The only way to protect your pet from devastating disease is to have him vaccinated. Think of it as safe, cheap insurance. Our pets today are offered protection against diseases which for centuries were deadly killers. Thanks to the ongoing research at veterinary colleges and pharmaceutical laboratories, vaccines have been developed to provide almost complete protection against viral and bacteria diseases.
These vaccines are administered by your veterinarian as a series of injections beginning at about six weeks of age.
To ensure the best results, your pet should be healthy, free of parasites and on a well balanced diet. A good diet is essential so that your puppy can produce the antibodies necessary to fight disease. A nursing puppy may receive some protective antibodies from the mother's milk, but this soon wanes and leaves the puppy susceptible at a very young age.
The mother's first milk (colostrum) contains antibodies which the young puppy absorbs into its bloodstream. This is called passive immunity. The antibodies from the mother can interfere with the effects from vaccination and in some cases can remain in the young pup for as long as 18 weeks. It is because of this that a veterinarian's expertise is required.
Most vaccines require boosters and it is vital that you adhere to the schedule set up by your veterinarian. If your pup does not receive the boosters, the effect of the vaccine wears off and leaves you pup susceptible to disease. Obtaining the valuable protection offered by boosters is a safe and cheap investment compared to losing you pup to distemper or rabies.
Distemper is caused by a virus which attacks every tissue in the body, this virus can be carried by raccoons, foxes, wolves, mink and dogs.
Symptoms: Runny eyes, nose and diarrhea, usuaLLy with a high fever; can look like a severe human cold. Some dogs develop nervous symptoms very early in the course of the disease. Death is very common. Some animals will recover, but will be disabled due to nervous disorders or musele wastage. With treatment, your dog has a chance of recover, but the nervous damage cannot be reversed.
Hepatitis is caused by a virus and spread by contact with an infected animal or its excrement.
Symptoms: Attacks the liver and produces a high fever and Loss of appetite. Animals can appear jaundiced (yellow). It is very serious in young dogs. Older dogs may recover and be afflicted with chronic liver disease for the rest of their lives.
Leptospirosis is caused by an organism called a spirochete. There are two varieties of it and it is contagious to humans. The disease is transmitted in the urine of infected dogs and can also be carried by rats.
Symptoms: Attacks the liver and kidney and was a deadly killer, prior to the vaccine being developed. AnimaLs can appear jaundiced.
This virus was first identified in the early 1980's and was found in every area of the world.
Symptoms: Attacks the intestinal tract causing vomiting and diarrhea. Severe bleeding and collapse are common. Sudden death is also very common. Also affects the heart, particularly in a puppy. Prompt intensive care is essential but even so, death is common.
This virus has recently been isolated as a cause of viral diarrhea in dogs.
Symptoms: Similar to parvo, but not nearly as severe in the adult dog.
Kennel Cough Complex
KenneL cough is caused by any one of a multitude of organisms - hence the term "complex". It spread rapidly from dog-to-dog in kennel situations.
Symptoms: Severe, harsh, dry, non-productive cough. Usually not a life threatening condition, but it can be debilitating to the dog, leaving the affected dog susceptible to other more serious problems.
Rabies is caused by a virus and is contagious to all warm-blooded animals including humans. It is invariably fatal once the symptoms have occurred. The greatest incidence is in foxes, skunks and raccoons.
Symptoms: Attacks the nervous tissue and drives the animal "mad". The animal may behave overly friendly or excessively violent. Jaw muscles may be paralysed and the animal may foam at the mouth. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal.
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