often progresses into pneumonia and vomiting & diarrhea. If a dog survives the initial bout of Distemper it may develop fatal seizures three to six weeks after the initial infection. In adult dogs Distemper is fatal in about 50% of the cases; in young puppies the fatality rate is about 80%. There is no cure for Distemper; animals that are affected can only be offered supportive care. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with an affected animal, airborne transmission through coughing, and transmission on hands and clothes when people touch an infected animal and then go and touch a healthy one. Fortunately the vaccine is very effective at preventing Distemper.
Canine Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo): This is a very common viral disease of dogs. We see several cases every month which is very unfortunate because this disease is easily prevented by vaccination. Parvo causes severe vomiting and diarrhea in affected individuals. If left untreated 80% of all cases will die. If treated with supportive care in the hospital about 80% will survive. Treatment is costly as the pup may need to spend a week or more in the hospital. Parvo is transmitted by contact with an infected dog?s feces or vomit. The virus is very hardy and can survive up to two years or more in the environment. It may also be passed on peoples? hands, clothes and shoes to other dogs, so even dogs that never leave your home can become infected. The vaccine is very effective at preventing this disease. However, as a puppy?s immunity to this virus is not complete until the final vaccination, we recommend keeping your pup out of high traffic dog areas (the park, pet stores etc) until the vaccine series is complete.
Adenovirus/Parainfluenza: Fortunately these viruses are less common but both have been reported in the Regina area. They cause viral bronchitis and possibly hepatitis in older dogs. In puppies they can cause a fatal pneumonia. This vaccine is also very effective against these diseases.
Bordetella: This is a bacteria that is responsible for most cases of Kennel Cough or infectious bronchitis in dogs. This is a very common disease. In most cases Kennel Cough infection will result in runny eyes, nose and a persistent cough that may last a few weeks and occasionally runny eyes & nose. The disease is rarely severe but may occasionally progress into pneumonia. Kennel Cough is treatable with antibiotics in severe cases (none are needed in mild cases), however we recommend trying to prevent it altogether! We recommend vaccination of any puppy that will be going to obedience classes, the groomer, the dog park or the boarding kennel. The vaccine works well in most cases to prevent the disease. Occasionally vaccinated dogs will develop Kennel Cough but it is much less severe than animals that have not been vaccinated.
Rabies: This virus causes a fatal encephalitis (brain swelling) in all mammals, including humans. Rabies is spread through contact with infected saliva, usually through bite wounds. There is some evidence that airborne transmission from bat feces may be possible. The most common wild carriers of Rabies in Saskatchewan are bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes. The vaccination is very effective and will protect not only your pet but also prevent your pet from spreading the disease to your family if s/he is bitten by an infected animal. Animals not vaccinated for rabies can be ordered into quarantine - to watch for symptoms or euthanized because testing for rabies can only be performed on the brain after death.
VACCINATION SCHEDULE FOR PUPPIES
Distemper + Adenovirus 2 + Parainfluenza + Parvovirus (combination vaccine)
Distemper + Adenovirus 2 + Parainfluenza + Parvovirus (combination vaccine) + Bordetella (optional, separate vaccine)
Distemper + Adenovirus 2 + Parainfluenza + Parvovirus (combination) + 1 year Rabies (separate)
Distemper + Adenovirus 2 + Parainfluenza + Parvovirus (combination) + Bordetella (optional, separate) + 3 year Rabies (separate)
At every vaccine appointment the veterinarian will do a complete physical examination on your puppy. The doctor will check his/her teeth, ears, eyes and listen to his/her heart and lungs. This is important to identify any health concerns that may appear as he/she grows and to ensure that your puppy is healthy enough to receive its vaccinations. At this time we will also be happy to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your puppy's health or development. Above is an example of a typical vaccine series schedule. In some cases this may need to be altered depending on the health and age of your puppy or if your puppy is of a breed where we may need to separate out vaccinations further. Once your puppy has had its series of puppy vaccinations, the veterinarian will discuss the need for booster vaccinations in the upcoming years. A preventative health program will be tailored to your puppy's needs.