I am often asked why we vaccinate our dogs every year and what diseases we are protecting them against. Vaccination is an essential part of the creation of ‘herd immunity’ whereby the larger animal population is protected because the prevalence of many life-threatening, contagious diseases is substantially reduced due to greater immunity in the population of pets as a whole. Every vaccinated animal contributes to the maintenance of herd immunity, similar to the way individual links in a chain contribute to its overall strength. Annual vaccination also allows a complete physical examination to be conducted each year which can help identify health problems much earlier, allowing more rapid resolution. This is particularly important because our pets can’t tell us they feel unwell, and signs of disease (especially in the early stages) can be very subtle.
We recommend an annual check-up and vaccination for all pets, however with advances in vaccine technology we no longer need to vaccinate dogs against the same diseases every year. This avoids unnecessary overstimulation of the immune system. At Sydney Animal Hospitals our core vaccination against Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis in dogs is extremely safe and now lasts for 3 years. For unvaccinated dogs Parvovirus is still very common, especially in younger dogs, and can cause life-threatening viral gastroenteritis and bone marrow suppression. Distemper causes viral meningitis and is rapidly fatal in the majority of dogs it infects. Thankfully, due to vaccination and herd immunity, this disease is rare in Australia, but is very common overseas. Infectious Canine Hepatitis is a worldwide, contagious disease of dogs. Signs vary from a slight fever to severe depression, marked bone marrow suppression, liver disease and blood clotting disorders. It is also seen in foxes and other wild carnivores, which may become infected without developing clinical illness, meaning periodic outbreaks can still occur, reinforcing the need for continued vaccination.
In addition to our core 3 yearly vaccination protocol we also recommend vaccination against canine cough every year. Canine cough is caused by parainfluenza virus and/or a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. The vaccination against canine cough is an oral vaccine plus an injection, which safely provide high levels of immunity where it is needed – in the respiratory tract (i.e. nose, mouth and throat). Canine cough is common, especially where dogs congregate e.g. dog parks, and via public water bowls. It causes a dry, hacking cough that can progress to pneumonia in severely affected, unvaccinated dogs.
To book an appointment online for your pet or call your local Sydney Animal Hospital;
Newtown (02) 9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville
Inner West (02) 9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore
Norwest (02) 8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista
Kellyville (02) 8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville
Newport (02) 9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport
Avalon (02) 9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach