Important Vaccinations for Dogs

Puppies receive some natural protection from there mother. As this declines, the puppy becomes more susceptible and so it is important to see your vet when the puppy is just a few weeks old. It should also be noted that mothers will only pass on this protection if they themselves have been properly vaccinated. Precautions such as not allowing your puppy to walk in public parks should be taken.

Your puppy will probably be vaccinated after 8 weeks and then again 10 or 12 weeks after birth depending on the vaccinations used. Since proper protection may take about 2 weeks to come into force, it is wise to continue to keep the puppy away from other dogs.

While these vaccinations offer good protection, it is important that your dog receives regular booster injections on a yearly basis. You will be given a certificate of vaccination which you will be asked to show when putting your dog in boarding kennels, shows or training classes.

Canine Distemper

This is transmitted by droplets of water which may be picked up where a dog goes sniffing where another dog has been. The incubation is longer than other viruses (around 3 weeks) so vaccination after an outbreak amongst a group of dogs is usually too late – since they would all probably have contracted the disease.
Symptoms: coughing, diarrhea, high temperature, vomiting, sore eyes and streaming nose.

Canine Parvovirus

Regular outbreaks of this disease are common amongst dogs which have not been vaccinated. Parvovirus is transmitted by contact with infected faeces and is most commonly seen in dogs under one year of age. Because of the nature of this disease, dehydration can take effect within 24 hours after the symptoms become obvious and can threaten the life of the dog.
Symptoms: depression, vomiting, high temperature, abdominal pain, diarrhea and possible refusal of food and water.

Canine Hepatitis

This disease attacks the liver, kidneys, eyes and lungs. It is transmitted by direct contact with urine, saliva and faeces. Dogs who have had this disease can remain infectious for up to 5 months after recovery. Although all ages of dogs can have this disease it is most commonly found in dogs under one year of age. The disease develops rapidly from the first symptoms through jaundice and possible respiratory failure after between 24 and 36 hours.
Symptoms: vomiting, high temperature, abdominal pain, diarrhea, possible refusal of food and water, conjunctiva, pale gums. As a result of these, the dog can develop jaundice.


Sometimes called ‘Weil’s Disease’. Leptospirosis is transmitted by two means: (1) Direct contact with infected rat urine. The disease can be transmitted by rats – so dogs who drink from or swim in canals and other places where rats may live are at risk. In the worst cases, the animal can die, and this type can possibly be transmitted to humans. (2) Direct contact with infected dog urine. Mainly the kidneys are affected, and symptoms may become more pronounced as the dog gets older. Infected animals can still be infectious for up to one year after recovery.
Symptoms: depression, vomiting, severe thirst, high temperature, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and jaundice.

Canine Parainfluenza Virus

This is the infectious agent which causes kennel Cough, and is highly transmissible anywhere where dogs meet. Symptoms give the impression that the dog may have something stuck in its throat. If there is no early treatment, pneumonia can develop. The vaccination for this is often a nasal spray which will probably be very uncomfortable for your dog. However, it is very important that you are not tempted to disregard this vaccination just because you are not planning on putting your dog into boarding kennels or training classes, The disease is far worse than the vaccine and all but unscrupulous kennel owners will demand that your dog has had a continuous record of vaccination, so don’t be tempted to wait until you are going on holiday.
Symptoms: dry, hacking cough, sometimes causing wretching.