When you first welcome a puppy (or a dog) into your life, it’s important you take them to the vet to make sure their vaccinations are up to date. Most vets will aim to have your puppy fully vaccinated between 12 and 16 weeks, so you can socialise them early on. As recommended by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and their vaccination guidelines, the below diseases are what your dog should be vaccinated against. Remember – if you’re concerned that your dog is showing symptoms of these illnesses, call a vet for guidance ASAP!
1. Parvovirus: Parvovirus is one of the most common diseases that can affect dogs from a young age. This is a virus that affects the intestinal tract and is extremely contagious, which is why you should never take your dog out to public areas if it isn’t vaccinated. The symptoms start off as lethargy, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, and can be fatal if not treated.
2. Distemper: This is another viral infection that is highly contagious, affecting the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, especially among puppies. Some symptoms can include a fever, coughing and sneezing (with nasal discharge), as well as vomiting and loss of appetite.
3. Kennel Cough: As the name suggests, kennel cough is an illness that is similar to the flu. You’ll notice that they may start to cough severely and the conditions can last for several weeks. If not treated, this can worsen and turn into pneumonia. There are two strands of kennel cough that dogs need to be vaccinated against.
4. Hepatitis: Similar to humans, hepatitis in dogs is a viral infection that affects the liver. Some of the first symptoms include depression, fever, loss of appetite and a sore abdomen. If you notice your dog isn’t playful or suddenly doesn’t like to have their belly rubbed, call your vet.
Generally puppies are given a C5 vaccination; this helps to protect them against the above diseases, and tends to be standard across Queensland. However, if you live in regional areas, you may need to consider also vaccinating your dog against coronavirus and leptospirosis; because of the higher number of working dogs, as well as rats and other wild animals that can be found in regional areas, these vaccinations are generally recommended for dogs outside of the city centre.