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Vaccinations

There are now various options for vaccinating your pet. There are several vaccinations, vaccine combinations and choices for a young animal vaccination schedule.

Questions you should ask before you vaccinate your pet

  • Will your pet live in a house or unit?
  • How frequent is your pet outside your house or in the immediate environment - parks, walking etc?
  • Will you take your pet out of its immediate suburb or interstate? If so what areas?
  • Will your pet board in kennels or catteries?
  • Is your pet healthy?
  • Where did your kitten or puppy come from?
  • Was there any pre-existing problem - sneezing, running nose, etc?
  • Do you have pet insurance?
  • What vaccinations have your kitten or puppy already had? (check your certificate)

Some canine diseases are very serious and can be fatal even with treatment. Your dog can be protected from most diseases by a simple vaccination program.

As dogs and their owners are very mobile it is likely that your pet will come into contact with infections present in:

  • unvaccinated puppies and dogs, or
  • the environment.

When should I vaccinate?

At six to eight weeks of age puppies should receive their first vaccination. This needs to be followed up with another vaccination after 12 weeks. You can then take your puppy out into public areas. Please refer to the vaccination guideline detailed below.

Vaccination schedule for puppies
Age Vaccinate against
8-12 weeks Canine Parvovirus
Canine Hepatitis
Canine Distemper
Canine Cough (Kennel Cough)
12-14 weeks Canine Parvovirus
Canine Hepatitis
Canine Distemper
Canine Cough (Kennel Cough)
Leptospirosis
16-18 weeks Canine Parvovirus
Canine Hepatitis
Canine Distemper
Canine Cough (Kennel Cough)
Leptospirosis

Vaccination boosters are required every 12 months to ensure ongoing and strong immunity.

What do I need to vaccinate against?

Parvovirus

A highly contagious viral gastroenteritis, it is a severe and debilitating disease found in dogs of all ages. Young puppies are most susceptible to infection and the development of severe disease. Dogs and puppies can die within days of contracting the disease. Canine parvovirus signs of infection include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea (usually containing blood)
  • severe abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • depression

Canine parvovirus can remain in the environment for over 12 months.

Distemper

A highly contagious, deadly, viral disease affecting dogs of all ages. This virus attacks the nervous system. Canine Distemper signs of infection include:

  • fever
  • conjunctivitis
  • nasal discharge
  • respiratory problems
  • loss of appetite
  • skin reactions
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle spasms
  • convulsive seizures
  • spinal cord damage

Treatment is often ineffective and dogs that do recover from this disease may have thickened foot pads, damaged teeth, permanent brain damage and progressive paralysis.

Hepatitis

A highly infectious disease which causes liver damage in dogs and death in puppies. The virus is passed by contact with infected dogs and through contact with the urine of infected dogs. It can continue to infect dogs for months after apparent recovery from the disease. This virus can also cause long term kidney and liver problems in older dogs.

Puppies are most at risk and signs of infection include:

  • fever
  • ocular lesions
  • respiratory signs
  • jaundice
  • depression
  • lack of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain (due to liver enlargement)

Canine Cough (Kennel Cough)

Canine Cough is a complex disease caused by bacteria and a variety of viruses. Effected dogs will have a hacking cough persisting for weeks. It is not usually fatal but it causes significent distress to the dog and owner. Some signs of the infection include:

  • lack of appetite
  • depression
  • lethargy

Kennel cough can be treated with antibiotics, nursing and rest. It is best to try to prevent the disease in the first instance. In puppies and old dogs the disease can be devastating.

Leptospirosis

Canine Leptospirosis is a disease commonly associated with dogs that come into contact with rats and native rodents. It is particularly common in areas around rubbish tips and areas of annual crop harvests.