Our Services - Dog Vaccinations

The annual vaccinations given at Orchard Vets include the following diseases:

Distemper

One of the classic dog diseases and around for many centuries, distemper is a virus that first attacks membranes lining the respiratory and digestive systems. Initial signs include coughing, discharges from the eyes and nose, high temperature, hard pads and sometimes diarrhoea and vomiting.

This part of the illness usually clears over a period of two to four weeks but then the virus attacks the nervous system, resulting in body twitches, fits, paralysis and death. Some dogs can recover with intensive treatment but may be left with permanent nerve damage.

Senior vet at Orchard Vets, John Dudley, carried out a study in the 1970s to show the value of vaccinating stray dogs against distemper. The study was published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice and was instrumental in persuading, first the RSPCA and later most other stray kennels in UK, to vaccinate every stray dog entering kennels.

As stray dogs are the main reservoir of distemper the result was a dramatic reduction in the incidence of this disease. Continued vaccination of as many dogs as possible is, however, necessary if distemper is to remain under control.

Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus emerged suddenly in the 1980s as a new disease, probably from another similar virus affecting a different species. The drug companies were able to produce new vaccines very rapidly so we can now give good protection for most dogs.

Parvo is highly contagious and resistant to cleaners and disinfectants so it spreads rapidly in the environment and can remain on the ground for many months.

Affected dogs suffer acute vomiting and profuse bloody diarrhoea. Death follows but many can be saved with intensive hospital treatment. Fortunately parvo vaccines give very strong protection to most dogs.

Virus Hepatitis

This virus causes vomiting, damage to the liver and sometimes the lungs. It can also cause blindness. Many die but some recover after a milder form; these remain as carriers to infect other dogs.

Leptospirosis

There are two separate forms of Leptospirosis in dogs. Hepatic leptospirosis causes serious damage to the liver with vomiting and jaundice. It can be passed on by contact with the urine of rats or other dogs. Renal leptospirosis is a bacterial kidney disease which can cause acute fatal kidney failure or permanent kidney damage. It is thought that leptospirosis can also pass to people.

Parainfluenza

This mild infection is one of the kennel cough group of diseases. It is easy to include in the multi-component annual vaccines, unlike the other kennel cough infection, bordetella, which must be given separately.

Canine coronavirus

Coronavirus in dogs causes a disease very similar to that of parvovirus. It is an important cause of gastroenteritis leading to death in young dogs.

Other vaccines available for dogs:

Bordetella

The commonest of the kennel cough diseases, bordetella rarely causes serious or life-threatening illness but is very unpleasant for the victim. It spreads rapidly wherever there are groups of dogs, such as kennels, training classes or show rings. It is easy to pass on via casual street contact between dogs too.

Bordetella vaccine is not an injection but is administered by instilling drops into the nose. It should be given at least one week before entering kennels.

Rabies

Rabies is one of the most important diseases in the world. Most species, including man, can be infected and almost every affected individual will die a very unpleasant death. The UK quarantine laws have successfully excluded the disease for over a century but now, with advent of pet travel, animals must be vaccinated before going abroad. For more information see PETS Travel Scheme.

Herpes

The newest of the dog vaccines, canine herpes has very little known effect on healthy adult dogs. However it is an important cause of infertility in bitches and poor growth and death in newborn puppies. Given during pregnancy herpes vaccine can significantly improve fertility rates and reduce early puppy death.