Vaccination is important to protect your dogs from the following diseases:
- Parvovirus –This most commonly causes bloody diarrhoea and severe vomiting, usually (but not always) affecting puppies less than six months of age. Some dogs may show extreme lethargy and depression, without the vomiting and diarrhoea. Parvovirus is often fatal and can be found throughout the UK. Parvovirus is easily prevented through vaccination, but sadly it is still very common. Unvaccinated dogs can catch parvovirus from contact with faeces from infected dogs. An infected dog may be shedding virus before it actually shows signs of being unwell, so parvovirus can easily be picked up while walking your dog in public places. Parvovirus can survive in the environment for several months and is resistant to many disinfectants, meaning that local outbreaks can last for many months. Puppies can be vaccinated against parvovirus as early as six weeks.
- Distemper –This causes a range of symptoms in dogs, most seriously seizures and death. It can be caught if your dog is exposed to infected faeces and urine or spread through respiratory secretions, such as sneezes. Thanks to vaccination, distemper is now rare in the UK, but it can still sometimes be seen in areas where large numbers of dogs are unvaccinated.
- Infectious Hepatitis - This causes damage to the liver with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, bleeding and usually death. Your dog can catch hepatitis from the environment, contaminated with infected urine and faeces. The virus can survive in the environment for 6-9 months. It is currently quite rare in the UK but can cause severe disease.
- Parainfluenza Virus - This virus is one of multiple causes of upper respiratory disease in dogs. Parainfluenza is included in your dog’s routine vaccination injections, but an additional Kennel Cough vaccination is recommended to protect against other causes of infectious respiratory disease.
- Leptospirosis –This causes damage to multiple organs and symptoms can be variable, from sudden death to liver failure or eye problems. Leptospirosis can be caught through contact with infected urine or water contaminated with rat urine. Stagnant water poses the highest risk to your dog. Exposure to this disease is common and it can be fatal for dogs. It is also zoonotic meaning it can be passed to humans!
We also offer vaccines for:
Puppies can be vaccinated as young as six weeks of age, with a second injection from ten weeks of age. At Folly Gardens Veterinary Clinic we recommend that puppies have their first vaccination at 8 weeks old, with a second/third vaccination 2-4 weeks later.
- Puppies can go out for walks one week after their second injection.
- Adult dogs require a booster vaccination every year.
We also strongly recommend vaccinating against kennel cough
Kennel cough is a highly infectious upper airway infection. It can be picked up from any infected dog that you meet in the street, in the park or even through your garden fence. It causes a distinct dry cough and can take weeks to resolve. Some infected dogs may develop fever, lethargy, and secondary infections. Severe cases can progress to lower respiratory disease like pneumonia. Even after coughing stops your animal can spread the infection for up to 3 months!
As with human cold and flu, kennel cough is very contagious. Your dog can catch Kennel Cough from infected dogs in the park, on the beach, at the groomers or training classes, in kennels… anywhere there are dogs!
Dogs can be vaccinated against kennel cough. Although the vaccine does not provide complete protection, it will greatly reduce the chance of your dog catching kennel cough and can reduce the severity of symptoms if they do.
The vaccination is given as a small squirt up the nose and lasts for twelve months.
Dogs going into kennels or to training classes are usually required to have the Kennel Cough Vaccination before they can attend.
Did you know you can restart your dog’s vaccinations? If you suspect you have missed your dog’s annual booster vaccination or think your dog is unvaccinated, contact the surgery for advice on restarting vaccinations!
Dog Vaccinations FAQs
Do dogs need to be vaccinated?
Vaccinations are essential for providing your dog with adequate protection from life-threatening and debilitating diseases. There is the option of Titre testing, which involves blood samples to determine your dog's immunity. Unfortunately, this is not always 100% reliable, it is costly to perform and leptospirosis would still need to be vaccinated against. This is why we would recommend core vaccinations on the whole.
Is it OK to not vaccinate my dog?
As veterinary professionals, we would always recommend vaccinations; the risk is not worth taking when it comes to the harmful diseases.
What vaccines do dogs legally need?
It is not a legal requirement to have a dog vaccinated, but it is highly advisable. Some kennels, dog trainers and day-care require vaccinations for all dogs to use their services. Insurance can also be invalidated if dogs are not vaccinated.
At what age do you stop vaccinating your dog?
Dogs require annual booster vaccines throughout their lives; this is to ensure maximum protection against life-threatening diseases. We base our choice of vaccines on the lifestyle of the dog rather than age.
Can I vaccinate my dog myself?
Under UK law, only veterinary surgeons can prescribe medications; vaccinations fall into this category. Your vet is required to health assess a pet before prescribing and administering the vaccine. Like many drugs, vaccines can have mild side effects, which is why a health check prior is essential to ensure your pet will be fit and well after the vaccine is administered. Veterinary professionals are trained at administering these vaccines; this wouldn't be advised for a member of the public to administer themselves.
Also, the vaccination bottles, needles and syringes require correct disposal. Some diseases such as diabetes require owners to inject their animal at home, but correct monitoring, training and equipment is essential.
If your dog is anxious or nervous, you can speak to the team at any time and we can make a plan to reduce as much stress as we can. For example, after a discussion between the owner and the team, some of our nervous dogs have a minimal health check and the vaccine may still be administered. This is carried out when an owner or we feel a health examination will be too stressful.
When should my dog get vaccinated?
Annual boosters usually cover leptospirosis and kennel cough (can be given every six months). However, distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis are usually needed every three years. Therefore, a dog would need a vaccine every year to have maximum protection against diseases.